W.A.S.P." gig at the London Astoria, where they were planning to play the whole of the album live for the first time, on its fifteenth anniversary." />
An Evening with W.A.S.P.
W.A.S.P. at the London Astoria, 2nd November 2007
by: Kostas Sarampalis
It is funny how the first bands you loved stay with you forever. "I Wanna Be Somebody" was one of the first metal songs I heard when I was a kid. Even though I did not explore W.A.S.P. then and had only heard a handful of their songs, a few years back I discovered _The Crimson Idol_ and fell in love with it: the music, the concept, the emotion and the sheer power of Blackie's awesome vocals. Since then, I explored their full catalogue and found several other gems in their discography, allowing them to become my favorite choice when I want to listen to something to lift my spirits when life takes its toll.

With a fantastic new album in the form of _Dominator_, W.A.S.P. continue at full strength to forge a career that has been going for almost two decades. Yet _The Crimson Idol_ still stands as my favorite piece of their output, and it was with a lot of excitement that I accepted the invitation to attend the "An Evening With W.A.S.P." gig at the London Astoria, where they were planning to play the whole of the album live for the first time, on its fifteenth anniversary.

Opening up for W.A.S.P. were House of Games, a rather young Estonian metal band with a sort of classic heavy metal with a hint of thrash sound. Unfortunately, they were plagued by technical issues in the form of the vocals not being audible. This persisted for two whole songs, before anyone realised it and did something to resolve it. After that, the band continued their short set with five or so more songs. They were interesting, with good sound and a couple of songs that drew my attention, but nothing to write home about. Then again, all I wanted was to sing lyrics from "The Invisible Boy". Nevertheless, there was some good drumming and a few nice solos excibited by the band and they did keep the audience entertained for the main event.

After a short break, W.A.S.P. were announced and I realised that the Astoria was full. Not packed, but comfortably full and everyone seemed eager for the event. As the band walked on the stage one by one, I could not help but smirk with some sort of excitement. Without any opening words, Blackie began with "The Titanic Overture". Three large screens would offer visual support for the duration of the album's material, showing extracts from video clips which were intended to become a full movie when the album was first released, a plan that never materialised. On to "The Invisible Boy" and the crowd started warming up. With a somewhat static Blackie, the stage was energised by Mike Duda's jumping about and the remarkably talented Doug Blair, whose very infectious and wholehearted smile was only rivalled by his tremendous skill with his dual guitar. The guy can shred.

I guess it is somehow difficult for me to be completely subjective of their performance, since I absolutely adore this album. Song after song, the whole of _The Crimson Idol_ was played live for the first time since its conception. "Arena of Pleasure" and "Chainsaw Charlie" were crowd favorites, people sang and chanted in "I Am One" and the band wrapped up the first (and main) part of the gig with a crushing "The Great Misconceptions of Me". What was missing was some sort of atmosphere enhancement with lighting, but that would probably interfere with the TV screens, so they simply kept the lighting low and moody.

After another short break, W.A.S.P. returned on stage for what was essentially an extended encore. Starting off with the brilliant "L.O.V.E. Machine", the band tried to up the energy levels a bit, with more light effects helping along the rest of the encore. "Wild Child" made an appearance as well, but surprisingly the only song in their list from their new album was "Take Me Up" which is a good one, but probably not the best of the bunch. Closing with what I think was "I Don't Need No Doctor" from _Inside The Electric Circus_, a mere four songs left most people rather dissappointed with the duration of the gig.

The short set list, together with a rather obvious lack of energy from (mainly) Blackie were probably the main two issues I had with the gig. His known recent health issues are a factor in it obviously, so personally I did not care much about the lack of enthusiasm. The sound was great, especially the drums that came down thundering at points. There were some pre recorded sounds dubbed on top of several songs I think, but that is understandable since there were just the four of them on stage, so keys and effects had to be added behind the scenes.

So, fifteen years after the release of _The Crimson Idol_ it still sounds fresh and, might I add, relevant in today's scene. Blackie and co. are not planning to tour again any time soon, so this gig was probably their last one in London for a while. And although there were a few issues as mentioned earlier, I would go again the following evening if they played again. All I need is my love machine, and I am good to go!

(article submitted 21/11/2007)

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