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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Twisted Sister

Live At Hammersmith '84

Review by Larry Toering

Describing live versions of songs can be as challenging as it is redundant, which is why I choose live recordings wisely at MSJ. It can be a contest between presenting them as the songs they are, and the particular versions they wind up being. This release is certainly no exception to that rule, but Twisted Sister are so fun that it doesn't seem to be much to fuss about concerning that, luckily for me. Eagle Rock sure have been busy with this band of late, with so many retro active releases of their shows it can be hard to keep up with it all. This can tend to render quite a bit of sameness, as much as live recordings can already constitute, especially for collecting consumers. I hadn't seen Twisted Sister before 1984, so I can't comment on how well they performed before that year, but I will never forget seeing them that on the tour after this with Iron Maiden. That was especially true when Dee Snyder demanded the house lights go on at the end of the show, which gave Maiden a run for their production money without even blinking. And that is quite testimonial for them, because it was one of  that bands biggest productions in the 80s. This serves as a great example of how hot this band was prior to 1986-'87. And what better UK venue was there to record a concert than the famous London Hammy Odeon. That is only to mention one of the great metal acts that took them out in that decade and helped put this band on the map.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Bonus tracks – Live at Detroit '79
Jailhouse Rock
This has their glam stamp all over it, taking me back to when I witnessed it from the front row. Snyder does change the lyrics to follow some funnier points about their rendition.
Train Kept A Rollin'
Once again they put their stamp on another great classic, and the guitars deliver as well as anywhere to be heard on this release. It’s great bonus material in both of these covers.
Disc 1
Who You Don't Know(Sure Can Hurt You)
The show opens with a rollicking version of this track to kick the whole experience into gear. And the sound is very comprehensive for an old archival recording that comes to life here. This is the only way to open a TS concert, as they let it all hang out.
The Kids Are Back

Talk about a step in the right direction, as the energy increases by at least half a throttle's worth here. The guitar bites are clean and precise, which adds mass appeal to the performance thus far already.

Stay Hungry
This keeps the pace with ferocity as they blow through one of their well known pieces, with yet more guitar attack going for it. This is killer!
Destroyer
If that wasn't enough, this could send one over the edge without even being there. This is where they get as heavy as ever!
We're Not Gonna To Take It
The ultimate Twisted Sister classic is delivered at their best here. It remains as fun to this day as it ever was. They almost take the risk of running through it too swiftly, but who doesn't purposely swing things up live for all it's worth? This is simply awe inspiring for a band like this to pull off.
You Can't Stop Rock 'n Roll
Once again, more of the exact same ferocity is displayed all over this equally memorable classic. This track has always held a soft spot with me, and this live version brings it home with the best I've heard. Glam lovers will really be most impressed with the more well known stuff for sure, but it takes nothing away from the other tracks in the process. Get out your air guitar for this!
Knife In The Back
Not being all that familiar with this, it tends to get a lot of spins by me, and in doing so I'm already used to it. Once again the pace is of the Ferarri variety. At this point there is no turning away from the concert.
Shoot 'Em Down
Here it starts to become evident that Dee Snyder puts enough into a show to clearly show how wearing it can be on the voice, as it gets a tad thinner here. But that just demonstrates how hard they work. This isn't one of the high points of the show, but nevertheless it's still hard not to enjoy.
Under The Blade
This closes disc one with all the style and finesse this band was capable of at the time, with a purely exhausting version performed. Once again this is absolutely bone crushing for their level of energy.
Disc 2
Burn In Hell
As the show continues and the wear and tear becomes more evident, it just showcases all the more how hard they work for their money. This features the peak of that energy with a monster drum solo to give the others a well deserved break in the set. And it proves to be an awesome performance.
I Am, I'm Me
This is another tune I'm not hugely familiar with, so it helps freshen the set where these ears are concerned. All of their classic appeal is retained on this live version, and great solos are applied here as well.
I Wanna Rock
Here the band find themselves back at one of their more well known numbers. Everything they're capable of comes out in this fine performance of what was a obviously a crowd favorite by then. Snyder is also at his comedic best here.
SMF
This finds them at full throttle once again, on likely the beefiest track in the set, clocking in at over seven minutes. That comes complete with a speech from Snyder at the end, which takes them into the final track of the set.
We're Gonna Make It
Everything comes to an end with hardly a step lost in all of the mayhem it took to get here. By this time the listener is as beaten down as the crowd was, so that proves the significance factor of this release, as they reach maximum speeds.
 
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