Review by Chop and photos by Krish Mistry
With barely a couple of dozen tickets to sell on the day, a packed Wulfrun was a given. W.A.S.P were on tour to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of their first show at The Troubador, L.A., so expectation levels for their show were high. Were these levels achievable?, many mused as the house lights faded for the first time…
Sheffield’s Crimes Of Passion were the chosen touring buddies for the U.K. Three words sprung to mind as they took the stage – sword of Damocles. Whilst in time it will look great on their c.v. , opening on such a tour is a total no win. Partisan crowd, waiting for the headliners, with no real interest in anyone else. Tricky. To give Crimes Of Passion their due, they stuck to their task gamely, although perhaps they’d have worked better supporting DragonForce who played the night before. Unquestionably good musicians, and with a vocalist with a good range and power, they delivered forty minutes pitched somewhere between classic rock and power metal. Solid enough, just all very predictable, but they achieved what they were signed up to do and you can’t fault them for that.
After a protracted time in near darkness, the time-honoured searchlight flash from the stage heralded that it was time for the main event. Police sirens and red lights accompanied a greatest hits medley that was more than slightly familiar to anyone who’d seen W.A.S.P. at Bloodstock last year, or indeed Hard Rock Hell III in 2009. Enough of the nit-picking Chop, on with show!
As you’ll notice from the set list, W.A.S.P’s performance was effectively split into three acts and contained several medleys. Three large video screens displayed a mixture of archive footage (both official videos for singles and live performances) and story books for the middle act and selected songs throughout, and accompanied the efforts of the band well. Early on the sound wasn’t the best, vocals too low and kick drums booming, but this was rectified quickly enough. Act one lasted about forty minutes and seemed to be over in no time, highlighting what an admirable back catalogue the band possess and what a dynamic and compact quartet W.A.S.P are. The crowd – noticeably older in general to many a metal gig – loved it, and this initial trip down memory lane was an unequivocal success.
After a short break act two was introduced. On the ‘Thirty Years Of Thunder’ tour it was time for more anniversaries, twenty years since the release of The Crimson Idol. Entertaining as this section was for many in the crowd, to an equal number there was a sense of a loss of momentum, faultlessly and emotionally-charged as the material was delivered. Stylistically Queensryche’s Operation Mindcrime kept springing to mind. Perhaps evoking memories of another band’s crowning glory is not entirely what you’d want to achieve? To me, this section would have been far more appropriate at a one-off gig for members of the fan club, rather than showcased on a full tour. Plenty will disagree no doubt!
A Spinal Tap commercial was well received as the roadies scurried around to set up the closing section, most notably different by the addition of an impressively ornate mic stand/platform centre stage. After a well performed drum solo faster songs sandwiched the lengthy set piece ballad ‘Heaven’s Hung In Black’. A final crowd address apologising for a lack of encore preceded a raucous, crowd-uniting rendition of ‘Blind In Texas’, to complete a near two hour show.
Whilst not deviating too much from sets previously witnessed at recent festival performances, overall the show was a success. Whatever loss of momentum may have occurred was more than outweighed by the majority of W.A.S.P’s display. Thirty years on, they’re still more than capable of delivering the goods and I have no reason to doubt that while Blackie Lawless still has anything remotely resembling a desire to tour there will be plenty more still to come.
Set list part 1: On You Knees/ The Torture Never Stops/ The Real Me, L.O.V.E. Machine, Wild Child, Hellion/ I Don’t Need No Doctor/ Scream Until You Like It, Sleeping (In The Fire)/ Forever Free, The Headless Children, I Wanna Be Somebody.
Set List part 2: The Crimson Idol – The Titanic Overture, The Invisible Boy/ I Am One/ The Gypsy Meets The Boy, The Idol, The Great Misconceptions Of Me.
Set List part 3: Drum Solo, Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In the New Morgue), Heaven’s Hung In Black, Blind In Texas.
And you can see more shots from the show here: