Beast Of Babylon World Tour Europe
Review and live pictures by: Anders Sandvall
On stage at Kulturbolaget this Tuesday night stood W.A.S.P and since it was a long time since I saw the band last time did I decided to pay the concert a visit. I last saw the band when they were out supporting THE NEON GOD PT1 – THE RISE and that was back in 2004. My reluctance towards the band has a lot to do with the fact that I don’t think that the later albums have been so good but it has also a lot to do with the way Blackie Lawless treats his fans. Almost every time I have met Lawless during the years has he been irritated and snotty towards the fans that want an autograph fromhim. That kind of behaviour is so boring to see and the meeting I had with him this particular evening wasn’t funny either. Both Duda and Lawless came out of the tour bus with a glass in their hand and clothes in the other hand. They refused to sign anything and just went straight into the club. I mean, do you treat fans that have waited hours to meet the guys? Arrogant guys indeed. After all is it the fans that pays the bills for Duda, Lawless and the rest of the band but it seems like they have forgotten that, sad.
The doors to the venue opened at 8:00 and surprisingly there weren’t any support act this night. On stage stood a drum kit and behind it hung a huge video screen as big as the kind they have at the cinema. The closer it got to the performance the more people came into the club and it felt and looked like the club was pretty jammed with fans.
When the intro started did the guys enter the stage with their instruments on and kicked off the show with “On Your Knees” which transcended straight into “The Real Me”. W.A.S.P is known for doing medleys and these two songs were the first medley of the evening. The band only played the a short part of the first song and then went on with the next one.
Blackie Lawless – lead vocals, guitar
Mike Dupke – drums
Mike Duda – bass guitar
Doug Blair – lead guitar
The first words Lawless said was “How the fuck are you doing Malmoe?” and then he introduced “L.O.V.E Machine” and the audience went nuts. The entire audience sang along with Lawless during the song and it sounded really powerful. Lawless stood in the middle of the stage with Duda and Blair beside him. Lawless had on some kind of leather long sleeve shirt with a Los Angeles Raiders t-shirt over. He also had on the famous blades that made the band famous in the first place. Add to that the suede fringe boots and the knee pads you maybe had an idea on what Lawless looked like. Believe me, only Lawless can get away with that kind of costume.
The show continued on with a song taken from the new album BABYLON that the band is out supporting, it was called “Crazy”. During the show Lawless mostly stood still and sang while Duda and Blair walked around on stage. Lawless didn’t do any climbing on the mic stand that he used to do in the good old days. The Lawless of today is not the same person as before, but everyone gets old and there’s nothing more to say about that. Another new song from the album followed in “Babylon’s Burning” unfortunately it seemed like the new songs didn’t appeal to the mass. But that’s probably because the album was recently released here in Sweden so many maybe hadn’t bought it yet. When the song had ended did Lawless only said two words, WILD CHILD, and you can guess what song it was that followed. Again did the crowd go crazy and sang along with Lawless during the entire song.
The screens behind Dupke showed old videos with W.A.S.P meanwhile the show proceeded with “Hellion” which was connected with “I Don’t Need No Doctor” and “Scream Until You Like It” which is a song I haven’t heard the band play live. The song is featured as a bonus studio song on the album LIVE IN THE RAW from 1987, it’s also the theme song to the movie Ghoulies II. It was funny and unpredictable to hear that song live, good move.
Blair did a great job on lead guitar and he delivered sharp riffs in the true W.A.S.P spirit and his guitar looked awesome with the notorious W.A.S.P blade on it. He also had another guitar with lights on which looked really cool in the dark. Lawless didn’t do much talking, he mostly introduced the songs and looked quite bored actually on stage. The love and appreciation from the crowd didn’t seem to move him the least. The evening moved on with “Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)” and “The Idol”. At the middle of the song was it time for Blair to do a guitar solo and the rest of the band went off stage. “Take Me Up” and after that was it time for the long awaited theme song “I Wanna Be Somebody” with a crazy audience singing the entire song. Before the song had ended did Lawless and Duda off stage still playing on their instruments while Blair and Dupke ended the song together.
The ordinary show lasted for 70 minutes but the audience wanted encores so after a little while did the band turn up and kicked off the first encore which was “Heaven’s Hung In Black” where Blair did a longer guitar part. “Blind In Texas” followed with the usual sing a long in the middle. And that was all, at the end of the song did Lawless say Thank You and Good Night and went off stage.
The main question regarding the show was Lawless voice, he sounded far too good and almost like he did back in the 80’s and one can wonder if that’s possible. Hasn’t his voice changed anything in 20 years? One moment when Lawless was away from the mic did the lead vocals came out of the system as clear and loud as if he had stood right in front of the mic, that makes me wonder if he really sings live. The band also looked a bit un-inspired from time to time and people actually left the club in the middle of the show. The show lasted for 85 minutes totally which felt a little cheap to be honest, at least to the amount of money a ticket costed.
I was pleased with the set-list and thought that it was fun to hear a song that I never heard the band perform live and it was fun to hear that Lawless had incorporated quite a lot more current songs. The new band members Dupke and Blair did a great job and the show was over all a solid performance.
The fans that had waited outside the club after the show had a sad ending though when Lawless walked straight out of the venue and straight to the bus and told his manager that he only were gonna sign one item for each fan.
On Your Knees/The Real Me
Hellion/I Don’t Need No Doctor/Scream Until You Like It
Arena Of Pleasure
Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)
Take Me Up
I Wanna Be Somebody
Heaven’s Hung In Black
Blind In Texas
A big thanks goes out to the big boss Totte Lundgren of Kulturbolaget for help with press/photo pass as well as Kristian Kornhage head of press/media at Kulturbolaget.
Also a huge thank you to the nice staff and crew at the club for nice treatment at Kulturbolaget.
Thanks to Tero “Blood Brother” Ristakoski for keeping track of the set list