Twisted Sister & Vince Neil Concert Review, ROT Rally, 6/15/2013
I don’t think I’ve talked about Twisted Sister on this page much, most likely because I haven’t seen them live since 2004. That 2004 show in Richmond, VA was absolutely incredible. I never got to see them in the 80s which was unfortunate. I also saw Widowmaker and Dee’s SMFs. Both of those shows were great, too.
Twisted Sister and Vince Neil (opening) got booked for the 2013 Republic of Texas Biker Rally. Tickets were $60 ($67 after all fees) which included access to the rally for the whole weekend. While I’ve owned a couple of Harleys over the years, biker gatherings never appealed to me. It’s unfortunate that you couldn’t just buy a pass for the concerts that were happening over the weekend, but oh well. I decided to just suck it up the day before the show and buy it. Twisted Sister is great live and I knew they would deliver again.
We got into the Travis County Expo Center and parked seemingly on the other side of the place and walked through all of the biker madness where the campsites and RV parking were located and saw all sort of debauchery and silliness. By the time we got to the amphitheater, Vince Neil was already playing.
I’ll just say this: VINCE NEIL SUCKS. Period. I saw Crue on the Dr. Feelgood tour and he sucked. I also saw him solo in 2003. He sucked then, too. But the dude can still make a living playing the biker fests and letting the crowd sing half of the lyrics. And don’t get me wrong, I adore those first 2 Crue albums, but Vince sucks live and seemingly always has.
His backup band consisted of Dana Strum on bass who has some serious street cred, shitty Slaughter aside. The dude has been around and been a part of some big things behind the scenes over the years. Slaughter’s Jeff Blando handled guitar duties and was fine. He’s actually a pretty good singer, too. Drummer Zoltan Chaney handled the “drumming” duties. I put that in quotes for a reason. I hate this style of drumming. I consider this guy more of a circus clown than a drummer. But, I understand why Vince has him in the band because he needs a show backing him because he’s such a shitty singer. Zoltan is a very visual drummer that basically acts like a chimpanzee behind the kit. I can’t stand that. I’d much rather have seen Tommy Lee. Tommy’s flamboyant as well, but not to this degree. And Tommy is super solid. Vince played to his crowd with the awfulness of Girls, Girls, Girls and Wildside. I really don’t know what other Crue songs they played as I just couldn’t care enough to pay attention.
Halfway through the set, Vince disappeared from the stage and his band goes into some Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Their version of Heaven and Hell was actually pretty good and thankfully Vince was nowhere to be found. After doing a little research, this seems to be a regular part of Vince’s show. This article gives a little insight and I agree with the sentiments presented in it. I just couldn’t wait for them to finish so we could see Dee and the band.
The crowd thinned out quite a bit and we moved right to the center and just 4-5 back from the barricade. After a chopper giveaway, The Pledge of Allegiance and a salute to the military, Twisted Sister hit the stage.
They opened up with You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll and just crushed it. Dee’s voice was a little rough for the first 2 songs or so, then it was all dialed in. The rolled right in to Shoot ’em Down and just killed it. Those guys have been playing together since the late 70s and it showed. They were incredibly tight and you can still get the feeling that they all hate each other. But it didn’t matter. They all played incredibly well and the show was awesome.
They rolled through Stay Hungry, Beast, The Price and a track that was a surprise to me, The First Still Burns from Come Out and Play. They also of course played We’re not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock as expected. You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll is my favorite album by them and also getting The Kids are Back and We’re Gonna Make It made me happy. The whole show made me happy. I could have done without I Believe in Rock and Roll but oh well. No Destroyer? At least they didn’t play Leader of the Pack! After closing with I Wanna Rock, they took a short break and came out for one more song. Dee mentioned that it was a song they don’t play often and it was fitting for a biker rally and I was getting excited because I thought they were going to play Ride to Live, Live to Ride. Seriously, I was almost in freak out mode until they went into Steppenwolf’s Born to Be Wild. *heavy sigh*. I get it. They were playing to that specific crowd. No worries. They were absolutely incredible as I expected them to be. And I just want to say that AJ Pero is such an incredible drummer. He sounded better last night than in the other 2 times I had seen him play in he past.
Along with Bruce Dickinson, Jason McMaster, and Ronnie James Dio, Dee Snider is in that class of ultimate frontmen. Dee even gave a speech on vaginal dryness and how they licensed We’re Not Gonna Take It to a PMS company for use in their commercials. It was pretty funny.
Jay Jay French spoke that in 1983 on their first US tour, the first show was in Austin, exactly 30 years to the day from last night’s show and that they hadn’t played here since. According to my friend Ben, he saw them in 1984 at City Coliseum a year later. But hey, memories get fuzzy after all those years, eh? The crowd never filled back in for Twisted Sister like the crown Vince had, which was unfortunate. But it also made it more comfortable as it was pretty warm and humid last night. Sister’s tour manager is Danny Stanton who I had met several times over the years as he managed Thin Lizzy and Loudness on their US tours in the late 90s to mid 2000s. He sang for the NY band Takashi. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to say hello this time. Dee also took a couple of good potshots at Vince Neil. It was hilarious.
Dee Snider is 58 and can still rock out like nobody’s business. He’s a beast of a frontman and I really hope to see them again. It was another great concert filled with awesome music and good friends all around.
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