“The phrase “Rock Star” gets bandied about. Dee Snider, ladies and gents is a rock star. Absolute, copper bottomed 22 carat star of the show. Larger than life. 10,000 people in a field, oh please, he can have them eating out of his hand in seconds.”
I wrote those words on this site on the 11th August last year, I was in a field in Staffordshire. It was muddy – the weather the day before had been shit – and it had rained in the morning. I was miserable, I don’t walk very well and the conditions meant I had no chance to walk between stages as I love to do at Bloodstock, exploring new bands.
If I am honest, I hadn’t had the greatest day, and I was worried about how me and my mate were going to navigate the way back to the car at the end without me and my sticks sinking into the ground. Then at about 4.10pm on that Sunday afternoon, for 45 minutes I watched Dee Snider give one of the great festival performances. He and his band were genuinely incredible. Perhaps the best performance I’ve ever witnessed outdoors.
And its here.
There are other songs here too, but most of the Bloodstock show is one long highlight. The bit where he gives mother nature the finger, the bit where he tells the audience not to go for a piss when he does new songs (“wait for the drum solo, like I do”) and the bit where he does “I Wanna Rock” and the whole world made sense just for a little while at least.
But I don’t want to concentrate on the Twisted Sister stuff. Nope, not here – we all know it, we all love it (and if you don’t then Dee don’t give two shits) -because this is “For The Love Of Metal – Live” and that means the album he stuck out a couple of years ago (which was a genuine labour of love) is front and centre.
It is one of the best pure metal records of the last few years and songs like “Lies Are A Business” – which opens this prove why. Put simply metal in the 2020’s doesn’t ever sound more vital than it does on “Tomorrow’s No Concern”, or indeed “Become The Storm. And for that matter, it doesn’t ever sound more gloriously bombastic than “American Made” and “I Am The Hurricane”.
“I do it for the love,” he sings on the de facto title track here, and you know what? He always did, because way back when I loved Widowmaker too and it’s a treat to hear their “Ready To Fall”, which is turned into some kind of Pantera thing here.
Recorded around the world on the tour, “Highway To Hell” performs the function of the international language, and he even makes that sound like a Dee Snider tune too.
And of course there’s the aforementioned “…. Rock”, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and some of the others– why not, they are some of the most recognisable songs ever made? But I’ll say it right now, that “Roll Over You” from the latest record is just as good and when he sneers “we fucking despise you,” if he means you, you best run for cover.
It ends with a new studio song. “Prove Me Wrong” is more of the same and a hefty middle finger to the doubters. But this is a celebration of metal, first and foremost, but a career too, and an unapologetic statement.
I listened to an interview with Snider the other week on Mitch Lafon’s podcast, where he said being a frontman was hard and he wasn’t doing it when he was 80. That’s up to him, but all I’ll say is he owned that Staffordshire field last August and he is a force here. The last words of my review last year seem apt: “And Dee Snider is [artist] of the day by quite some distance.”
Metal is in his blood, and being a showman is in his heart.