16 years of listening to W.A.S.P. I would consider myself a
fan. So why is this the first time that I have been to see them
live? I still can't answer that question. All I do know is that
this experience was quite a nerving one. I actually felt like
a virgin to this somewhat of a mecca known as W.A.S.P. It's
like when you anticipate actually breaking your true virginity
as a person with someone else. You hear all of the rumors, the
horror stories of how it really is, and the good stories of
how it really is. It's all based on each person's individual
opinion. It confuses you. You don't know what to really expect.
You want it to be great, but then you think about what you've
heard. The negative things, they scare you. Then you think about
some of the good things and before you know it, you're going
out of your mind with anticipation!
was when I decided that I was going to have to experience it
myself. I would take the good and the bad and go with it. I
had to. It had been long enough. It was my time to experience
what I had anticipated for 16 years. Rumors or not. Painful
or not. I was going for it! As I approached the entrance to
the theatre I could see the faces of so many eager fans pushing
through the doors. Waving their tickets in the faces of the
security guards. I could see it, they were all experienced.
They had been with W.A.S.P. before. But I dared not ask how
the experience was. I needed this experience for myself. I was
nervous. What? Why? Again, I can't answer that question. But
it felt good, that rush of adrenaline that surges through your
body right before you think something good is about to happen.
I needed it. I was ready.
I entered the theatre I could feel that vibration that is so
distinctive. Vibration? So soon? Yes, the thundering of the
amplifiers from the stage were rumbling through the venue. I
went to see who it was. It was Fifi Larue, the first band of
"the night" that was going to be one to remember.
Fifi Larue was
interesting. Dressed out in lavishly outrageous
costumes. A stage set that resembled that of a graveyard. So
many stage props and acted out scenarios that it was difficult
for anyone to look away for one moment in fear of missing something
good, I think. Actually, they were quite entertaining. Next
up was Pissing Razors. Oh yeah, that band that's been in Metal
Edge Magazine a few times! That was about all I knew about them.
Pretty hard core Pantera-like sound. The crowd watched. They
seemed to enjoy it. But there really was no entertainment value
as far as visual stimuli. Kind of hard for a band like Pissing
Razors that just likes to get out and play on stage to be sandwiched
between two very theatrical groups. Pissing Razors did sound
good though. Would have been kind of cool to see a beheaded
blow-up doll or two in their set. Oh wait, that was Fifi Larue.
the moment I had been waiting for. Was I beginning to have second
thoughts? Could I actually go through with it? Would anyone
know I was a virgin? Did I look like a virgin? I felt insecure.
I wanted to do everything right. I wanted W.A.S.P. to do everything
right. I wanted it to be perfect. As I began to anticipate what
was about to happen more and more
.out went the lights!
There was no turning back. It was about to happen. I had no
choice but to let it happen. What was I so worried about? If
it was going to be painful, like so many people had said, I
was hoping for a quick ending. If it was going to be great,
like so many people had said, I knew that I would never want
to come down from that place of higher elevation that I was
hoping it would take me.
intro was dark. No one on stage. Only the intro track to Helldorado.
"Well, I guess you didn't
" Then the screaming
sound of the demonic vehicle engine followed by the thundering
crash. That was it
W.A.S.P. had appeared on stage! The
music was so alive! Blackie, Mike and Darrell strumming their
guitars in alignment with one another, their backs to the crowd
facing Stet behind his drum set. This was going to be good!
I was already starting to relax! As the band turned to face
the crowd the place came unglued!
immediately took a lit torch and set the W.A.S.P. sign in front
of Stet's drum set ablaze! Talk about a freak show with the
crowd response! It was W.A.S.P. in their true original form.
Ahh, the good ol' days! The sign went out almost as quickly
as it went up. I'm sure that safety issues were behind the reasoning
for this. No need to repeat any Michael Jackson Pepsi commercials
here. Helldorado led into Electric Circus and Electric Circus
led into Chainsaw Charlie ( one of my favorites as well as the
crowd's judging by their response). These three songs combined
have been commonly referred to as "the medley" on
restrictions were tight. Press photographers were only allowed
to shoot during "the medley" and I Wanna Be Somebody
at the end of the show. I did my best to get the shots that
I could. But I was okay with that. It gave me some time to pace
myself through my new found experience. I was doing okay. It
wasn't half as bad as some people had said. Let It Roar was
next. Yes, this was the only song off of Unholy Terror that
was included in the set list. Don't ask why. It just was. People
were into it. I know! I know! It would have been nice to see
the people have the opportunity to be into some more of the
songs off of that incredible release. But hey, I was still trying
to deal with the fact that I was being de-virginized! They could
have played Old MacDonald for all I cared, I was concentrating
on the rhythm!
Wild Child. This was the first W.A.S.P. song that I had heard
when I was 14 years old. This is the song that started it all
for me. So I leaned back against the wall and soaked it all
in. I needed a breather, and this was the perfect song to give
me that chance to regain myself as the rest of the crowd was
going wild (no pun intended) singing along to every word. Mike
Duda carried most of the high notes in this song. Even though
we all have been counseled on the fact that Darrell Roberts
can sing, and believe me he can, I still think that Mike Duda
is the strength behind the backing vocals in this band. And
let's not forget that Stet does a pretty damn good job at backing
vocals too! L.O.V.E. Machine followed quickly behind Wild Child.
This is a cult classic W.A.S.P. song. If the crowd doesn't sing
along to this one at every show, then you are definitely not
in Kansas anymore! Blackie didn't even need to sing the chorus.
The crowd had it nailed.
we talk about sex now? ( Not that I have been making any references
to it at any time throughout this review). What the hell! Let's
talk! Or better yet, who talks about sex anymore? Let's get
right to it! You know what song is next
Animal (F*ck Like
A Beast). What else would there be? Can you say
the crowd goes wild!" This time Blackie did not sing the
the crowd did. Since the tour is now over, I guess
I don't have to "ruin" what goes on at the end of
this song. So I'm going to tell you. Blackie straps on a rather
large cod piece and stands before the crowd. Okay, I'm getting
a little bit nervous now. The night is not over yet, so I'm
still considering myself a virgin, okay? Now, anytime a man
over 6 ft. tall straps on something like that in front of a
virgin, it creates the anxiety bugs all over again. "Is
this going to hurt?" I thought. Yep! Literally! Before
I could realize what was going to happen, sparks shot out of
this thing between Blackie's legs about 10 ft. off of the stage!
If you were close enough you could feel the burn of the sparks
bouncing off of your skin! Blackie had to shield his own face
with his guitar to protect himself! Was that supposed to be
a simulated orgasm? If it was, I was in for a long night!
I was ready for a drink. Or at least a lubricant! That was scary!
But you know what? I kind of liked it. Okay, time for me to
be let down a little easy. Thank God! I was beginning to get
nervous all over again. Strap-ons and shooting sparks? What
was next? Sleeping (In The Fire). If there ever was a W.A.S.P.
song that I could pick as my favorite one live, this was the
one. But not just any version. The Lyceum version, 1984. Chris
Holmes and Randy Piper played that solo off of one another back
and forth like there was no end in sight! How could that be
duplicated? Especially with a new guitarist fresh off the line?
Enter Darrell Roberts. He had to carry this solo by himself.
There were no other guitarist standing opposite him on stage
to volley riffs. Darrell was it. He was all alone. Could he
do it? Would the crowd appeal to it? I must say, I started to
feel that stinging surge of anticipation again. I winced at
the start of his solo because I thought that I would be disappointed
and critical. Really. Boy was I surprised! He did it! All alone!
Now granted, it was no Lyceum by my terms. Come on, I have to
remain somewhat prejudice with my favorite live guitar solo.
But Darrell played a damn good solo! He dawned the stage all
by himself. A bit of his own time to do his own thing was granted
to him by the rest of the band. Bravo, Darrell. You did well.
comes the best part of the show. ( This of course is my opinion).
My Tortured Eyes. That brilliant piece from KFD. This was Blackie's
turn to shine
literally. Imagine the stage going completely
black. The only light is on Blackie. He climbs to the top of
his creature mic stand and begins to sing the song slow and
deep. The rest of the band remains on stage playing the music
to the song behind Blackie's vocals. The music they play together
is strong and tight. They carry the notes to the song eerily
into a monsterous crescendo that sends chills up and down your
spine. All you can see is the outlines of their shadows as they
move to the music that they are creating before the crowd. Captivating.
crowd. They stand in awe. They are mesmerized by the presence
of the mystery that is now before their very eyes. They sense
that something is about to happen. But what? The light that
shines on Blackie is a black one. Made to enhance the colors
that it captures within. Blackie begins to become more and more
physically involved in the words to this song. As he starts
to squirm atop the creature mic he is nestled on he begins to
glow. Glow? Yeah, very visually intense. He smears a glowing
paint all over his body, slowly and evenly until every part
of his skin is reflecting the black light to create the most
incredible sight. As Blackie continues the song he slowly climbs
down from the creature mic and begins to crawl across the stage
toward the stunned faces in the crowd. As he nears the edge
of the stage two more black lights shine upon him. Only these
lights are much more intense. They come from the surface of
the stage and create a glowing effect that is 10x that of the
effect that was given atop the creature mic. Then it was over.
The stage went black again. Totally black.
that it? Now that Blackie was covered in paint, was the show
over? Not at all. Now I'm not a big fan of cover tunes. I never
have liked the idea of trying to readjust my likings to a song
that already exists by listening to it being done by another
band. Most of the time it is usually a bit "off".
It should be. It's a cover! That still doesn't mean I have to
like it. The Real Me was next. This is a cover tune. By you
know Who! I can't say that I enjoyed it. Again, I'm not a fan
of cover tunes. The song was done well by the band live. The
crowd seemed to enjoy it. I just couldn't seem to find a comfortable
spot within myself to get into the song. Is that wrong of me?
If it is, I'm sorry. Remember, I just don't like covers. It
has nothing to do with the band personally.
I will say this. My negative attitude (if you will) toward The
Real Me was lifted a bit when Blackie's creature mic shot those
frightening hellacious sparks out of the handle bars horizontally
across both sides of the stage about 10-15 ft! That was unreal!
I got sparked again, but it was worth it. I was beginning to
get used to it. Photo time! Once again it was time to grab as
many shots as I could during the next song that allowed photography.
Why during the next song? I Wanna Be Somebody, that's why. Blood,
water, and towels. Lots of all three! You know the song. So
did the entire crowd! It was like sitting around a camp fire
during a sing-a-long! Of course, Blackie teased the crowd with
the skull. Climbed up on his creature mic and drank away! I
had to duck for fear of my camera turning from black to red.
Instead, I did. Along with many others near the front. Then
came the water, Blackie generously doused the crowd with the
cool liquid after receiving their blood bath. At least he was
thoughtful enough to toss out a couple of towels. What about
the skull? Yeah, that went too. Talk about a frenzy of maniacs
trying to get that thing as it sailed over the crowd!
the band was gone. Was I still a virgin? Could I go home and
brag to all of my friends now? Not quite. There was still one
more song. An encore. Yes, an encore! After the crowd chanted
"W.A.S.P! W.A.S.P! W.A.S.P! W.A.S.P!" over and over
again, they returned to grace the stage. Mike Duda kindly pulled
a poster off of one of the speaker stacks that had been hanging
up all night throughout the show. It was a poster of Mr. Loser
Bin Laden that stated "Wanted
.Dead!" Mike held
the poster above the crowd at the edge of the stage and awaited
their response. After a sea of booing the crowd started to chant
in unison "F*ck You! F*ck You! F*ck You! F*ck You!"
I must say, it was beautiful. Then Mike let the crowd have their
way with the poster
you can use your imagination here.
the final song. The big finale! Blind In Texas! A good crowd
pleaser. Everyone seems to love this song. Is it considered
the anthem of W.A.S.P? Some do say. I don't know. Me personally,
I don't think it is. But it's a good song. Like I said, it always
gets the crowd going. And they were going! Someone asked the
question a while ago about who was going to fill the live speaking
part in the middle of the song where Chris Holmes always used
to step in and say "Hey dude
.let's party!" For
this evening the choice was obvious! The crowd. But wait, it's
not what you may think. The music stopped and Blackie rested
his arms across the creature mic. He stared out over the crowd.
He just stared. No movement. He just stood there and stared.
crowd knew what was coming next, or what should have been coming
next. But they awaited Blackie's signal. They knew that he was
going to have to lead them into what was to come. As Blackie
started to draw in a deep breath he began the chant that drove
the crowd into oblivion! "U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!"
Blackie then leaned into the creature mic and yelled "C'mon,
Stet!" Hey, don't ever count the drummer out of anything!
Especially not this one! Upon Blackie's command Stet brought
the beat strong, hard and loud! That beat carried the crowd
through the patriotic chanting fest! Could they be stopped?
No way! Talk about unity! It was probably the highlight of the
night emotionally for everyone. Very classy for W.A.S.P. to
take the time to include this moment into their show. Hats off!
finished the song with a bang! And yes, that was it. No more.
It was over. I was no longer a virgin. How did I feel? Any different?
Hell yes! I felt great! Even though I found some blood in places
that made me wonder, I was okay. But from what I hear, blood
is normal with this kind of an experience, right? I made it
through. Even with all of the negative things that I had heard
from some people about this first time experience that I was
going to have. I was glad to say that it was all positive in
my eyes! It didn't even hurt a little. It felt good. Real good.
It was everything that I thought it was going to be. But hey,
W.A.S.P. are veterans, right? They should know what they are
doing. And trust me, they did!
even though he scared me a bit with that strap-on at first,
did alright throughout the night. Mike Duda. He is a character!
Talk about energy! That guy can go all night, and did! Back
and forth across the stage. I don't think he ever stopped moving
once! Amazing. Darrell Roberts. The new kid on the block. A
bit shy at first, but he came around and settled into the groove.
He'll be a killer, you wait and see. Stet Howland. Talk about
a force of power to be reckoned with! I like a little force
every once in a while. C'mon, who doesn't? This man is the backbone
of that band. He is an amazing drummer with intense power and
to say, I was a bit winded after my experience. Most people
have a smoke after such an exhilarating experience. So naturally,
I was prepared with a fresh Cojimar cigar to top off my evening
with W.A.S.P. It was the perfect ending to an almost perfect
evening (remember, I did gripe about a few things). I looked
forward to going home and catching up on some much needed R&R.
But first, I wanted clear things up about how some people have
been saying that certain people don't like to talk after an
experience such as this. W.A.S.P. were kind enough to come out
and talk to everyone who stayed around. I know, sometimes this
doesn't always seem to happen. But on this night it did. I'm
very glad that I did what I did. It was well worth it. And yes,
I would gladly do it again!
truly and un-virginley,
number two. I'm thinking I'm pretty cool now. I'm no longer
a virgin to W.A.S.P. live. I have it all down. I know what to
expect. I've "been there and done that"! Not exactly.
This night was a little bit different than the night before.
It was better! Immediately the atmosphere at the House of Blues
set a much different tone and vibe to the night. The venue was
just a bit more "alive". After all, this was Hollywood!
W.A.S.P. was home! If you have ever been to Hollywood you would
understand the "vibe" that it gives off. It's instant.
It feels like nothing else. It's just plain Hollywood. The crowd
was packed into this legendary hot spot on the infamous Sunset
Strip like Cajun sardines. Everywhere you looked you saw old
school fans and new fans alike! Some of the old school fans
where wearing old classic W.A.S.P. t-shirts that were so worn
down that the black coloring had turned to light gray with partial
see-thru holes. Awesome!
were everywhere. Carl the t-shirt guy was tossing out t-shirts
left and right (for the right price, of course). The t-shirts
were selling quite well. The only shirt that they were sold
out of was the Animal
.F*ck Like A Beast print. Carlos
said that the Animal
.t-shirt always sells out on every
tour. Hmmm. I wonder why? I thought about some of those old
school fans in the crowd with their crippled t-shirts and wondered
if they would be buying some new ones before the end of the
night. Naaaah! Those old faded rock tees are some of the most
prized possessions that a true rocker can have!
not sure if there was a band that played prior to Pissing Razors.
I arrived a bit late. Pissing Razors definitely had returned
with W.A.S.P. to bring the house down with that raw super strength
metal. Again, they sounded pretty good. More people seemed to
be into them at The House of Blues than at The Galaxy Theatre
the night before in Orange County. Then came that awful wait
that you have to suffer through between bands. Trying to find
your place in the crowd. Thinking you've found the perfect one
when all of a sudden you realize it sucks and you try quickly
to move to a better place! This usually happens a lot. W.A.S.P.
was up next! Believe it or not, the wait was not that bad. I
had a pretty good spot on the V.I.P. balcony for photos. The
stage was pretty much ready to go. Just some minor sound checking
adjustments and the show was ready to go on!
opened the show the same in Hollywood as they did in Santa Ana.
However, it was much better! I'll tell you why. Stage size,
lighting, and sound! All three of these elements at The House
of Blues were a lot more powerful with better quality than they
were the night before in Santa Ana. These things can make a
huge difference in a show. Especially in photography. My photo
quality was a lot better with the shots that I took at The House
of Blues simply because the lighting gave a more colorful effect
to the pictures. The images looked more like "live"
shots. I shot some pics from the balcony and from the stage.
Pretty good angles. Some of the photos at The Galaxy Theatre
looked like they were taken inside of a dark garage. Still good
photos. Just not as colorful as I would have liked.
crowd. Remember, this was Hollywood. This crowd was very energized!
So was the band! Mike Duda was in his true original form. Wild
and crazy! And yes, he did flip off the crowd when he first
walked out on stage. He does this at every show. It's his "hello"
I guess. It was nothing that the crowd took seriously. They
loved it! They got pumped! Blackie was his himself. Making eye
contact and mouthing words to the crowd so fast that I could
not make out what he was saying. It was nothing negative. It
was just him talking back to the crowd as they gave W.A.S.P.
their undivided attention. Darrell Roberts was in good form.
Very energetic, yet disciplined in his demeanor. You could see
he was relaxing more and more with W.A.S.P. on stage. Stet Howland.
Always powerful and always energetic, much like Mike. Only Stet
can't get up and run around on stage. He focuses all of his
energy into his drumming. Can't you tell?
sound. Very, very good. All of the songs sounded great! There
was however, one little problem. Stet sings backing vocals just
like Mike and Darrell. He has a great voice with the ability
to carry some of the higher notes in most of the songs live.
Most of the time he uses a head-set mic to sing with. For some
reason his head-set did not want to stay on. Stet is pretty
physical behind the drum set. He plays with a lot of power.
You might think that it is his strength and powerful movements
that would cause his head-set to keep falling off. Not really.
It should stay on. It has stayed on
many times in the past
with his playing style. Sometimes I guess these things just
happen. Lorenzo, the stage/production manager was doing everything
in his power to keep Stet's head-set on. One moment it would
stay and the next it would fall off. Stet was not amused to
say the least. But the show went on!. Stet kept playing throughout
the whole drama of the "head-set" incident and never
once missed a beat.
The set list in Hollywood was the same as that in Santa Ana
with the exception of one omitted song
I Wanna Be Somebody.
I don't know why this was not included in the set list. I was
expecting to shoot some more film during this song and was disappointed
when it was not included. What about the blood? It was included
in the encore with Blind In Texas. Again, I don't know why the
sudden change of plan, but oh well. The show was still as spectacular
in Hollywood as it was in Santa Ana. I still thought that the
best part of the show was My Tortured Eyes. There was no poster
of Loser Bin Laden this time (the one the night before had been
turned into confetti by the crowd). There were however, two
flag posters hanging from the front of Stet's drum set that
read "United We Stand". Mike took one of these posters
and held it above his head at the end of the show and walked
across the stage. Of course the crowd went nuts with patriotism!
"U.S.A! U.S.A!" chant was still included in the middle
of Blind In Texas. This was once again a big moment of unity
for everyone who had been affected by our Nation's tragedy.
The show ended almost as quickly as it started. Time flies when
you having fun! Again the band came out to greet all of their
guests after the show. However, security was a lot more restricted
in Hollywood than it was in Santa Ana! If you didn't have a
you didn't have a chance!
were a lot of guests for the after show party. Even Paul Gargano,
Senior Editor for Metal Edge Magazine was there gossiping with
the likes of a lot of people I didn't even recognize. Most of
the guests were friends of the band with a few "biz"
buds thrown in for fun. I had the opportunity to meet a fascinating
and very nice man
..the one and only master-mind who was
responsible for designing and building Blackie's creature mic
stand! Let's talk about that mic stand for a second. I can't
begin to tell you how many horror stories I had heard from the
crew re: this thing! Evidently this mci stand has almost taken
the lives of several people who are responsible for it on a
daily basis. Crew members had complained of dozens of pairs
of pants and shirts being ripped apart by this thing. Remember
Carl the t-shirt guy? He showed me a bloody scar that ran from
his naval all the way up to his arm pit from this creature mic
"attacking" him one night. Ahh, the stories that the
road can tell!
back stage/V.I.P. area of The House of Blues was beautiful.
It's a place called The Foundation Room. Very elegant. The after
show lasted until everyone was kicked out around 2:00 a.m. Everyone
including the band! It was a very interesting evening with lots
of entertaining values from start to finish. It's sad to think
that the Unholy Terror Tour is now over. No more shows, at least
not for now. I would however, like to pay a bit of gratitude
to those people who are rarely mentioned on a tour
crew! They are the ones that keep the wheels turning. They make
it all happen and keep happening! I'd like to tip my hat to
Carl Acampora for bustin' out those "Teeeeeeeee Shiiiiiiiiirts!!!!"
and working hard under many hats as a guitar tech and wardrobe
manager. You're very cool, Carl! Who could forget Lorenzo "Zo"
Del Vecio the Production Manager. Hell, he looked like the "everything"
manager to me! Lorenzo worked his butt off constantly from start
to finish every night! Great guy, too! Thanks for the guitar
pics, Zo! And last but not least
.Dan Biechele theTour
Manager. Talk about a rough job! I know exactly what that man
has to go through on a daily basis! Big hats off to you Dan!
You are one hard working man! You deserve every one of those
torpedo cigars my friend
enjoy! And to the rest of the
crew that was not mentioned, you all did a fantastic job! I'd
also like to take a moment to thank everyone at Chipster Entertainment.
Especially Jen and Bret for being so helpful and considerate
in what you do. Keep it up!
closing. There has been a lot of controversy about the Unholy
Terror Tour with many W.A.S.P. fans. Lots of people have voiced
complaints about the choice of songs in the set lists. Many
people wanted to hear more of the new material. After all, this
was called the Unholy Terror Tour, right? Right. But there are
reasons I am sure for why the songs that were chosen were placed
on the tour. Maybe there will be more songs from Unholy Terror
on the next round. There have also been complaints (many complaints)
about Blackie not socializing with the fans enough after the
shows. Many people have asked the question as to why he chooses
not to be as social as some of the other members. Who knows
why? Some people have accused Blackie of not appreciating his
fans because of this. Do you think he would still be out there
doing what he has been doing for decades if he didn't appreciate
and care about his fans? Think about that. I think he cares.
about Mike Duda flipping off the crowd and spitting all over
everyone? This one has been brewing wrong with a lot of people
for the most of the tour. Again, I will say that I think it
is just Mike's way of being Mike. This is rock and roll! Are
you really that surprised when you see someone giving you the
finger and spitting at a gritty rock and roll show? No matter
if it's someone on stage or someone in the crowd. Especially
when it's all in a good night's fun? Hell, I can't tell you
how many times Al Jourgensen (Ministry) spit all over me in
the pit at the Lollapallooza II show in Irvine, California years
ago! I didn't get upset. It was expected. Moving right along
us not forget Chris Holmes. The W.A.S.P. Nation family took
a pretty hard hit when we lost this long time friend. But I
think we have gained someone real promising in Darrell Roberts.
Give him a chance. And let's not forget Stet. I don't think
that I have read or heard one negative thing about him at all
throughout this entire tour! Many people have had nothing but
great things to say about his sense of humor and willingness
to spend true quality time with the fans before and after the
shows! How can you top that?
folks, that seems to be about it for the reviews of my experiences
with W.A.S.P. I hope I was able to give some visual insight
to those people who never had a chance to catch the band on
tour this time around. I hope that I didn't take up too much
of anyone's time having to read these novelistic reviews! I
told you I was going to be detailed! With all of the varying
opinions by the fans that have surfaced throughout this tour
both positive and negative, I believe for the most part that
everyone has had good times with good memories. Until next time