Looking at Blackie Lawless in his thirtieth year of fronting W.A.S.P., it would be slightly forgivable to think the band is officially washed up. A man in the latter half of his mid-fifties still wearing eye liner, very unflatteringly tight get ups and his pre-emo hair sprayed do have all the hallmarks of a band that can’t move on. ….wait a minute, the person who writes those words should be shot!!
W.A.S.P. returned to Ireland tonight in spectacular form, bringing their much anticipated 1982 – 2012 Thirty year celebration tour to Dublin’s Vicar Street! A two hour, three part show that promised to dazzle, delight and rock your socks off, delivered everything a fan could ask for (no, no ‘Animal’ so stop wondering now). With a good two hours of hits and fan favourites to hammer out, the band wasted little time taking the stage and rocketing straight into ‘On Your Knee’s which sprang the audience to life. ‘The Torture Never Stops’, ‘The Real Me’, ‘ L.O.V.E. Machine’ all follow in quick succession with Blackie seemingly determined to prove W.A.S.P. have more than enough material to allow themselves to put some of their best right up front. The iconic ‘Wild Child’blasts through the PA with raw energy and nerve shattering vocals, fuelling the most pit that’s quickly expanding in the centre of the crowd.
Finally taking time to say hello, Blackie indulges in the famous “Irish hospitality’, even going so far as to attempt an Irish accent, as the band rattle on with a melody of fan favourites ‘Hellion, I Don’t Need No Doctor’ and ‘Scream Until You Like It’, pauing briefly before ‘Sleeping (In the Fire)’ and ‘Forever Free’. ‘The Headless Children’ and the classic ‘I Wanna Be Somebody’ are performed in full as the main set closers, ending amost an hour of intense, sing along hard rock. With that, band are off and the crowd settles in for one of several short films W.A.S.P. are playing between sets and encores on this tour. When the band return, they celebrate the 20th anniversary of ‘The Crimson Idol’ album with a mini set comprised of material from that album. ‘The Idol’ and ‘Misconceptions of Me’ receive the warmest greeting before another short intermission / short film.
With the audience now completely satisfied by the bands biggest hits and hardcore favourites, WASP have the easy job of finishing us off with some classic closers. Blackie takes the stage again, bandsaw arm bands shinning bright and recounts a tale where iconic W.A.S.P. guitarist Chris Holmes made the mistake of leaving change from $100 on a bar in Ireland after buying a drink. It seems poor Chris was unaware of an auld Irish tradition of using money left of the bar to buy drinks for the house – his security men saved him from likely beating when he tried to get it back. Thanking us for that experience, they kick off the encore. ‘Murders In The New Morgue (Chainsaw Charlie – \,,/)’ explodes out (sadly without the pyros some venues are getting on this tour) and sends the crowd into a frenzy. The sombre ‘Heaven’s Hung In Black’ gets the powerful performance it deserves before W.A.S.P. finish us off with the anthematic ‘Blind In Texas’. Thanking the crowd, the band leave the stage after delivering one of the best Irish performances of their career. No Elvis, no blood, no pyros and no Animal – but W.A.S.P. don’t need them. After thirty years in the business, Blackie has amassed more than enough material and stage presence to do away with cheap gimmicks and deliver a quality show based on his music alone. Long live W.A.S.P. – see you soon!