It was a chilly November night in Northern New Jersey when fans lined up down the street outside the Wellmont Theater. The anticipation for W.A.S.P.’s homecoming American tour has been brewing ever since their last time touring the country over a decade ago.
W.A.S.P – Armored Saint
The Wellmont Theater, New Jersey – 17 November 2022
Words And Photography: Shannon Wilk
One of Heavy Metal’s most feared and revered acts is back for a U.S. attack. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the band, W.A.S.P. are bringing the show of your wildest dreams and most menacing nightmares.
W.A.S.P.’s set started with intro music that highlighted their biggest, baddest tunes. As the lights came up, jaws hit the floor at the sight of their massive stage setup that featured phrases like ‘Arena of Pleasure’, ‘The Bloodiest Show on Earth’ and other iconic and daunting lines.
The band opened with the catchy, singable PG-13 tune On Your Knees. Bassist Mike Duda ran around the stage in circles, banging his head, flipping his hair, and jumping around like an animal released from its cage. Without a break, these four creatures burst into (The) Flame. Frontman Blackie Lawless holds a fierce pose on his platform at the front of the stage.
“Ten years I’d lust to return to my homeland and be a wild child, a love machine, to be blind in Texas, on your knees and headless,” says Lawless in a promotional video for this tour. The Torture Never Stops Inside the Electric Circus in Montclair, NJ.
After the medley, W.A.S.P. paused as the audience screamed and cheered. “All I need is my love machine,” exclaims Lawless and once again, we’re off into 4 minutes of pure rock n’ roll. “L-O-V-E,” the crowd sings along with the band.
The Wild Child himself begins teasing fans with the riff to Wild Child’ before going all the way into this in-your-face anthem. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the band’s fifth studio release – The Crimson Idol, they threw in three tunes from the 1992 album. The Idol, The Great Misconceptions of Me and Chainsaw Charlie (Murders in the New Morgue) came with stellar guitar solos from guitarist Doug Blair along with intro tracks that helped establish the mood that W.A.S.P. has always set out for – a parent’s worst nightmare.
W.A.S.P. took the stage once more for a performance for the no-holds-barred, one of PMRC’s Filthy 15, 1984 debut single – Animal (Fuck Like A Beast), followed by a cover of The Who’s The Real Me and I Wanna Be Somebody.
Opening the night is another legendary Heavy Metal act , Armored Saint. After taking on the first half of the tour with an iron fist, the band’s vocalist John Bush fell ill. But to the rescue once again, Dangerous Toys frontman Jason McMaster helped out the band by taking over vocal duties for a few shows.
McMaster did a standup job last month filling in for Accept’s Mark Tornillo, and this month he has knocked it out of the park yet again – this time with Armored Saint.
John Bush introduced his band and explained why he would not be performing with his brothers in arms, Armored Saint, that night. Their set opened with drummer Gonzo Sandoval pounding the skins, and eventually, the guitar riffs kicked in, and we were off to the races with Reign Of Fire.
As expected, the last-minute call to McMaster for fill-in duties came with an altered setlist. End Of The Attention Span, Left Hook From Right Field, and Standing On The Shoulders of Giants were omitted, but fans were pleased with the addition of Nervous Man and Madhouse. The band put on a noteworthy, high-octane 9-song set that was worth getting there early to see.