Back With A Vengance!

W.A.S.P. - The Palace - Hollywood CA October 4, 1996 - Part of F MusicFest96

Review By Wasp94
Pictures by Wasp94 & Wasp107

The lights went down, the stage saturated with a thick fog, the strains of Jim Morrison singing "..this is the end" could be heard as the sound of helicopters permeated the air. Yes, it was the return of the mighty W.A.S.P. and Blackie Lawless was back to lay claim to being the most menacing ringmaster rock n roll has seen since Alice Cooper. This was a little different than what we've seen the past few years from W.A.S.P. though. This show reunited Blackie and Chris Holmes for the first time in a little over seven years. New bass player Mike Doda, and drummer Stet Howland, who had previously toured for the Crimson Idol release, were also in tow.

Word had it that W.A.S.P would be going back to the theatrical psycho-drama they were known for in the early 80's. The evening started with the classic "On Your Knees". W.A.S.P. followed that with a machine gun style barrage of songs they hadn't performed live in banter between songs. "Hellion", "I Don't Need No Doctor", "Animal" and "The Real Me" followed. On the latter song, newest band member Mike Doda got to show off his dexterity on the bass. He proved himself more than worthy of being on stage with W.A.S.P. as well as being a perfect compliment to guitarist Chris Holmes who was his usual maniacal self. It was great to see Chris really hasn't lost a beat in the years that he had been away. The one point that he did seem to have difficulty with was at the start of "Chainsaw Charlie", but that was understandable considering it was only his third show back, and he never performed on the studio version of the song or the album it was from. There was no way Chris could be kept still...he was constantly moving, running from stage left to stage right, and jumping atop the speaker cabinets that lined the front of the stage. Stet Howland kept a ferocious beat with his double bass kit. It was superb seeing him return behind the kit

The real highlight of the night was Blackie himself. He was in fine form tonight. Over the past seven years, W.A.S.P. concentrated more on the musical side of their presentation, and in the process, Blackie created two phenomenal albums, "Still Not Black Enough" and the conceptual rock masterpiece "Crimson Idol". But tonight, Blackie showed that he still had that snarl...he still had the attitude...and was able to be a much darker, more brooding individual tonight than he had ever been over the last 13 years. His arms were flanked with the sawblades that hadn't been seen in a decade, and his eyes were blackened. It was great seeing the lord of doom return.

"Wild Child" and "Blind In Texas" were performed with the outstanding W.A.S.P. vigor that audiences have always been shown, but it was a new song that actually stole the show. "Kill Your Pretty Face" made it's debut tonight. This song has "classic" written all over it. Dark and violent, the song is to appear on the upcoming new album due in the early part of 1997. During this song, Blackie walked over to vast wooden frame that was shrouded by black plastic, He pulled away the plastic to reveal a woman, chained to the frame in a sitting position with her arms and legs spread and tied to the frame. Clear tubes that carried blood ran to and from her body. Blackie took hold of a sword and slowly splaced it to her throat. With a quick slice, blood started to run down her chest, and the life quickly escaped her. Blackie stood at the left of the lifeless body with a look of triumph.

Another new song made an appearance tonight. The song had the catch line "Kill, Fuck, Die" and proved to be another instant W.A.S.P. classic. It was at the end of this song that the band showed an astounding stage exit. While it may sound banal and not special, the way it was pulled off and the effect it gave was truly remarkable. Blackie walked over to the drum kit and grabbed a pillow. He swiftly and vigorously waved the pillow through the air as it's complete contents of feathers filled every inch of stage space as strobe lights flashed frenetically. It was as if a snowstorm had covered the stage. The band could not be seen, only a sea of white. But by the time the last feather hit the ground, and the last note left the speakers, W.A.S.P. was gone....gone without a trace. Just as W.A.S.P. has always done over the last decade plus, it left the crowd fully satisfied, yet still craving for more. They weren't going to get more on this night. Tonight was just a tease of what was to come with a full scale world tour that is to take place in early 1997.

Yes indeed, W.A.S.P has returned with a show that rivals some of the best in rock n roll. Blackie Lawless is in fine shape and form...darker than ever. Chris Holmes, the original animal is back at Blackie's side and Mike Doda and Stet Howland are there to lay the backbone to the insanity.

The purpose of tonight's show was for W.A.S.P. to show rock n roll that they were back with a vengeance and going for the throat. This was just an appetizer of what's to come with the world tour. But with W.A.S.P., their appetizer is the equivalent of any other bands main course.

Blackie Lawless is back....W.A.S.P. has returned. Rock n roll should be honored!