Twisted Sister: Live At Hammersmith (remaster)
Live At Hammersmith is the final piece of the Twisted Sister catalogue to receive a re-release via Armoury Records and a remaster courtesy of T.S. bassist Mark Mendoza. And a fine album it is to conclude the process with! Recorded in the legendary Hammersmith Odeon as Dee and the boys were on their way to reaching their commercial peak, this show also finds a band slamming into top gear on stage as well. Hammering out five tracks from their breakthrough album Stay Hungry, including the fire-breathing "We're Not Gonna Take It" and the snarling sneer of "Burn In Hell", the fourteen tracks on show are absolutely smashed into smithereens, with a rabid crowd, who are joyfully whipped into a frenzy by frontman Dee Snider, baying for blood from start to finish. Actually the manner in which Snider cajoles every last ounce of energy from the crowd is a masterclass and even from just the audio on this CD, it is blatantly clear that on the night captured here, not one fist refused to punch the air, or one vocal chord wasn't brought to within a millimetre of snapping. However what was also apparent by this stage, was that these make-up caked rock and ruckers had already been blasting out quality hard rock to dedicated audiences for years and years. Their stage craft being beyond doubt and their catalogue bursting at the seams with cracking cuts like "The Kids Are Back", "Under The Blade" and "I Am, I'm Me".
For all their bluster, larger than life personas and garish image, Live At Hammersmith is a document of a band who, while dressing them up as dumb-ass rock, also wrote bristling anthems and while I'm not going to suggest that "SMF", or "I Wanna Rock" would be the basis for a rock opera, both, along with "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "Knife In The Back" had the ability to capture a generation, through their potent energy. The guitar pairing of Jay Jay French and Eddie Ojeda hit their marks time and again and while Snider was the obvious focal point, bassist "The Beast" Mendoza and drummer AJ Pero hold everything together with expert ease.
As a double set of discs and even including a couple of bonus tracks (early live cover versions of "Jailhouse Rock" and "Train Kept A-Rollin'", which are good fun, if far from essential), Live At Hammersmith could, with a little well earned editing of some of the overlong stage raps, easily have squeezed on to a single disc. However if that is the only complaint about a live album that sounds fantastic and never once slips below captivating, then any accusation of nit-picking is probably justified.
If you are a long term Twisted Sister SMF (as Dee himself would describe you), and you don't already have this album, then put simply, you should. However if you've never been shook up by the whirlwind that this band were (and on occasion still are), or have been put off by the "interesting" holiday albums, then this is where you should start. I'll guarantee you'll be back for more.
1. What You Don't Know
2. The Kids Are Back
3. Stay Hungry
5. We're Not Gonna Take It
6. You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll
7. Knife In The Back
8. Shoot 'Em Down
1. Burn In Hell
2. I Am, I'm Me
3. I Wanna Rock
5. We're Gonna Make It
6. Jailhouse Rock (live Detroit '79)
7. Train Kept A-Rollin' (live Detroit '79)
Added: August 18th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Twisted Sister Official Website
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