I admit I am not a rabid Twisted Sister fan, but I like them. I met Dee Snyder at DragonCon in Atlanta when he had just released his movie Strangeland, and was amazed by how nice he was. I love to hear him talk. But what really made me want to review Twisted Sister’s From the Bars to the Stars was the inclusion of A Twisted X-Mas Live in Las Vegas.
The Christmas special here took place in 2009. The guys come out (all five original members) and my, how they’ve changed over the years. Since their 80s big hair and makeup days, the first four onstage now resemble middle-aged bikers, beefed up and makeup-free. But then Snyder arrives, dressed as the weirdest Santa you ever saw in full makeup and with the trademark wild hair. Once he sheds the Santa suit for his usual stage clothes, he still looks like, as the European press dubbed him, “Sarah Jessica Parker dipped in acid,” the most demented clown you ever saw. But he’s still a hoot to listen to. Explaining how they came to make a Christmas CD, he says,”best selling album since the 80s. Go figure…they said we’d ruin our careers. WHAT careers?!”
From there, the show is what you would expect: A little outrageous, but not all that much. It’s not kid-friendly, of course, especially not TS’s version of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” There’s a rather too-long visit from Satan Claus. But overall, it’s entertaining, and I enjoyed the metal Christmas music and a dip back into some Twisted Sister classics. Besides, who else who follow an extremely unusual rendition of “O Come All Ye Faithful” (with intact lyrics) with “Burn in Hell”?
The band is performing their holiday extravaganza twice in 2011 in New York, by the way, on December 2nd at the Paramount Theater in Huntington and December 17th at the Best Buy Theater in New York City, so if you’re near there, you can compare it to the Vegas ’09 show.
The rest of the DVDs are quite remarkable, but there are not five of them as stated. There are four. The fifth case, “SMF Collectibles” is something really quite special. It contains a letter from the band, a button, a Twisted Sister Christmas ornament, and an all-access pass from the New York Steel reunion show in 2001.
The three remaining DVDs cover North Stage ’82 and New York Steel 2001 (the only double feature DVD), Reading 1982, and the Wacken Reunion show at which the band officially got back together in 2003. All of the shows are entertaining, and fans will get to hear familiar songs and covers by the band. But the really interesting stuff here is the interviews.
On every DVD except the Christmas one, each band member talks about not only the shows featured but other events in the bands’ history. You get to hear about how they felt about English food and fans in ’81, the breakup in ’87, the various one-shot reunions in the 90s, and how they finally got back together.
All of the members are coherent and engaging and it’s all a lot of fun. Hear Snyder and the other band members reminisce about how, in 1982, Snyder challenged thousands of fans to come to the side of the stage so the band could take them all on for throwing stuff at them! Find out which member of the band now makes his primary living as a bounty hunter (hint: his nickname is “The Animal”).
Overall, this box set will be a gold mine for any fan of 80s rock in general and Twisted Sister in particular. And the interviews are priceless.