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W.A.S.P. In Concert at the Phoenix Concert Theatre

Phoenix Concert Theatre - Toronto, Ontario, Canada - February 28, 2008

by Kim Lapalme, Photos by Calvin Oberton

Blacki Lawless of WASPAll these years later...what were W.A.S.P. fans in for? Would Blackie Lawless and the boys be surrounded by semi naked models tied to torture racks? How many live rats would be ground into meat and hurled into the audience? And would Tipper Gore and the PMRC target W.A.S.P. for invoking fans to have wanton, careless sex? .... The type that Tipper could only dream of.

I did not know what to expect from Blackie Lawless, Doug Blair, Mike Duda, and Mike Dupke.... so let me be the first to say, they gave me more than I anticipated.... and they threw in a freebee.... because they took me back to my own private moments of recklessness.

Standing by the soundboard, I looked toward the stage....what was wrong with the lighting? Was I watching a band or was I watching a Stanley Kubrick film? I was mesmerized starring at a screen encompassed by grainy black and white images of a young man we knew was Jonathan. And just as I always imagined, with his thick long black hair, leather jacket and suck you dry lips.... Jonathan Aaron Steel was visually enigmatic. I was mouthing the lyrics "I was sixteen going nowhere, will I see seventeen alive?" When would the pyro flash before me kicking it up a notch and taking me out of the spell? It didn't and wouldn't. Instead, the audience got something they may not have bargained for. A rock opera of Crimson Idol in its entirety, hosted by our very own Phantom of the Paradise...Blackie Lawless aka Steven Edward Duren.

As the audience breathes in melancholy guitar riffs, they exhale rambunctious gut punching drums while Lawless' voice resonates a spellbinding range. The band propels beyond clichés and gains momentum toward its goal of crashing us head on into an abyss. After a short intermission, they licked us clean with nothing less than a ;hard-hitting, ass-kicking encore finishing with Blind in Texas.

Blackie Lawless once critiqued his 3rd album Inside the Electric Circus as ''a tired record for a tired band.'' But not this time! The band appeared refreshed, tenacious and there to deliver the goods. Instead of the audience paying to get shocked, they got rocked up the ass with no lube, but it was done with class. Mr. Lawless, you may be the Marque de Sade of rock n roll, but this time, I believe you stroked us after you slapped us.


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