W.A.S.P. -- Sayreville, NJ -- February 22nd, 2008
I realize this is the second thread for this show, but I was also at this gig and Overkiller said he didn't mind if I post my own topic as a means to actually review it, so here it is.
I've been an obsessive fan of WASP's The Crimson Idol for quite some time now. When I read the announcement that they would be touring for album's 15th Anniversary, including performing the entire album live, I was absolutely ecstatic. I couldn't wait for this show, and before I get into the details, let me just say that it was well worth the wait.
My friends and I were very nervous the evening before and the day of the show, being that nature happened to throw us some of the nastiest weather of the winter on the eve of the show day. If we hadn't already paid the $20+Ticketbastard charges for the tickets, we might've actually decided to not risk it and stay home. Alas, we went. We actually had a surprisingly great time on the roads, which were much cleaner than we expected them to be, even in the state of horrible roads, New Jersey. We planned a special pre-show stop at NJ's famed record shop, Vintage Vinyl. I picked up 5 great discs for about $55, so the trip proved well worth it, as it always is.
We eventually got to the Starland Ballroom around 4:30 or so, well ahead of schedule thanks to the great roads. There was virtually no one else there, so we just parked and set in the car and listened to music for quite a while. It actually wasn't until something like 6 (an hour to doors) that we actually got out of the car and got in line... I'm not complaing due to the temperatures. The doors opened timely at 7PM. My two friends and I got to the front and got our spot on the rail in front of where Mike Duda would be (left side). We then settled in for the long, and in some ways painful wait for WASP. My number one negative complaint was that I really feel it was pretty stupid and unnecessary to book FIVE opening bands. I understand like 2 of the bands were actually on the tour with them, but still. Most of the openers sucked. The second band, a group called "Fatal Smile" from Stockholm Sweden actually kinda caught me by surprised. I quite enjoyed their set, and even picked up their CD afterwards. The main support band Lyken 21 wasn't too bad. Either way, sitting through 5 half hour sets made the wait immense. My feet were already killing me before WASP even came on. However, when the lights went down at about 11:30, I suddenly forgot every bit of bother that had pained me prior.
"I look at my face in the mirror, and I don't understand. I don't feel like a boy, and it's not getting clearer, but I don't feel like a man". Blackie and co. took the stage for what was arguably one of the best shows I've ever seen. From the very entrance of the drums on Titanic Overture, they had you, and didn't let go for the full hour duration of the album. I wasn't expecting a drag, but I swear I blinked and we were more than half way through the album. It's amazing how stuff flies by when you are so rediculously into it you feel like you're in another world entirely. The band used a large video screen behind them to display video footage enhancing the story, which actually taught me a few things I never knew about the plot, which is saying a lot considering I practically have studied the album. The video reached it's peak effectiveness in the immensely epic "The Great Misconceptions of Me", when Jonathan flashed back through all of his life that had past at that point in the story. Just as Queensryche does with any good Operation : Mindcrime performance, they captivate and really make you feel the emotions of the story.
As for the technicality of the performance, I cannot say enough for the band. I had my doubts about the new(er) members, particularly being that the soloing on the original album is among some of my favorite solo work of all time. I was really hoping the guitarist wouldn't simply improv all the non-essential parts of the solos, and I was extremely happy with the results. The solos were absolutely dead on about 95% of the time. Also, the drumming was fucking spectacular and completely lived up to the bombastic tom-enthused, fill-crazy performance of the original. Blackie's vocals were every bit as captivating and bone-chilling as they are on the album itself, and as a whole I can't make a single complaint about the sound mix.
All in all, as I mentioned, this was certainly among the finest shows I have ever seen, which is a real accomplishement at this point. If you missed this tour by choice, you're a damned fool, and if you missed the tour by not having a conveniant date, I feel very sorry for you having missed a once in a liftetime live music experience. This review really doesn't do the show much justice in the big picture, but I hope you enjoyed it.
WASP Set list:
Intro: Mephisto Waltz
2.The Invisible Boy
3.Arena of Pleasure
5.The Gypsy Meets the Boy
7.I Am One
9.Hold On to My Heart
10.The Great Misconceptions of Me
13.Take Me Up
14.Blind In Texas