W.A.S.P. (Live)

At Rockefeller Music Hall, Oslo, Norway, September 19, 2006

Blackie Lawless and his ever-changing “backing band” WASP (it’s tempting to use that term nowadays) have been frequent guests to Norway during the recent years, and this time the hard-rocking bugs had squeezed in as many as four gigs into this beautiful country (that’s one more than in Sweden!). Being WASP, this obviously meant that the total length of the four shows would equal that of two shows from any other band, but quality instead of quantity is always a good rule, and the band sure delivered a quality performance this (rather early) evening.

Following the harsh-ish comment on the band’s latest line-up, it must be noted, probably the sooner the better, that they did an impeccable job. Drummer Mike Dupke really stood out, being the newest addition to the lineup, as he put out some amazing grooves and actually managed to freshen up the old tunes a bit, while at the same time retaining the classic feel. Mike Duda on bass is always a safe bet, and guitarist Doug Blair, out on his third stint with WASP, did well both musically and vocally. He’s no Darrell Roberts (the compulsory, although irrelevant, comparison), but still put on a good performance.

Blackie made several promises at the beginning of the show -– amongst them was that of a song from the band’s upcoming album. That one he didn’t keep, but the surprisingly big crowd (being a Tuesday) did get both a song never played live before (“Arena Of Pleasure”) and a song not played live in 12 years (“The Widowmaker”). The latter has indeed been in the set for some 6 months now, but 12 years before that is still good enough. Other than that, the setlist was a hit parade to another world -– “On Your Knees,” “Hate To Love Me,” “Love Machine,” “Wild Child,” “Sleeping (In The Fire),” “Headless Children,” “The Idol,” and “I Wanna Be Somebody” before a full-length “Chainsaw Charlie” and “Blind In Texas” as encores. Of course, there’s 20 more songs the band could have included, but it’s hard to get an hour of Metal much better than this.

Mr. Lawless himself was in a great mood, juggling with the microphone stand, joking with the crowd, and seeming like he actually enjoyed being where he was, and his voice is still nothing but phenomenal –- especially the ballads make for instant goose bumps. If you get the impression that nothing at all went wrong this evening, you’re pretty much right … this was WASP at their very best, and if the band manages to take this vitality with them into the studio, the upcoming album should be a real smasher.


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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