With pure excitement and glee, I wander to the entrance of the impressive O2 Academy, Bristol in the pouring October rain. Only the warmth in my heart keeps my spirits from being drowned.
Tonight was to be the final night of W.A.S.P's tour of the UK. Not any old visit to Blighty to push a new album, but a celebratory party to recognise the band's '30 Years Of Thunder'.
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Now, before I carry on, I know that W.A.S.P have had their ups and downs, with many fans split between the musical divides in the band's history. Some prefer the good ol' glam and hairspray days recalling 'F*ck Like A Beast', 'Wild Child' as 'true' W.A.S.P, whilst others are pulled in by their heartfelt connection to 'The Crimson Idol', with both parties divided again amongst the latter album releases such as 'K.F.D', 'Still Not Black Enough', 'Unholy Terror', 'Helldorado' , 'Dying For The World', 'The Neon Gods' but understandingly and reassuringly giving them support due to their respect for singer/songwriter and only original band member Blackie Lawless, who now makes no bones of being a 'Born Again Christian', much to the sadness of the aforementioned early day followers, due to Blackie omitting most of the early songs from the setlist.
It was the release of 'Dominator' in 2007 that brought back the interest in W.A.S.P, not only in the existing hardcore W.A.S.P fans, but also in the younger generation. I have been pleasantly surprised to see a solid growing attendance of teenagers in the band's last two visits. With the latest release of 'Babylon', the band have certainly stepped back into the national scene and are close to their former glory before the 90s.
So, leading on from that, and back to this current day, it was fantastic to see the venue packed to the rafters, with people of all ages, all adorned with W.A.S.P merchandise and eagerly waiting to see the guys in action.
Taking place upon the upmost balcony where I could gaze upon the entire stage and on the crowd, who by now where squeezed together more tightly than sardines in a tin, with breathing room only, the lights dimmed.
Crimes Of Passion from Sheffield, who had been supporting W.A.S.P during this UK leg, bounded onto the stage to warm the anticipating crowd up ready for some rocking. We were treated to an energetic set with their Maiden/Queensryche style of music, together with frontman Dale's rock opera vocal scale. It was a great start.
By 8.30pm, everyone in the building was warmed up, either with alcohol or just from the pure body heat that was emanating around the hall. The lights dimmed, with the three huge projector screens that had been covered with W.A.S.P's black and white logo sheets glowing under the blue and white neon lights. Within a moment of the intro music stopping and the band entering the stage, the covers rolled up and the screens sprung into life, along with Blackie and the gang who had now bounded onto the stage under bright lights.
Going straight into 'On Your Knees', with fists thumping high into the air, the classics from the first two albums; 'The Torture Never Stops', 'The Real Me', 'L.O.V.E. Machine', 'Wild Child', 'Sleeping (in the Fire)/Forever Free', 'I Wanna Be Somebody' thundered out, accompanied by their prospective backing videos being aired behind the band on the screens, which was met with much appreciation and reciprocation from the fans.
The band were tight, with Blackie towering above the crowd, commanding them from high and his distinct vocals filling the air, whilst Doug Blair on lead guitar sent out blistering solos from his collection of axes, including the now favoured Les Paul copies with the lit up pick-ups and revolving saw blade.
Mike Duda on Bass seemed very comfortable and at home, delivering the bass lines with ease, and was never without a smile. The newest addition in the form of Mike Dupke on Drums has suited the band well, with him playing every beat like he had been doing it forever. He even got a chance to show off his skills when it came to him taking the spotlight for a drum solo to projections of motor racing cars speeding around various circuits throughout the ages.
Taking it down a notch, the second half was a medley of 'The Crimson Idol'. To me personally this was the most enjoyable part as I must admit; I am one of those who fall into the 'Crimson Idol' lot of fans. So, to see the most notable tunes such as 'The Titanic Overture', 'The Crimson Idol Medley', 'The Idol' ending with 'The Great Misconceptions of Me' being performed live, with the videos of 'Jonathon' sent emotions to the forefront. For those who had not been exposed to this album, I believe they will now be getting it.
Finally 'Blind In Texas' brought the proceedings to a close, with fans accompanying the singing and plenty of fists being flung high in appreciation.
The band left the stage, leaving an electric atmosphere and a lot of happy fans disappeared into the darkness, awaiting W.A.S.P's return next year with a new album.