It has been ten years since the last time I saw W.A.S.P. in concert. Coincidentally, that same UK tour was to promote the 15th anniversary of the Crimson Idol album, featuring the entire record being played live in concert. Now in 2017 it is the 25th anniversary and W.A.S.P. are back with the same album, now in a bigger venue.
I have never seen W.A.S.P. in a bigger venue than Glasgow’s The Garage. A tiny little place that really did not let the band expand the size of their crowd. Now that the group are in the considerably bigger 02 ABC, more people have had the chance to come see the band in concert. According to the related Facebook pages, the venue was either borderline or a straight up sell out. As a long time fan, it is great to see W.A.S.P. finally get the live recognition they deserve.
The support of the night came from the band The Cruel Knives. Due to the terrible name, no one had high hopes for these guys. Thankfully, we were all wrong and the group put on a great sounding performance. The set was littered wall to wall with great riffs, solid drumming and some real nice clean lead vocals. I really enjoyed their set and would have been happy to hear more from them (to a point). I couldn’t help but feel that the band needed a second guitarist, someone to balance the heavy riffs with some equally catchy melody. The music was hard hitting and full of potential, but as it was, I felt it was a little one dimensional and could get old had they been given a longer set.
After The Cruel Knives finished their set, the crowd had to wait near an hour before W.A.S.P. hit the stage. This delay really killed the momentum set up by the support band. These guys got the crowd fired up and having the headliner come on shortly after would have made for an even better night. Sadly, the crowd was given a little too much time to flick through their Facebook messages and forget everything they had just enjoyed.
Thankfully when W.A.S.P. hit the stage, we were treated to a simple but very entertaining set. The lights lowered, a suitably atmospheric red glow came over the set and Blackie Lawless himself marched onto the stage like a cross dressing giant with his white tassel boots, tights, long black hair and make up, looking straight out of The Last Command despite being an impressive 61 years old. Much like the previous Crimson Idol tour, the band played the record from the opening The Titanic Overture to the intense but suitable closer, The Great Misconceptions of Me.
The band were on very fine form going from one track to the other without missing a beat. Mike Duda’s bass playing worked very well alongside the bands drummer, Aguiles Priester, the newest member of the band. Who deserves all the credit in the world for the way he played these songs on that stage. Any drummer could tell you that the style on The Crimson Idol not only needs a lot of stamina but some serious co-ordination and I feel that he handled it better than the previous drummer did on the last anniversary tour. The ever reliable Doug Blair did his usual riffs and licks whilst throwing in some mouth watering lead guitar playing. It is always a pleasure watching him do his thing on stage.
What I liked about this album performance is the use of screens to put across The Crimson Idol film. Some people might have found it a little bit pretentious but as someone who enjoys the overall story for the album, it was quite hard to keep my eye off the intense visual themes and I thought it added a nice little extra quality to the live show. Particularly the more moving parts of the albums concept when Jonathan commits suicide by hanging with a guitar string. The fact that they also used these screens to play music videos during the encore was quite fun.
Talking of the encore, the band sadly only played four songs. But it was a good choice of songs from the cover version The Real Me, LO.V.E. Machine, the latest album title track Golgotha and the opening track from their debut album, I Wanna Be Somebody. As good as the song choice was, the crowd were ready to go for more and I really do feel that W.A.S.P. could have played for another twenty minutes with great success with the crowd. But that would be a little selfish and what we got was good enough for me.
With a fully packed out venue, it is safe to say that W.A.S.P. went down extremely well last night at the Glasgow 02 ABC. The crowd sang a long with a lot of the songs, and very loudly I might add. The chorus they added to The Idol and Hold Onto My Heart was especially impressive as I have never heard a W.A.S.P. crowd sing so loudly. For the asking ticket price, this show was an absolute steal and judging from the after reactions, I doubt many would disagree with that opinion. It was great to see W.A.S.P. finally play a bigger venue and hopefully it is a sign that they’re finally getting the recognition they deserve, not just as a live show but as a band in general.