W.A.S.P. – The HMV Ritz, Manchester 27th October 2012

Somehow, W.A.S.P. have managed to bypass my musical journey. Possibly because of songs like “Animal” and their rather strong image of black hair, cod-pieces and scariness I think that I’ve managed to file this goup in the “rather too frightening for my delicate constitution” category. In fact, having recently been introduced to their back catalogue it is apparent that not only are they cut from a similar cloth to the likes Motley Crue (whom I adore) and having beaten the same early 80s Hollywood glammy path, W.A.S.P.’s music was clearly something that should have been a part of my musical education.

As I approached The Ritz, I wondered whether there would be many in the crowd for this “Thirty Years of Thunder” celebration show. It wouldn’t take long for me to find out as Blackie Lawless and the boys hit the stage to a venue packed with clearly long standing fans who sang and chanted along throughout the performance.

By billing the show as “Thirty Years of Thunder”, the W.A.S.P. plan for the show was clear. Blackie and company’s plan was to perform the show in three parts – each one representing a different stage of their career. This was quite an inspired idea, which would clearly fulfill the hopes of every member of the crowd. Part one consisted of a set of their classic songs and biggest hits. The second element was a cut down version of “The Crimson Idol” and the final section blending newer material with other great songs. For a newbie like me this was a brilliant introduction to the beast that is the W.A.S.P. back catalogue.

With a Who cover in the opening part of the set, some of Townshend’s influence on Blackie Lawless (as was evidenced with the “Crimson Idol” project) but it is clear that Blackie’s sense of theatre is clearly his own. Fantastic lights and three big screens that blended vintage videos perfectly with the live show and remind everyone of what a rock and roll show should be.

Roll on the next thirty years….and I want to be at the next show so that I can hear them play “Animal”.

Set List:

1.On Your Knees

2.The Torture Never Stops

3.The Real Me (The Who cover)

4.L.O.V.E. Machine

5.Hellion / I Don’t Need No Doctor / Scream Until You Like It

6.Wild Child

7.Sleeping (in the Fire) / Forever Free

8.The Headless Children

9.I Wanna Be Somebody

The Crimson Idol set

10.The Titanic Overture

11.The Crimson Idol Medley

12.The Idol Play Video

13.The Great Misconceptions of Me

Part three

14.Drum Solo

15.Chainsaw Charlie (Murders in the New Morgue)

16.Heaven’s Hung in Black

17.Blind in Texas


Review and photographs by David Wilson


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