In my cavernous vault of Christmas tunes, one facet of my collection that has never been properly represented was hard rock and metal. Before 2006, I never would have pegged Twisted Sister as a band to record a Christmas album. Although, after A Twisted Christmas was released in 2006, it was an immediate classic. There’s obviously been many hard rock bands through the years who have released holiday songs but how many actually withstand the test of time? We’re covered from a Jersey perspective with songs from Bon Jovi and American Angel, but overall we’re hard pressed for good hard rock and heavy metal Christmas songs.
In 2007 we saw Monster Ballads Xmas released, and a year later We Wish You a Metal Xmas, but none of them had the potential that A Twisted Christmas did to become a classic. The Twisted Sister formula combined with these perennial holiday songs was a success. A Christmas album might seem like a strange move for rockers who wear costumes and makeup, but they followed through with an annual Christmas concert where the band performs Christmas tunes, and a slew of their other big songs as well. Unfortunately, the Twisted Christmas concert did not take place this year (2010) but if you would still like to experience it anyway, I suggest getting your hands on a copy of the very first Twisted Christmas Live DVD which took place at The Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey and released in 2007.
With the stage doused in red spotlights, bows, and silver tinsel garland, Dee Snider stormed the stage wearing a Santa Claus costume. TS then ripped into “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” which also incorporates a Ramones-esque “Ho, Ho, Ho, Let’s Go!” Their version of “White Christmas” is the quintessential hard rock version of the immortal song and “Oh Come all ye Faithful,” merges with “We’re Not Gonna Take It” to create the ultimate metal Christmas song.
The Starland concert was a fast paced onslaught of holiday hard rock. Dee Snider had a blast throughout the show, especially on “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” At times the rest of the band looks like they’d rather be knitting or doing a crossword puzzle, but they come alive when it’s time for Twisted songs like “The Fire Still Burns and “You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll.” Dee, who really has a way with words, thanked the troops overseas before kicking off “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” followed by a heartwarming rendition of “Burn in Hell.”
We get to see an awesome drum solo from A.J which leads into “Silver Bells” where Jay Jay French shreds as artifical snow fell from the rafters. You’ll also see plenty of Mark slapping the bass and Eddie electrifying his guitar. Dee tells a funny, yet long winded story about getting socks for Christmas which ultimately introduces “I Wanna Rock” as they completely annihilate the audience. Finally, the band comes back out for an encore of “Heavy Metal Christmas.” It wasn’t all holiday tunes either, mixed into the setlist were Twisted Sister tracks like “Shoot ’em Down” and “The Price.”
The DVD is well put together. Visually, you’ll feel like you are actually in the venue. The Starland Ballroom is small, but the film crew did a superb job with the limited space. When watching this concert you will quickly notice how the creative crew makes the ballroom look huge as they shoot from all different perspectives, many of which I’ve never seen done before at a Starland concert. There are also several extras including music videos for “Oh Come all ye Faithful” and “Heavy Metal Christmas” as well as an interview with the band and more. I only have one gripe with the DVD itself. They decided to delete the word “motherf*cker” all throughout the show, which I assume was to not get a parental advisory warning slapped on there.
If you’re one of those humbugs who hates holiday tunes, then this DVD is your kryptonite. But if you’re the type who can’t wait to break out the holiday music after Thanksgiving, and if you’re a Twisted Sister fanatic, then this DVD is a must own! It’s also a collectible for those fans of New Jersey popular culture, since New York’s Twisted Sister chose our little Starland Ballroom to do their first ever Christmas concert! I recommend getting this DVD before it goes out of print and you have to buy it on ebay for $80 bucks!