Twisted Sister | A Twisted Christmas: Live in Las Vegas – DVD Review

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After years of up and downs in their career (mostly downs), Twisted Sister released a Christmas album called A Twisted Christmas in 2006. Holiday-themed releases are something that should be left to the Rod Stewart and Barry Manilow’s of the world, not a heavy metal band. Now, as a follow-up, Twisted Sister has a live DVD entitled A Twisted Christmas: Live in Las Vegas.

Maybe I am being a musical Scrooge here but this live outing is embarrassing. I could accept a metal band covering a Christmas song (or grudgingly two) in a bit of “wink-wink nod-nod” fun. But the more than half of this set list is composed of Christmas tunes, and the joke quickly becomes, well, not so funny. Worse, is that the band interlaces the holiday nonsense with their own material, making for an off-kilter balance of good and bad.

Old-school TS selections, such as “Shoot ‘Em Down,” “You Can’t Stop Rock And Roll,” and “Burn In Hell” are awkwardly sandwiched between “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” “Silver Bells” and “Deck The Halls.” Twisted Sister were once (still are?) a hard-hitting metal band, until they became a parody with their cartoon antics on MTV in the early 80s. This live DVD, therefore, displays both of these sides of Twisted Sister: aggressive at times, downright dumb at others.

The show begins with fumbling elves scurrying about the stage, dropping presents down cardboard chimneys – you know, like the makings of a really bad Andy Williams Christmas television special from the 70s. Then, one by one, each band member comes out through some vortex-like door until finally the Leader of the Pack Dee Snider comes out on a sleigh dressed as – you guessed it – Santa Claus led by foxy, vampy chicks. The band then kick off with “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and the pacing never recovers. It’s hot and cold as the Sisters alternate between a silly Christmas tune and one of their own rocking original compositions.

Most people don’t wish to hear Christmas tunes to begin with, never mind delivered in such a forced, contrived manner by a hard rock act. The band, themselves, Snider aside, seem confused, as if they too are cringing a bit at such nonsense. Oh, and for good measure, we get “treated” to one of the more boring drum solos I have ever heard in my life.

Undoubtedly, Snider came up with this concept, and convinced Jay Jay French, Mark Mendoza, AJ Pero, and Eddie Ojeda to go along with the idea. Maybe it sounded interesting on paper, but the execution just doesn’t flow. The band only look comfortable when performing their own material; they seem to take a step (or two) back during the nauseating Yuletide nonsense. Getting Twisted Sister back together for a reunion works fine for me, but the holiday aspect of it just boggles my rationale of thinking. I wouldn’t mind them dropping the trademark neon-glow costumes and garish make-up either, if only because, as the band ages, it looks more and more ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, when Twisted Sister are delivering their own material, they remind me how big of a fan I am of their earlier material. But the Noel-niceness never comes off aggressiveness or sinister – which it should, for the sake of irony. In all fairness, I do recommend A Twisted X-Mas: Live in Las Vegas (believe it or not) to all Twisted Sister fans, all of whom I assume will skip over the ho-ho-ho silliness, and focus on what this band can (potentially) do best – and that is to deliver some fierce, melodic metal.

~ Bruce Forrest


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