W.A.S.P. Live at Chicago City Limits in Schaumburg, Illinois March 19, 2006
Concert Review by Scott "Dr. Music" Itter


Set list
On Your Knees
Chainsaw Charlie
Hate To Love Me
L.O.V.E. Machine
Wild Child
Sleeping In The Fire
Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)
The Real Me
The Idol
I Wanna Be Somebody
What I'll Never Find
Blind In Texas

Special thanks to W.A.S.P.
guitarist Darrell Roberts
for supplying the complete
set list.

Visit the official
W.A.S.P. website at:



I was reminded of it when my 6-year old pulled out her school folder. She had one of those little books we all make in Kindergarten; five small pieces of note paper with a pair of staples lining the edge. This one was entitled "Windows," and had a drawing of a four square pane of glass on the cover. Her mission was to find five things that have windows and list them in her book. I could see that she had written "bus" on the first page, and had "car" and "house" following along on 2 and 3. She needed two more entries, and decided to ask her big brother for help. "Bubba," she said, "What else has windows?" That's when her 8-year old brother responded with "the computer" for an answer, and I realized just how much I missed 1985. You see, life was different in '85. I was 16 for most of that year, the desired computer was a Commodore 64 (look it up, young ones), and W.A.S.P.'s self-titled debut record was the regular slab of vinyl that was glued to my turntable (again, Google it). I remember lying on my bed, day after day, hoping that I would someday get to see this band live. W.A.S.P. became the main target of Tipper Gore and the P.M.R.C., mainly because of their single "Animal (F**K Like A Beast)" and their over-the-top stage antics. Singer Blackie Lawless would throw raw meat into the crowd, and drink blood from a skull while singing about his aggressive method of lovemaking. Like any normal teenage metalhead, I wanted to go catch me a flying steak from Blackie instead of one of the Bibles that Stryper was tossing out. Rock 'N' Roll, baby. Well, I never did get my chance to see W.A.S.P. back in the day, but I did just recently have the pleasure here in 2006. There was no blood drinking, raw meat, or human sacrifices of any kind, but there was a talented W.A.S.P. lineup that came to play some great songs.

Before the band took the stage, I heard all of the Blackie stories. This is a guy that is known to be extremely hard to work with, and has alienated a great many people in the past. Fans, sound guys, band members, the record label - they have all found reasons to butt heads with Blackie Lawless. So, what was I to expect? I had my camera in my hand, would I be able to use it? Would Blackie see the sports bar crowd of about 150 and decide not to sweat for this one? I didn't know what to expect really. I just knew that the horror stories that surrounded the W.A.S.P. of 2006 had nothing to do with drinking blood and throwing raw meat.

As the crew started setting the stage for Blackie and the boys, I saw a side door open up and three rather large men carrying what looked like a huge steel snake with a giant skull head. It turns out that "Elvis" had entered the building. No, "Elvis" was not one of the large men, "Elvis" was the name given to Blackie's mic stand. This thing is so large it probably has its own zip code. From what I've heard, "Elvis" weighs in at about 600 lbs., with a price tag of about $12,000. It is a brilliant work of art, to say the least. The crew stood the monster upright and fastened it to its spring loaded base. With the menacing stare of this steel skull looking out over the small crowd, I knew I was about to live a boyhood dream.

It was about 10:05 when the opening notes of one of my favorite songs started to play over the blackened stage. "This is the end&..," the piercing baritone of Jim Morrison started riding the smoke-filled air. It was an almost sensuous way to start the show. And even though W.A.S.P.'s music varies greatly from The Doors, the song was alive in the moment and nothing could be more fitting. Once they faded Morrison out, the band vaulted onto the stage. Bassist Mike Duda appeared to be on a pogo stick as he was spinning and hopping with a huge, raw meat-eating grin on his face. Guitarist Darrell Roberts, looking like a heavy metal guitar God, clad in leather and steel below the waist and see-through spandex above, seemed to be patiently awaiting his time to strike. Drummer Patrik Johansson, on loan from Yngwie Malmsteen's band, was perched and ready also. As Lawless took the stage to a thunderous fan greeting, the band ripped into an old favorite. "On Your Knees" was the perfect opener for this band, and they seemed to do it well. I say "seemed" because I couldn't really hear the band over the rabid crowd. Fan response was terrific; exactly like the classic metal band deserved. When Lawless stepped to the mic to deliver the opening lines of the tune, "Elvis" fit his 6' 5" frame like a glove.

The club had made an announcement, just prior to the band taking the stage, that they would be allowing flash photography throughout the entire performance. It was at this point I had snapped my first photo. So, not only was I here seeing a band that I've been following for more than 20 years, I was getting pictures like those I used to gaze at in Circus and Hit Parader. As they fired off the first three or four songs in a rapid fire medley format, it was obvious that Blackie and the boys were willing to sweat for us, and they were enjoying every minute of it. As the crowd chanted along to "Chainsaw Charlie" and the band finished up "L.O.V.E. Machine," Lawless addressed the crowd and told us that the band was going to be playing some really old songs, and even some that they had never played before. Just then they drew from 1985's "The Last Command" album and fired up "Wild Child." Lawless seemed to be in decent shape vocally, and the tunes went over really well. I was anxiously awaiting songs like "Sleeping (In The Fire)" or "Cries In The Night" though. These are the types of songs that best display the tremendous power and range that Lawless harnesses, and I was interested to see what he had left after 49 years and thousands of performances. As "Wild Child" wrapped up, Lawless told us the next one fell in that "never been done live" category. It happened to be my favorite W.A.S.P. song too. As bassist Mike Duda plucked the soft opening strings of "Widowmaker," I was in heaven. The entire band was at their best here. It then became time to put the Lawless' voice in the spotlight with "Sleeping (In The Fire)." And although it wasn't a spine-tingling performance from Lawless, as he strained a bit to hit the high notes, it wasn't half bad either especially considering the excruciating schedule that lead to this final show of the tour.

When Lawless introduced the next song, he spoke of having Tipper Gore "in his ass," and explained how he still wasn't sure what bothered her about the tune "the 'fuck' part or the 'beast' part." It was, of course, their first ever, controversial single "Animal (Fuck Like A Beast),"and it was a blast. But surprisingly, at least to this aged fan, the highlight of the night could have been the band's next song. AfterLawless told of how talking to Who guitarist Pete Townshend inspired "The Crimson Idol" album, they settled into the title cut, "The Idol." Guitarist Darrell Roberts showed his extreme talent with a solo that sent shivers through the ecstatic crowd. This band was tight; "The Idol" left no doubt about that. As the show started to wind down, the band got the crowd even more involved with the sing-along anthems "I Wanna Be Somebody" and "Blind In Texas."

This set had a nice mix of both old and new, and included some of the best songs that W.A.S.P. has to offer. The only complaint I might've had at the end of this one, besides the muddy sound at the club, is the length of the set. Running just over an hour, I think all of us were waiting to hear a little more. The overall feeling of the crowd as they made their way from the stage area was one of unfulfillment. We were all thrilled with what we heard, but we were just waiting for the other half to be played. The band decided to forego the traditional encore procedure of walking off the stage and coming back out to crowd chants of the band name. No, they did their encores as part of the short set, and declined reappearance after they made their exit. But how can I possibly complain? Sure, there was no blood drinking, sparking codpieces, or flying sides of beef, but then again there were no thoughts of Microsoft or iTunes either. For a little over an hour, I got to lie on the bed inside my head and realize that I wasn't dreaming anymore. W.A.S.P. had come to my doorstep and I partied like it was 1985.


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