Twisted Sister @ Starland Ballroom

Twisted SisterSAYREVILLE, NJ—The holidays are often an extremely stressful time of year, twisting and distorting everything out of proportion, from bank accounts to digestive tracts and the list goes on, ad nauseum.

However, Twisted Sister provided a much needed antidote for those holiday blues and blahs. After 30 years of trials, tribulations and transformation, Twisted Sister’s Twisted Christmas was a reassuring, awe inspiring display of the vibrant dynamic and hilarious sense of humor that earned them legendary status among the heaviest of metal bands in music history.

The frontman for one of the opening bands Baptized By Fire, Jesse Snider (who is Dee Snider’s son), introduced his father by saying that he is “the greatest frontman alive.” Of course, one could easily attribute his opinion to familial bias, but after witnessing Dee Snider perform with a vim, vigor and dauntless exuberance that few possess, it is easy to agree with Jesse. Yep, his dad is absolutely the premiere frontman and precursor of so many others who obviously have been influenced by his every nuance, facial expression and gesture, i.e., there were a few confusing moments when Dee Snider actually morphed into Marilyn Manson (or is it the other way around?).

A rare and brilliant artist with a seemingly endless supply of energy and a personality big enough to embrace any audience, a charismatic dynamo, filled with sincerity, heart and soul, Snider relates to his fans on an almost personal level. Fully aware of who he is and the role he plays, Snider has an overwhelming enthusiasm capable of lifting anyone from the depths of their lethargy and holiday doldrums, and that’s exactly what he did. With the stage decorated to rival the most elaborate suburban lawn or department store window, Dee and the boys rocked everyone into a shamelessly raucous holiday spirit by singing traditional Christmas songs such as “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” with a real lyrical twist, which required a little more oral skill than giving a peck on the cheek, even the Grinch would’ve laughed. They intermixed their unique renditions throughout the set, including a sing-a-long version of “The Twelve Days Of Christmas” (“Four quarts of Jack, three studded belts, two pairs of spandex pants and a tattoo of Ozzy”), and a note for note musical parody of “O Come All Ye Faithful” set to the melody of their trademark anthem “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”

Snider’s genius and wit was the perfect remedy for the madness and aggravation one begins to feel from hearing those hokey holiday hits far too many times. However, despite all of the fun and frivolity there was also a touching moment, when a teary eyed Snider reminded everyone about the true meaning of Christmas, to be grateful for all that we have and are privileged to enjoy, primarily our greatest gift—freedom—and to never take those who risk their lives defending it for granted.

This was their second to last show date, during the course of a short 20 engagement tour that, sadly, would mark the final appearance of a “Twisted Christmas” and perhaps one of the greatest metal bands ever. Twisted Sister officially ended their long career together. Founder Jay Jay French, Eddie Ojeda, Mark Mendoza, A.J. Pero and of course Dee Snider said their collective farewells to rock and roll with a rowdy “Ho, Ho, Ho!”

As a special effects snowstorm began to fall, transforming it into a scene reminiscent of the Christmas movie classic It’s A Wonderful Life, it started to look a lot like Christmas.