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Picture House, Edinburgh 22 September 2012

WASP, photo by David Wilson
Photo: David Wilson

Edinburgh Playhouse, autumn 1987 on the Electric Circus tour, that was the last time I caught W.A.S.P. live. 25 years is a long time in anyone's book and in rock it amounts to a career to be proud of.

The fact that Blackie Lawless is still going strong and looking amazingly like the intervening years haven't happened is credit to the man's drive and ability. So what brought me back to the W.A.S.P. fold after all this time?

This current tour is a celebration of the band's 30 years of shock rock and the set promised to incorporate many of Blackie's finest moments. Before WASP took to the stage though, we were treated to a short support set from Sheffield rockers Crimes Of Passion.

I hadn't heard anything from Crimes Of Passion before and was pleasantly surprised by their hard rocking set. Dale on vocals commanded the stage, pulling all the rockstar moves with the vocal delivery to back them up.

Playing tracks from their latest album 'To Die For', which they were shamelessly flogging at the end of the show, the band went down well with the crowd and by the end of their set they had gained some new friends and warmed the crowd up nicely.

WASP, photo by David Wilson
Photo: David Wilson

The stage was then set for W.A.S.P. The set was to be broken into three parts, the first featuring older tracks from the band's first four albums, then a shortened version of 'The Crimson Idol' and finally some newer tracks and a couple of top class encores.

The stage was surrounded by three video screens which burst into life when the band took to the stage and kicked off with 'On Your Knees'. Blackie Lawless is a consummate showman and from his lofty position front and centre he conducted the crowd expertly through the two hour plus set.

WASP, photo by Steve Goudie
Photo: Steve Goudie

As promised the first section contained all the early hits 'L.O.V.E Machine', 'Wild Child' and the ultimate singalong that is 'I Wanna Be Somebody' which were all lapped up by the near capacity crowd.

The aforementioned screens were used to good effect throughout showing videos for each track which proved to be a visual feast. The videos though came into their own during the next section which was a potted version of the band's biggest album 'The Crimson Idol'.

WASP, photo by Steve Goudie
Photo: Steve Goudie

Blackie and the guys excelled during this section with some amazing playing. Guitarist Doug Blair put in a jaw dropping performance and the rhythm section of Mike Duda and Mike Dupke should have been arrested for cruelty to instruments. Mike Dupke then played an inventive drum solo accompanied with videos of dragster racing and motorsport mayhem, all great fun.

The night was rounded off with a wild run through of 'Chainsaw Charlie', a brief 'Widowmaker' with Blackie back on bass with top hat and eye patch in place, and a triumphant finale in the shape of ' Blind In Texas'.

This proved to be a great night and showed that W.A.S.P. are still a force to be reckoned with. The fact that the crowd was close to capacity shows that the past 30 years have been well spent and that the W.A.S.P. story is far from over. I will definitely not be leaving it another 25 years before catching Blackie and co again !

Review by David Wilson

Photos by Steve Goudie and David Wilson

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