On October 24 at approximately 9:18pm, Twisted Sister took the stage at the Hampton Beach (NH) Casino Ballroom, which is neither a casino nor a ballroom, and even the beach part is questionable. My heart was pounding like a group of elvin drummers celebrating a successful harvest.
I had never seen Twisted Sister live, but let’s just say they are a frequent topic of conversation among my head-banging, role-playing homeys.
TS immediately went on the attack, showing no mercy as their drums and bass shook the earth like a herd of elephants loosed from a derailed circus train bound to Asskickville.
Then, Dee Snider appeared, to the glee of the metal-hungry crowd.
Snider wore a torn fishnet shirt and a tattered coat of many colors that looked like an awesomely exploded pi¤ata. Please do not jump to the conclusion that I think explosions are “awesome” by definition. Explosions can be used for good or evil, just like any technology. In this particular case, there is simply no debate that it was for good.
The band screamed through a version of The Price, which frankly ruled. Next, launching into the song Destroyer, Snider slayed the crowd as if he were Samson wielding the jawbone of a donkey against the Philistines. It was a really good song.
The crowd of frenzied New Hampshirites, a hundred-score strong, flung their fists in the air, yelling “You rule!” and “Snotweasel stop spilling beer on me!”
After blazing through incendiary versions of Burn in Hell and Horror-Teria, which also ruled, Dee Snider raised his mighty arm and gestured toward the elevated rear of the ballroom, where people sat in box seats. Snider said, “I don’t think too much of VIP areas. They’re not Very Important People, they’re Very Important Pieces of Sh**!” This was pretty much an awesome thing to say, but I wish he would have maintained the parallelism of the acronym with something like “Very Important Peckers” rather than adding those extra words.
Next up was a version of Ride to Live, Live to Ride that took us on a one-way hell-copter ride to Thrashopolis. Maybe that overstates the case a little, but it was really, really good.
At this point, I grew worried that the band could not keep it up. Surely, regression to the mean would kick in, and they would slip from the peaks of rulehood to the valley of whatever is the opposite of that.
As if reading my thoughts, Mr. Dee Snider reached into his bag of Beelzebubian delights and pulled out a little doozy known as We’re Not Gonna Take It! The fans erupted as the band slaked our rockthirst with their righteous Sistermead.
Did this song rule? I will say only this: Had there been a bat or other flying mammal in reach, I would have seized it and bitten off a head or wing in a fit of Ozzarian metal catharsis. To be fair, I guess it could have been a walking mammal that I scooped off the floor. I don’t think I could have caught a jumping mammal, so that wouldn’t have worked.
Fortunately, the moment passed, which is good because I do not believe in cruelty to animals.
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of Rock! sang Snider as the band transitioned into I Believe in Rock and Roll. I am beginning to run out of metaphors that adequately express the awesomeness of the night, so I will fast-forward to the last song, I Wanna Rock.
I will only say this: If I had been a cleric with 18 charisma points wearing a suit of chain mail armor, I would have gladly given up everything just to hear that song again. That’s how good it was. And the same goes for the entire evening, except octuple it.