METAL MELTDOWN FEATURING TWISTED SISTER LIVE AT THE HARD ROCK CASINO – A CONCERT TO HONOR AJ PERO
We’re a little bit late to the party on this one, but decibelROGUE just managed to get it’s grubby paws on an advance copy of Metal Meltdown – Featuring Twisted Sister Live at the Hard Rock Casino Las Vegas – A Concert To Honor A.J. Pero a few hours ahead of its 5 August release. Now, quite apart from being probably the longest album name in the history of recorded music, this album is the first in a set of four Metal Meltdown releases which will go on to feature live performances by Extreme, Skid Row and Great White.
On first listen, it’s hard not to feel a certain amount of sadness and regret the further and deeper into the concert you go. Sadness because this concert took place only 2 months after the sudden death of long-time drummer AJ Pero. And regret, because after 40 years of blistering live shows, the band are calling it quits. So if like me you’ve never been to a Twisted Sister concert and you’re not heading to Bloodstock next weekend where the band will be performing their last ever UK show, then, well, join the dots…
After AJ’s passing, Mike Portnoy (The Winery Dogs, Dream Theater, Avenged Sevenfold) agreed to fill in on drums and this concert was his first live Twisted Sister show. So as you can imagine, this show was packed full of emotion for all concerned. And you get the sense that as the band exploded into opening song What You Don’t Know, all that emotional turmoil and pain was released as pure rock energy. The aggressiveness of JayJay and Fingers’ guitars, Dee’s intense vocals, Mike Portnoy’s immense drumming and Mark Mendoza’s driving bass all combined to hit the audience like a none too subtle punch in the face. And they kept on punching furiously for the next ninety minutes. These guys just don’t let up!
Since this was a musical journey through the best bits of Twisted Sister’s archive, there was a distinctly old-school feel to the show. And this is a very good thing because they just don’t make rock music like this any more. Songs like Shoot Em Down and You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll are proper no-nonsense in yer face rockers and were performed with an intensity which could shame much younger artists.
Obviously this show was a tribute to AJ Pero. And without a doubt the most poignant part of the evening came during Burn in Hell when Mike Portnoy laid down his drumsticks while an audio/video recording of AJ playing an awesome drum solo played on the big screens at the back of the stage.
You can’t talk about a Twisted Sister show without mentioning their signature song. And yep, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve heard it, We’re Not Gonna Take It still makes you wanna punch the air and sing along at the top of your voice. Once again the guys absolutely monstered it, the crowd went nuts, and it was flat-out awesome. But here’s the thing. Although it’s without doubt one of the best old school rock anthems there is, it honestly doesn’t stand head and shoulders above all of the other songs performed here. One of the beauties of this recording is that it serves as a valuable reminder that Twisted Sister are much, much more than just a one trick, one song pony. And even after 40 years at the sharp end of rock music, they still kick serious amounts of ass.
This concert was first and foremost a fantastic tribute to a much loved drummer. But leaving that aside, it can stand on it’s own as a truly awesome live rock performance. This is how it’s done. You really should buy a copy and play it LOUD!
The world of rock will seriously miss their shows. Jeez, I wish I got to just one of them…