Decibel Geeks Wallygator & The Meister Attend Opening Night of Dee Snider’s Rock & Roll Christmas Tale at The Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto
Wallygator: I Wanna Rock! So The Meister and I headed downtown to the Winter Garden Theatre on Yonge St. in Toronto. Where else would you expect to see
the Decibel Geek‘s Hoser Heavy Metal Twins on the opening night of Dee Snider’s Rock & Roll Christmas Tale?
Decibel Geek readers are no doubt well aware of the tireless road dog journalist that is the “Meister”. He has travelled the globe and the high seas watching every metal band you all know and some you probably do not. So it came as a surprise to learn that he had not (until tonight that is) experienced an evening of musical theatre. Being the more mature and cultured older brother, I figured this would be the perfect introduction to the world of live theatre. I mean what better than combining the dignified art of the theatre with spandex, leather, makeup and lots of METAL! Oh and let’s not forget a big heaping pile of Christmas spirit and fun!
A few weeks back we decided not only to be there for the opening night but we were doing it up right with the Dee Snider VIP Treatment. We felt an early Christmas present to ourselves was in order so we splurged and enjoyed the show from front row centre with the added bonus of getting to meet Dee Snider himself post show. Ho Ho Ho Let’s Go!
The audience for opening night was entertainingly diverse. A mixture of traditional “theatre people” of all ages dressed up for an evening of artistic enjoyment and probably an equal number of denim-clad SMF’s looking to ROCK! Dee Snider’s Rock & Roll Christmas Tale totally hits the mark combining enough rock n’ roll with an incredibly fun and entertaining story line to totally entertain both spectrums of the audience. Before I hand over the “review” portion to my esteemed colleague I also want to add one more thing. Bring your kids! It truly is a family friendly show, like a good Disney movie there are jokes that only the adults will get, but this is most definitely a G-rated experience that the kids will love too!
Meister: Twisted Sister is without a doubt the first rock band that I was a real fan of. I’ve often cited bands and albums in the past that were major parts of my formative years of musical taste like UFO‘s Mechanix, Quiet Riot‘s Metal Health, and KISS‘ Creatures of the Night, all of which didn’t come to me until a couple of years after their release. But the first band that I became a full-fledged fan of was indeed Twisted Sister fronted, of course, by Dee Snider. The Stay Hungry record was played often as I hung out with a couple of friends on the street and it became a soundtrack to our days that summer. Twisted Sister albums were some of the first that I bought with my own money after I gravitated from the Men at Work and Police influences of my parents, convincing Mama to allow me to join the Columbia Records and Tapes deal. I even had the Stay Hungry album sleeve thumbtacked to my bedroom wall, loving the back cover photo of the band seated around a table under the dim light of a bare bulb dangling in a wire. We used to shout “You’re an SMF!” at each other, even though we didn’t know what it stood for back in those days. When the days of concert going began, somehow I never got to see Twisted Sister live in concert. I still shake my head at how this could have happened!
So, when Wallygator and I mentioned Dee Snider’s Rock & Roll Christmas Tale to each other it was a no brainer. Might not be Twisted Sister, but I’ll finally get to see one of my fave rock n’ roll idols in a live performance! And even better, Canadian rock/metal stalwart guitarist Sean Kelly (Crash Kelly, Lee Aaron, Helix) also plays a role in the production. So what is Dee Snider’s Rock & Roll Christmas Tale? Basically, one word can sum the 90-minute stage performance up quite well: FUN! Man, what an enjoyable evening. If you are an old school rocker or understand the genre, you will be laughing uproariously at some of the banter and jokes, a lot of which poke fun at the genre and some of its icons and stereotypes. The story surrounds an aging hair metal band, Däisy Cütter, who never made it big but has been around since ’93, a period in rock history where hair metal was the underdog, shunned from light and basically ignored in favor of the Grunge era. Playing in a basement club to no audience night after night, the club owner (Taylor Dayne) delivers the ultimatum “Get the crowds in here like the DJ in the upstairs portion of the club or you’re out by Christmas” The boys make a deal with the devil and they’re on the way to fame, fortune and love, but they’re playing Christmas Carols?
This play is light-hearted, family friendly and filled with Christmas cheer and stereotypes from a musical age when hair metal ruled the airwaves. I laughed. A lot even! Dee narrates the tale filled with Twisted Sister music covers (including a song written by Dee that was recorded by Celine Dion) and the entire ensemble cast is beyond excellent.
Ho, Ho, ho….you’ll want to go! Visit Ticketmaster.ca and put DEE SNIDER’S ROCK & ROLL CHRISTMAS TALE tickets under your friends’ and family’s tree!