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London Astoria 2 November 2007

After a very long and difficult week at work, I started looking forward to 'An Evening With WASP' - a band that I grew up listening to and which I have been lucky enough to see live four times over the last few years.


Blackie Lawless, photo: Lee Millward

Blackie Lawless' outfit may not have always been blessed with a befitting sound as far as live performances are concerned (as historical experiences in the London Astoria have shown), but the noisy quartet has always managed to put on a great performance for its loyal crowd. Well, the night of the 2nd of November 2007 will be marked as one where both sound and image worked in the band's favour, helping WASP achieve one of its best performances ever on English soil.

Support came from the Estonian-based quartet called House Of Games. Their music, being a blend of Groove and Heavy Rock bearing influences from many great bands, such as Led Zeppelin, should have made it easy for them to attract the attention of the predominantly English crowd, but the much desired chemistry was hardly achieved that night. Their set covered material from their latest full length album 'Rise and Shine' and even though there were times where Kalle Vilpuu (vocals) and Co seemed to have started some kind of communication with the audience, their departure from stage at the end of their forty minute set was mainly greeted with indifference by the majority of the gathered metalheads who, by that stage, were located around the two main bars of the venue, preparing themselves from the oncoming metal onslaught.

It took almost fifty minutes before Blackie Lawless and his deadly squad set foot on stage, but it was definitely worth the wait, since during the next hour we were all exposed to both the melancholic melodies and staccato guitar riffs of the band's fifth studio album 'The Crimson Idol' – an album that was, luckily for us, performed in its entirety.

Even though Blackie is now fifty one years old (hardly a spring chicken!), his performance was of such quality that it could easily put many of today's younger ‘leading' frontmen to shame.


Blackie Lawless, photo: Lee Millward

The band came across as solid as ever, the sound was of top quality and there was also a complementary film, relating to the concept of the album and which was projected over three different large screens, located on the top and the sides of the stage. Unfortunately, there was a strict photo and video policy applied by the venue, so none of these great images have been recorded here for your pleasure, but that has been a common strategy throughout this tour – according to a note on the band's official website.

While the members of WASP were nailing one classic after the other and between head banging myself to death, I turned around, trying to capture the reaction of the fans. Their response to the up tempo rhythmical killers such as 'The Invisible Boy', 'Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)' and 'I Am One' was that of a pretty energised crowd, whereas the more emotional compositions, such as 'The Idol' and 'Hold On To My Heart' were greeted with a quite fitting, respectful silence, creating the ideal environment for appreciating these compositions.


Blackie Lawless, photo: Lee Millward

The first time that Blackie spoke to the crowd was right after the last notes of 'The Great Misconceptions Of Me' were heard in the room, announcing that the band was to have a small break, after which they returned to perform three much awaited classics, namely 'Love Machine', Wild Child' and 'Blind In Texas', but also a quality ballad called 'Take Me Up' – the only new composition performed that night from the band's latest opus 'Dominator'.

What felt like a lifetime was only a one and a half hour concert - not long, based on the long history and extensive discography of such a great band, but definitely one of the best performances that I've ever seen. Long live WASP and long live Heavy Metal!

Review by John Stefanis

Set List:

Main Set: 'The Crimson Idol' album
1. Narration
2. The Titanic Overture
3. The Invisible Boy
4. Arena Of Pleasure
5. Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)
6. The Gypsy Meets The Boy
7. Doctor Rocter
8. I Am One
9. The Idol
10. Hold On To My Heart
11. The Great Misconceptions Of Me

1. Love Machine
2. Wild Child
3. Take Me Up
4. Blind In Texas

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