As is pretty obvious, music is one of the thickest threads that runs through the weave of the picnic blanket of my life. Somewhere near the frayed edge, 1983 hangs in my memory as a very special time, a year of teenage discovery with monthly visits to the Glasgow Apollo and days of High School where drawing on the covers of jotters kept me sane until home time.
Twisted Sister were in the middle of that, their big hit was I Am, I’m Me which saw their scary pantomime metal on Top of the Pops. As good as that tune was the B-side of the 7″ and 12″ had four tracks recorded at the Marquee Club in London, now closed but a legend of a venue in its day. These live tracks (others were on The Kids are Back single too) were mostly taken from their low-fi debut album Under the Blade and were delivered with a ferocity that casts a shadow over everything the band has ever done in the studio before or since. They were on every compilation tape I made and the vinyl was worn thin long ago, other than what I could find on YouTube I haven’t heard them in years.
I’ve been on Rhino Records mailing list for years, they dig up some cracking stuff and always do a lovely job with the packaging. When I saw “Twisted Sister Live at the Marquee Club” as the subject line of the email I got super excited and then instantly dismayed, if the Marquee show had been available it would have been released long before now as the band’s comeback was a few years back. But no, here it was, a whole show’s worth from two nights at the Marquee in ’83. It was pre-ordered before I remembered to breathe out again.
So, it arrived yesterday in it’s fold-out packaging and went straight onto my mother’s stereo, as that is where I was. Just like on Doctor Who a few hours later all of time happened at the same time, I was 43 year old long haired teenager in 1983 ready to take my 3 year old daughter up to Glasgow for a new pair of boots in 2011.
It’s glorious, just as powerful to my tinitus dulled ears as it was when they were just out the wrapper 28 years ago. I revelled in every single sound of the tracks I knew and grinned widely at the ones I’d never heard. “I recognise that” says mother, she’s still on the ball then.
I’m pretty sure Sin After Sin is a different version from the vinyl, probably the recording from the other night, but it’s still awesome. Tear it Loose was always my favourite, it just punky rock but it flattens all the thrash stuff that came out at the same time, put it against Metallica’s Kill ’em All and itjust looks feeble.
I like new, but new is just adding more stuff for more fun, I still love all the stuff I used to and this CD has brought much joy. Twisted Sister always were a fantastic live band, still are, and I’m glad this is as much an instant fixture on my iPod as it is a wee nostalgia trip.