WASP ” 8 April 2008

THE METRO, Sydney (supports ” Wicked Bliss (Melb) and The Poor (Syd).

By Kerri Eckhardt

The day had finally arrived. After the longest wait I”ve had to endure for a band. Twenty-plus years, yes, twenty-plus long years. Now WASP were finally in the country and in a few hours I was to see them. See Blackie Lawless. Hell yeah, bring it all on I say.

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The three hour trek started at 10am, I picked up my dear High School friend at his work in Challora at 12:45pm (right on the specified time) and arrived at his house a bit after 1pm, we started the evening with a few drinks. Arriving at the Metro at 7pm, there was a positive vibe in the air, all were excited to be there for this historic occasion. The masses were gathering. There wasn”t much of a mixture – there were some young people there, but mostly old-school metal heads.

When my friend and I arrived in the Metro, Wicked Bliss were playing. I”ve never heard of these guys and I was way too excited in anticipation for WASP, so we left and went next door for some drinks (cheaper than the Metro”s), but from what I heard they were quite good. We went back to find “The Poor” onstage ” we made our way to the front of the stage ” being short I had to get right to the front. I especially had to so I could see WASP properly (as my eyesight is shocking at the best of times).

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The Poor played a good set, considering they haven”t done a live gig in a bit over ten years. Skenie (Vocals) had an excellent stage presence and made sure the punters got involved. He put on a powerful performance and got a good reception from the crowd and Matt Whitby (Bass) was clearly having a great time. They played well and gave it their all.

The excitement for me was mounting, it wouldn”t be long now.

WASP finally took to the stage with their first set, Crimson Idol (this being the 15 year anniversary of the album). Behind the band was a huge screen which showed the Crimson Idol story. I found it a bit hard to follow both, didn”t know which way to look at times, the screen or the band. Not only is this a fantastic album, but to have a movie to tell Jonathan”s story was magical. Blackie”s performance was so passionate (Chainsaw Charlie especially). The Crimson Idol set was so intense and electrifying, it was done beautifully, a truly awesome event.

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There was a no-camera policy for the first set. I was reminded that just recently I”d seen on You Tube that someone had posted video footage of this set. I thought it was pretty disrespectful to the band, especially when they had allowed cameras for the second set. I copped a bit of a rude comment back ” which was to be expected I guess.

After the brilliant Crimson Idol set WASP took a short break and were back on stage much quicker than I had expected. I thought it would have taken so much longer not only to set up for a new stage set but also to give the guys more of a break. They”ve still got what it takes after all these years and they launched into their second set barely ten minutes after finishing the first.

WASP”s second set was to be a mix of old and new music. I was really looking forward to this set and had my ideas of what songs would make up the set. I wasn”t too far off. They played

Love Machine
Manimal
Wild Child
Take me up
I want to be somebody
I”m blind in Texas

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The performance Blackie put on was amazing. After all – he has one of the sexiest, most haunting of metal voices (in my opinion). The rest of the band worked well together.

Blackie didn”t introduce the band ” he didn”t need to – but they were: bass ” Mike Duda; drums ” Mike Dupke; and guitar ” Doug Blair. The whole band was very tight and their performance was fantastic.

As much as I was loving the second set – 33 minutes and that was it, “Goodnight, We”ll see you next time” ” THE END.

Talk about a prick tease! I was severely disappointed with the length of the second set, I was just starting to get into it and next you know “goodnight”””? ” WTF, will you, it took over 20 years to get here so will you be back?? Gees I hope so. Maybe they should have taken a longer half-time break”

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This was my first time at The Metro. I liked the fact this show wasn”t at a venue such as ACER or even the Hordern. This was a show that needed to be in such a place – up close and personal. I didn”t think that ticket prices should have been as high as they were, $90 (most tickets for other shows at the Metro weren”t over $60). Even so, the place was near capacity. Punters had views from tiered standing positions, up on the balcony or, like me, right in the thick of the action ” down on the floor in front of the stage.

Sound quality up front was great, (raw and loud). Some reports say that up the back wasn”t too good. The stage was small, as with all venues this size. Maybe if it was at a larger venue they would have bought out more of a stage show, like previous shows in other countries – having a girl on a rack ready to have her throat slit, or some pyrotechnics. But there wasn”t anything fancy, just two large screens that stood on the floor with their new album cover. It allowed for a more intimate and intense atmosphere where the music (well, mostly) took centre stage.

I did have a couple of peeves though:

1. There was no “Elvis” (Blackie”s mic stand), this is beauty of a mic stand and needed to come out. I”d been looking forward to seeing it after all this time too!

2. Between the first and second sets Elvis Presley (of all people at a metal show – very strange) was up on the big screen and this stayed on (with volume down, thank fuck) throughout the second set. I found this to be quite distracting and annoying. Elvis contributed nothing to the set and I was left wondering why he showed up at all.

Short second set and Elvis aside it was a fantastic show. Blackie”e presence was so awe inspiring. Seeing him in the flesh, up on the stage was one of the best experiences I”ve had and will live in my memory for the rest of my life.

Photos by Cameron Edney (used with permission)

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