A Twisted X-Mas: Live In Las Vegas

Twisted Sister

Eagle Rock Entertainment, 2012

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/20/2012

My daughter is a sophomore in high school. Her high school marching band played a medley of songs from the movie “Rock Of Ages” at halftime of the football games during the football season that ended in early November. Each week, I suffered through the announcer stating that Twisted Sister was a ‘one-hit wonder’ immediately preceding the marching band playing “We’re Not Going To Take It.” Each week, I would say aloud to anyone that was listening with a sigh, “They’re not a one-hit wonder.” It became a joke as we sat with the same group of people each week.

 

I tell that story so that you understand Twisted Sister has always been dismissed as a one-hit wonder. That’s an injustice in our world. People that say that have been swept up into the mainstream media and VH1 Classic shows that only talk about their infamous battle with the PMRC about their songs “Under The Blade” and why their fans were called “SMFs.” I will concede that “We’re Not Going to Take It” is what made them famous on MTV, but to dismiss the band as a one-hit wonder? How insulting. “I Wanna Rock” was at least a tandem single that gets played around here at least as often as “We’re Not Going to Take It.” Also, the video for that song had heavy MTV rotation. It’s also criminal to omit that they covered “Leader Of The Pack” on their Come Out And Play release, which also got a lot of video airplay. So, if I’m being waterboarded, I still say they are not a one-hit wonder. You have my permission to correct anyone that says they are just another bland ’80s hair band.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

 

With that off my chest, this is a live version of the band’s Christmas song album that released a while back. Being a live album, I think you get a better sense of what Twisted Sister has always been about – their fans. I have spent time with live bootlegs, and from those recordings and this one, I am convinced that Dee Snider is a straight-up guy. I’ve never met him, but the way he portrays himself in the media, in interviews, on MTV Cribs, and on his reality TV show appeals to me. Even his testimony during the PMRC hearings got my attention. I think he’d be a fun guy to hang around and spend a day with. From the stage, Snider comments about how a guy looks too serious. “Dude, lighten up,” he tells the guy.

Beyond Snider, the entire band sounds like they’ve been playing together for umpteen years. Each time I see Rush in concert, I marvel at how Lee, Peart, and Lifeson don’t even look at each other when they play complicated syncopated musical bursts – they have that level of comfort that requires no hairy eyeball to cue the next change. I imagine guitarists Jay Jay French and Eddie Ojeda, bassist Mark Mendoza, and drummer A.J. Pero are exactly like that. They demonstrate this when they intersperse non-Christmas songs like “Burn In Hell” (which also allows A.J. Pero to play a vicious drum solo), “You Can’t Stop Rock And Roll,” and “The Price” into the mix. Their version of “12 Days Of Christmas” is totally metal, replacing pipers piping and drummers drumming with spandex and an Ozzy statue. Snider makes me smile when he sings that song.

 

How do they do with the traditional songs? Well, they’re all played at a more abrupt tempo, but the basic structure remains true to the popular versions you’ve all heard. If that sounds dismissive, it’s not meant to be. There aren’t a lot of twists and turns to change the structure of the songs. “Deck The Halls” is not played super slow and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” has the same notes, but it sounds like Twisted Sister.

 

Bottom line, though, is that Twisted Sister simply is not for everyone. My 75-year-old mother-in-law was not impressed with the few seconds of a couple of tracks I played for her. She wrinkled her nose and shook her head and said a few choice words when I started their version of “White Christmas.” Twisted Sister playing versions of Christmas tunes didn’t float her boat. If you do not like Twisted Sister, I’m not really sure you will be convinced they are worth your time. If you’re looking for a last minute present for your mother-in-law, sorry, I doubt this one is for her!

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2012 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Eagle Rock Entertainment, and is used for informational purposes only.