Twisted Sister - Live At the Astoria

Reunions; remakes; reimaginings - like its Hollywood counterpart, the music industry has smeared itself in these unoriginal entities as it searches for the last dollar left on the planet. Some things work, rock - the majority suck. For every Hanoi Rocks, we get a Trixter; for every The Hills Have Eyes, we get a The Hills Have Eyes 2. The Kiss reunion became something of a benchmark - it gave people of a certain age the chance to finally see the four original superheroes back in make up, but nostalgia comes at a cost and greed has now threatened to piss all over the legacy of this once great band. There were lessons to be learned from the flawed money making scheme masquerading as a rock show, and bands like the reunited Twisted Sister have benefited with their refusal to walk a similar golden mile to Whoresville. While the decision to remake the classic 'Still Hungry' record offered up great debate to SMF's worldwide, I feel it is better to be debating this than damning a Psycho Circus elephant in the room. The cherry picking of festivals, gigs and tours by the five original members of TS is a masterstroke - no unhappy bunnies here. I witnessed the band blow a surprisingly lacklustre Alice Cooper offstage during their joint UK tour of 2005 - Twisted Sister are doing things their way, they are doing things right and for that they have to be applauded.

The 'Live At The Astoria' release from DVE is an impressive package - a sixteen track live CD coupled with the entire show on DVD. The concert video is labelled as "uncensored" but what that basically means is that viewers get more Snider stage patter than listeners. Dee Snider likes to talk and, whether his words revolve around Jimmy Page's bathroom or Pizza Hut-induced gas, SMF's like to listen. Through projects like House Of Hair, that great little movie Strangeland and Fangoria Radio, Snider has continued to entertain and this live show is, unsurprisingly, no different. While Dee Snider remains the band's badass focal point, the other four original members (no doppelgangers here!) are living proof that you....ahem....can't stop rock 'n' roll. From opener 'What You Don't Know (Sure Can Hurt You)' to the Warriors homage of 'Come Out And Play', this is a band in fine form. Sure, any casual fan can pick out the obligatory hits but SMF's (for whom the final song was written) can bang their heads and raise their fists to massive versions of 'Destroyer' and 'The Price'.

I've heard groans of discontent from some tight bastards that the DVD is a vanilla disc that contains no extra material but, c'mon, a live album and concert DVD for pretty much the price of a single disc has to be worth a shot, right? There is no need for an answer when the band and package are this good.

by Gaz E.

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