W.A.S.P. – Bergen – Ricks
The last time I had the pleasure of watching W.A.S.P. perform on stage was way back in 2007 in Copenhagen when those guys were promoting the "Dominator" record. That was a pretty cool show, so naturally I was looking forward to seeing them again and I was hoping for a memorable and entertaining show. Unfortunately, it turned out to be memorable for all the wrong reasons. First of all, the show was way too short. We were served ten songs, and I simply find that indecent when considering just how many songs that constitute the band’s discography as well as the ticket admission. I mean, if you are Jerry Lee Lewis and 80 years old then ten songs is fine, because people would probably not expect anymore than that, but this is fucking W.A.S.P. we are talking about. I will come back to this later on. Anyway, the venue was nearly packed from what I could tell.
There were two Norwegian bands supporting W.A.S.P., namely a hard rock/melodic heavy metal band called Ravage Rose and a thrash metal band named Critical Solution, both of which were forgettable and uninteresting to watch and listen to. While Ravage Rose could certainly handle their instruments (especially the drummer), their tunes did nothing for me whatsoever. The material was too bland and mediocre. Critical Solution was a complete mess on stage. While the guitarist/vocalist sported corpse-paint and the drummer at one point put on this rather geeky skull-like costume, the other two members looked totally normal. It looked very schizophrenic to me. As with Ravage Rose, Critical Solution knew how to handle their instruments, but their songs lacked just about everything that I can think of that makes for good and interesting material. The tracks were incoherent and the vocals were horrible.
W.A.S.P. went on stage at half past ten. The first three songs ("On Your Knees", "Inside the Electric Circus", and "The Real Me") were somewhat out there due to the less than impressive vocals by Blackie, but when the band launched into "L.O.V.E. Machine" things fell into place and the band sounded pretty decent the rest of the way. The setlist was a bit of a mixed bag, but I for one really enjoyed hearing "Crazy" and "Golgotha" live, and they actually sounded better than most of the other stuff in terms of energy, vocals, and sound. One thing though; I am pretty sure the band were using pre-recorded vocals for a lot of the choruses with Blackie, Mika Duda (bass), and Doug Blair (guitar) singing on top of that on stage, and it just sounded really weird and even downright crappy in places. Frankly speaking, the new song entitled "Last Runaway" was a waste of everybody’s time. The regular set consisted of only 9 songs, and there were a couple of times throughout the main set that the band walked off stage while the audience were left to stare at the video screens depicting old W.A.S.P. videos and montages and so on. We waited for 5-10 minutes after the main set before the band eventually came back, but they only played "Wild Child" and that was it. If you do not count the video clips and intermissions then the band played for only 50 minutes, and I spoke to quite a few people afterwards, all of whom were very disappointed and felt cheated. Truth be told, I could sympathize with them and felt a bit cheated, too. While the performance was not without its merits and cool moments, the whole thing was just too uneven and uninspired. Things never really took off, which was a damn shame.