That frollicky, festive time of year is quickly rushing us like a slick ninja in a dark alleyway, with it’s jagged jingles and moments of alcoholism with workmates you would never drink with otherwise. All the stages around town are working a lather to put the final touches on the annual Christmas performances of such classics as The Nutcracker, and all those Scrooge-like adaptations. Chicago is a great town at Christmas, with all that downtown architecture decorated with lights and bulbs – the nights become that of magic and wonder.
Add in Dee Snider — the former frontman of Twisted Sister, now the most family friendly metal head you could ever hope to meet — and the good feelings flowing toward the stage in “Dee Snider’s Rock & Roll Christmas Show” were so palpable, it felt like the audience would have been willing to stay behind and rewrite the script and then perform all of Twisted Sister’s greatest hits on their heads, were beloved narrator Dee only to ask. Snider started out cheerfully breaking whatever character he might have been portraying, by calling Chicago “New York’s prettier sister.” Such love was amply returned, if thoroughly tested.
The premise is weird but, to my mind, perfectly workable. Snider narrates, a la “Rocky Horror.” A loser, cute dweeb-filled, neo-metal band named Daisy Cuter (a running gag, funny the first but not the eighth time, has the band really being called Daisy Cutter, only its name was misspelled) is on the skids at Christmastide. Fine. Many a holiday show starts there. The band, which plays a basement venue to an audience of one drunk (played by William McGough), and who want only to move to the posh club upstairs (Keely Vasquez plays the owner of both) find themselves singing rock versions of carols instead of the numbers they intend to sing. Cute but tip-free waitresses are shocked.
The band thus sells their souls to the devil (I think). And they call in an exorcist — Snider, who uses a nutcracker in an exorcism (stay with me here). After various other machinations, some of which involve the confusion of Satan and Santa (one letter, after all), these cute metal heads each get their cute gals and everyone decides, like Slade, Springsteen and Seger before them, that a rockin’ Christmas ain’t so bad when it sells.
Sadly, in the end, this ruckus tale of rock and Christmas fails, as we all kind of thought it might. Still, I like seeing Dee Snider up and doing stuff. Heck, if Boy George and Culture Club get their acts together to make another record and tour, it’s perfectly feasible that Twister Sister could do the same. Also, when all the damn theatres around town and playing rehashed versions of classic Christmas stories for the fucking thousandth time, it would have been fun to sit and watch Dee make a fool out of himself in a fun holiday tale. Frankly, the man is used to making a fool out of himself for the sake of entertainment.