Posted on by Oran

The long-awaited 40th-anniversary show from Blackie Lawless and company finally rolled around this past weekend, and if you left the venue feeling choked-up with nostalgia, then I can empathise with you.

If, like me, you’re a child from the ’70s then, I’m sure you can relate when I say W.A.S.P. was a big deal.

From the imagery to the fiendish stories that surrounded them, Blackie Lawless was, let’s face it, every mother’s nightmare…and I loved it!

Fast forward to the present, day, and with so many “Anniversary” shows knocking with their cap in hand, I was genuinely on the fence about attending this event.

Not because I was done with the band, on the contrary, my feelings were based primarily on the fact that I know in my heart that this is the final time I’m gonna be seeing W.A.S.P., and when I considered how much they played a part in my younger years, I was fearful that the experience was going to be somewhat of a letdown.

Sure, the online comments during their leg of American dates last year spoke of lip-synching, reduced set lists, and an underwhelming production, despite the hype of a ‘stadium-sized show’, the better half of me took the plunge, and to say that I’m glad I made the decision to attend is an understatement.

Upon entry to the venue, UK five-piece South of Salem where doing their best impression of some kind of Etonian Misfits/Avenged Sevenfold/Creeper hybrid, and from what I could gather, the audience was on board with them.

I saw moments of quality but just felt that there was too much gimmick on parade. Not the type of gimmick that’s original, and lives on the edge of popular culture, no, this was the type of gimmick that was safe, choreographed, and dare I say, predictable. But that’s just me and don’t let that influence you in taking a deep dive into what they offer. Find out more here.

And so to the main event…the Electric Circus! As ‘This is the End‘ drones through the National Stadium,  a splattering of W.A.S.P. classics in the form of a radio dial above an air raid siren, accompanied by vast amounts of dry ice that creep through the thronged audience before silhouettes of the band members appear out of the mist and launch into a medley of stone-cold classics.

On Your Knees‘/’The Flame‘/’The Torture Never Stops‘/’Inside the Electric Circus‘ bring the ‘WOW‘ factor almost immediately, and it’s at this point that Blackie takes the Irish capital in the palm of his hand for the duration of the show and doesn’t let go. What followed was ‘L.O.V.E. Machine‘, ‘Wild Child‘, ‘The Idol‘, ‘The Great Misconceptions of Me‘, and with that, very little between-song banter from Lawless, and that’s okay. More hits, please!

Blackie’s giant ‘Elvis’ stand obstructs a clear line of sight for the frontman, and I’m sure he has his own reasons for that, but regardless, the band is on fire, the sound is crystal clear and the hits just keep coming, and coming…

Chainsaw Charlie...’ is up next, followed by the wonderfully raucous, ‘Blind in Texas‘ [the best drinking song of all time], which had the whole venue with fists in the air, and wide smiles on their faces, as they screamed back the lyrics, word for word. Excellent stuff indeed and a major shot of good feeling, that, to be honest, we could all do with these days.

Ahead of the encore, we are treated to the infamous PMRC audio footage about the ‘Filthy Fifteen‘ [if you don’t know what I’m talking about, look it up here] which could only mean one thing, ‘Animal [Fuck Like a Beast]‘, making tonight the first time the song was performed on Irish soil since their Ambassador gig back in 2004, and the audience lapped it up.

From ‘Animal…‘ to ‘The Real Me‘, and finally ‘I Wanna Be Somebody‘ tonight was a celebration of not just W.A.S.P., but a celebration of our youth, a celebration of a time when people had a sense of humor, were less sensitive and when good music got the recognition that it deserves.

As we filled out of the venue into the welcome arms of the Dublin night, the energy was higher than I’d seen in a long time, and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

Excellent stuff indeed.

Check out the full gallery of the show below:

Oran O’Beirne

www.overdrive.ie 2023

Photography – Down The Barrel Photography exclusively for www.overdrive.ie © 2023. All Rights Reserved.