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Thursday, 4 October 2012

Live & Dangerous: WASP

WASP Great Hall 2 Cardiff

Thanks to Paul Hutchings for his contribution to the cause.

So on 3 October, the “30 Years of Thunder” anniversary Tour rolls into Cardiff.

According to the official WASP website this was meant to be " the biggest spectacle W.A.S.P. have ever created. The two hour show will consist of three parts. A one hour set contain songs from the first four albums. The second set will be a 25 minute shortened version of “The Crimson Idol” complete with the movie accompaniment. A third set will consist of material from the New Studio Album, older material and everything in between. This show will see multiple video screens, pyrotechnics, and elements from the early W.A.S.P. shows and Blackie’s moving microphone stand “Elvis”!"

It was with slight disbelief then that, rolling up to the Great Hall at 8:00pm, we were confronted with closed doors, and a very healthy crowd queuing in anticipation but also with an air of frustration. Doors were due at 7:00pm.

So doors finally open about 8:15pm and in we go. Crimes of Passion from Yorkshire were straight on, played a very curtailed set and to be fair, made a decent fist of it. However, they were fairly bland and forgettable; indeed, the most I can remember was the lead singer cajouling us to "treat ourselves" to their album, a snip at only a fiver. Suffice to say I didn't and wasted said cash at the extortionally priced bar.

WASP finally stormed the stage at 9:40pm, having tormented us to numerous false starts. Opening with On Your Knees, the band were musically tight, though Doug Blair's guitar was a little too quiet for my liking; at times I stuggled to pick out the solos, which was disappointing as he is undoubtedly an excellent guitarist. A string of fan favourites followed, The Torture Never Stops, a tasty cover of The Real Me ( a staple for many years) LOVE Machine and Wild Child before the pace slowed with Forever Free/Sleeping (In the fire).

The promised first section finished with a face melting I Wanna Be Somebody and then it was into the Crimson Idol part of the show. Very strangely, the band exited whilst the Titanic Overture was played on tapes, before treating us to some an excellent montage including The Idol and a breathtaking The Great Misconceptions of Me. All good, but then came the hammer blow. Blackie has, in recent years, become much less communicative with the crowd, allowing the music to do the talking. Tonight was no exception, until he announced that we had been done "a great injustice"; explaining that they had been late arriving and setting up, that there was a curfew at the venue and therefore they only had time for one more, the standard set closer Blind in Texas.

And then they were gone. No Heaven's hung in Black, Chainsaw Charlie, I don't Need no Doctor. The much vaunted two hour show reduced to one hour and ten minutes. As for the stage show, well there was no special mike stand and the video montages on three screens looked mighty similar to their last visit to Cardiff on the 28th anniversary tour. I can accept problems in setting up if the band had travelled from Glasgow the same day, but they played Wolverhampton on 1 October and had no gig the night before. UNACCEPTABLE. An huge air of disappointment at the end then, with a few boos ringing out. After recent gigs which have been sparsely populated, it was such a shame that a decent turn out was treated so shabbily. 8/10 for the music. 0/10 for the treatment of a sold out crowd.

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