Los Angeles, 1982. Blackie Lawless brings to life W.A.S.P. (which, by the way, does NOT mean “we are sexual perverts”; it’s simply the name of the insect with periods between the letters, with the intent of making you wonder about its meaning).
London, 2012. W.A.S.P. kick off their 30 Years Of Thunder World Tour. A tour that would hit Portugal one month and a half later, a country where they’d last played in 15 years before.
It was around 10 p.m. when the waiting was over. It was probably the most original intro I’ve ever heard: excerpts of several W.A.S.P. hits, with a siren wailing along. I’m not sure if everybody heard it properly, as the crowd exploded in roars. Roars that would double as the band got on stage – Blackie in last – and then be replaced by the lyrics to “On Your Knees”.
“The Torture Never Stops” and THE WHO cover “The Real Me” followed suit, in non-stop mode, engaging in one another as if they were one song only, not three. Blackie then spoke to the audience, saying that all he needed was his love machine. And after that, that he’s been a wild child while growing up.
Things calmed down a little with a two-ballad medley composed by the first half of “Sleeping (In The Fire)” and the second half of “Forever Free”. The level of emotion is indescribable.
When the show started, there was a backdrop and two sidedrops with the 30-year skull logo. They were removed at the beginning of “The Real Me”, revealing a videowall behind each one that had been showing the official videos of the songs ever since (a live performance in the case of “Sleeping (In The Fire)”). Now, it showed the footage of a Martin Luther King speech, as the intro for “The Headless Children”.
Blackie would then text our vocal skills in “I Wanna Be Somebody”. He divided the crowd in two and, of course, he wasn’t satisfied with the first half that screamed (are they ever?). That part of the crowd wanted to prove they could do better but “no no no. You had your chance”. But eventually both parts would try out a couple of times more, and then all together, making the floor tremble. Blackie was trying to keep a serious badass face, but one could see how pleased he was.
The first part of the concert was over, but there was no intermission announcing so. Just the first chords of “The Titanic Overture” and images of “Jonathan Aaron Steel” to let us know that “The Crimson Idol set” had begun. Almost half an hour dedicated to this album not only because it’s an icon in W.A.S.P. career but also because it has its own anniversary going on – its 20th.
A medley of “Invisible Boy”, “I Am One” and “The Gypsy Meets The Boy” and then THE song – “The Idol”. 20 years later it still sends chills down my spine.
The set ended with “The Great Misconceptions Of Me”. If you never held the album in you hands, you probably don’t know the back cover of it. It has a mirror with Blackie reflected in it, and then it’s surrounded by candles and red roses, some Tarot cards, a big cross and a red B.C. Rich guitar – a memorial. In the mirror you can read “Jonathan lives here” in red letters. So when “The Great Misconceptions Of Me” came to an end, and with it “The Crimson Idol set”, the videowalls read “Jonathan lives here. Still!”
A commercial for “This Is Spinal Tap” was a kind of intermission before the last part started with a drum solo. And after we were introduced to Mike Dupke, we got to know Elvis, the most expensive mic stand in the world ($ 10.000,00). Blackie said it was designed by Disney, because “there’s this funny thing about Disney – they can do whatever you want, as long as you have the money for it”. And speaking about money, it was time for “Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)”. A song where Blackie self-censored the lyrics (“I’m a lying motherfucker” became “I’m a liar”) for the same reason he stopped playing “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)” – his reborn Christian beliefs.
During “Heaven’s Hung In Black”, the most recent song played that night (even though the band’s released an album after “Dominator”), the videowalls showed images of the American Civil War and we learnt that such title was taken from Abraham Lincoln‘s speech, regarding the 50.000 fallen in the Battle of Gettysburg.
Blackie aknowledged the “long long time” that they haven’t played in Portugal and so he really wanted to thank us for all the support in these 30 years. “And before we go, I just have one thing to say: I’M BLIND IN TEXAS!”.
Me, I have one think to say too: BRILLIANT! It was like a best-of played live. Of course I still think they should have played “Inside The Electric Circus” instead of “The Real Me”, but Pete Townshend is Blackie‘s “mentor”, so I understand why he had to play it. Nevertheless, this was a concert of a lifetime.