By Jason Wellwood
Twisted Sister is one band that I regret not having seen in their heyday. I did have the chance to see Dee Snider’s SMF’s play The Generator in Toronto with AJ Pero on drums (the venue was so small that Dee was literally punching holes in the ceiling every time he pumped his fist in the air!) but it wasn’t the same. Last year’s reissue of the Live At Wacken DVD was a good step towards feeling like I had seen the band but the intercut interview segments actually left me wanting a full, unadulterated live show more than anything. Enter Eagle Vision and the Double Live DVD, showing two very different periods in the bands history: 1982 on the way up, and 2001 when they’d already been gone for thirteen years.
Disc one of Double Live was filmed weeks before the band left for the U.K. to record Under The Blade. This was really the first headlining ‘theatre’ type show for the band, as they were really ready to explode out of the club scene in New York. Dee and company are in fine form, the set not only has some of the songs you’d expect to hear at the time (‘Under The Blade’, ‘What You Don’t Know Sure Can Hurt You’, etc.) it also includes a few songs that would show up on later albums (‘Leader of the Pack’, ‘You Can’t Stop Rock N’ Roll’) some tracks that only die-hard fans would know (‘Lady’s Boy’, ‘Rock N’ Roll Saviours’) and even one that never made it on record (‘You Know I Cry’). Obviously fans who only know Stay Hungry are not going to enjoy this set, but it’s not for them anyway. This is not a slick, over produced and remixed MTV Live production, the sound is raw, there are lighting issues, slight miscues…it’s a warts and all production and it’s fantastic. The band is solid, engaging and ahem, hungry! Interesting to note that AJ Pero had literally been in the band two months at the time and had three wisdom teeth removed the morning before the show! These guys were pros!!
Disc two flashes forward almost nineteen years in the future to a point when the band had been broken up and not played together for over thirteen years. In the wake of 9/11, metal lover Eddie Trunk put out a call to friends and managed to convince Twisted Sister to reform completely and have them play a headlining set for his NY Steel benefit show. Another testament to how incredible these guys were: they had only about five rehearsals before playing this set and absolutely killing it. No major mistakes, no one forgetting lyrics, riffs, etc. Again, the sound is raw, microphones cut out, the lighting is pretty dark in places, but it all gives you the feeling that you were/are actually there seeing the band live. Here are five guys getting together after thirteen years and proving why they were so legendary in the New York club scene and why they became so huge.
Again, warts and all, Twisted Sister absolutely destroy any doubts that these guys couldn’t hold it together.
On both discs, the set lists offer surprises, the band is just as amazing in 1982 as they are in 2001 and this, as far as I’m concerned, is the ‘must see’ live DVD of the year.