Thirty-three years and still going strong, W.A.S.P. are on the closing leg of their ten-date tour tonight in Glasgow. Early doors (I gather due to residential noise concerns and something which is now standard for the Academy) necessitated a 6:30pm door time. As such, there was no chance of me getting there in time to see The Treatment, and I feel this policy is going to seriously piss people off if they’re coming from much further afield than Glasgow’s immediate surrounds.
Venue issues aside, on to the main show. The lights went down at 7.45 and the roars went up as (after a very lengthy intro tape) Patrick Johansson took to the drums followed by Doug Blair and Mike Duda strolling onto stage. The biggest cheer was – obviously – reserved for last surviving founding member Blackie Lawless. Without wasting any more time, the band ploughed straight through the three opening songs: “On Your Knees”, “Inside the Electric Circus” and “The Real Me”.
That last one is probably the first W.A.S.P. song that really grabbed me (even though it’s a cover) and it doesn’t lose its impact even after all these years. The sound for the opening couple of tracks was a bit smushy, but settled down for the rest of the gig. In particular, Blackie’s vocals were crystal clear along with those of the other two strings-men. This was a good thing as Blackie Lawless has one of the most distinctive voices in metal, and it was in fine form this evening – as good today as it was 33 years ago. From the mournful to the high pitched screams, he could have been in the studio doing the final run on a recording such was the quality.
Backing vocals were good, too. It makes a change being able to hear them and given how common they are throughout W.A.S.P.’s back catalogue it really added the icing to tonight’s metallic cake.
The set list was varied, including plenty of classics and three new songs – “Last Runaway” (great song), “Miss You” (also a great song) and “Golgotha” (Mmmm… not bad). The new material was received well, but the obvious crowd interaction came from the classics. The first track to really get the crowd singing and waving their arms was “Chainsaw Charlie” which was a fair few songs into the gig.
By the time we got to the second encore of “Wild Child” and “I Wanna Be Somebody”, a group of guys near me (who were even older than I am) were bouncing around with their arms round one another.
All too soon, the gig ended. My only real complaint was that the band didn’t play long enough. With 1hr45 to play with, there were a couple of very long pauses between songs and encores. Despite the early 9:30pm curfew, I was outside and sat in my car a few minutes walk away before that deadline.
The overriding feeling, though, wasn’t one of disappointment – it was of seeing a great band throwing out some good tunes, as well as they ever did… and with some damn strong material still being produced.
Another couple of pictures from Gary are below. Click for larger on our Flickr page.
W.A.S.P.’s new album Golgotha is out on October 2nd.