DVD Review: Twisted Sister: Double Live

Twisted Sister at two key phases of their career.
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Twisted Sister - Double LiveTwisted Sister spent a number of years on the New York club scene, building a large following and setting attendance records with their legendary performances. In 1982, before leaving for England to record their debut album, Under The Blade, the band bid farewell to the clubs with a blistering performance at the North Stage Theater. Fast forward nearly two decades later to the NY Steel show in 2001. Held just 11 weeks after the events of 9/11, the show benefitted the New York Police & Fire Widows' & Children's Benefit fund. After 13 years apart, Twisted Sister was asked to reunite for the event, which sowed the seeds of their reunion. Both shows are available for the first time on the Twisted Sister: Double Live DVD.

Disc one features the North Stage performance and the band performs as if their careers depended on it, delivering songs from their Ruff Cutts EP and their yet-to-be-recorded debut Under The Blade. The show opens with a version of "What You Don't Know (Sure Can Hurt You)" that pummels its studio counterpart, both in speed and intensity. The same holds true throughout — the songs are faster, heavier, more in your face, better.

"Destroyer" is monstrous in its intensity and it's interesting to hear "Leader Of The Pack" well before the band had an MTV hit with it with Dee Snider borrowing Rob Halford's motorcycle gimmick for the latter. Also included are the only commercially released video performances of rare club-era tracks "I'll Never Grow Up Now" and "Lady's Boy," The latter featuring an Alice Cooper-esque vocal from Snider. The band also features the hard-charging "You Can't Stop Rock 'N' Roll, " which became the title track of not their first, bur rather their second album, showing the band had a quality backlog of songs to draw from for future releases.

Twisted Sister would become giants of heavy metal within two years thanks to "We're Not Gonna Take It" and heavy MTV airplay. The seeds of their success had already been sown, the rest of the world just had to catch up.

In November of 2001, New York disc jockey Eddie Trunk organized an event called NY Steel. Recognizing their importance to the New York metal music scene, Trunk persuaded Twisted Sister to reunite for the event. After 13 years apart, the band showed they still had it. Performing in street clothes instead of their famous garish costumes, they also proved what Twisted Sister fans knew all along — this is a good band with good songs.

The show opens with a version of "What You Don't Know (Sure Can Hurt You)" that not only rivals the 1982 version on disc one, it might be better as it was Twisted Sister announcing their return with authority. Further driving home the point is the second song in the set, "The Kids Are Back." Snider's powerhouse vocals lost none of their intensity in the band's absence.

Snider dedicates an intense "Burn In Hell" "to those scumbags in the world who would try to take our freedom from us." Along those lines, "We're Not Gonna Take It" serves as a rallying cry for New Yorkers even more post-9/11 than in 1984. Twisted Sister's return was a triumphant one and a welcome one in the world of heavy metal.

The DVD includes bonus interview footage with the band discussing the 1982 show, 9/11 and its effects on the band as well as their reunion. Also included is a photo gallery.

Twisted Sister was one of the hardest-working bands on the New York club scene, toiling away for years before finally making it big. Twisted Sister: Double Live shows a band on the cusp of that stardom and at the beginning of a successful reunion and is a must-own DVD for any fan of the band.