W.A.S.P. came buzzing through New Jersey’s Wellmont Theater and left a sting that will be felt for years. On a chilly November 17, they brought their 40 years LIVE World Tour to New Jersey along with Armored Saint, who was also formed in 1982. Upon arriving at the venue, I could feel the excitement in the long line waiting to get in. There were lots of venue staff waiting along the line to give instructions for entering or answer questions. After going through security, we checked out this beautiful venue and then got in the LONG line for merch. The theater filled in almost to capacity and the show began on time.
Armored Saint was the opening band for the evening. It was announced two days prior to the show, that John Bush, their singer, had come down with an illness affecting his nasal cavity and chest area and would have to take a break to recover. This was saddening, because from what I’ve been seeing on social media, the fans had been saying how phenomenal was sounding and that he can still move around the stage like he did in his youth. That being said, they called on Jason McMaster of Dangerous Toys, Dirty Looks, and Broken Teeth to step in until he recovers. This is such a coincidence that they chose him, as several days before the recent Accept show I covered, Mark Tornillo became sick with a similar respiratory illness, and Jason also covered several shows for him as well. Armored Saint had new album released just over a year ago called Symbol of Salvation Live. This is, as you might know, is a Live version of their 1991 album of the same name.
John Bush came out to the center of the stage to announce that he wouldn’t be singing and introduced Jason but stated that he would be staying in house to support his band. The crowd was supportive and gave Jason a warm welcome. They started off their slightly shortened set with “Reign of Fire” off of their 1991 release entitled Symbol of Salvation. Jason held his own on the vocals throughout the night. It was great to see Phil and Gonzo Sandoval, the founding members of the band, still kicking ass on stage. There were only a few small spots to capture Gonzo on camera, but I was lucky enough to snap a photo of him posing while leaning over his kit. Filling out the band was Joey Vera on Bass and Jeff Duncan on rhythm guitar. These guys still put on a killer performance on stage and sound just as good as they did back in the day. They ended their set with four songs off of March of the Saint. I would have loved to see them play for twice as long!
Armored Saint is:
John Bush – Lead vocals
Jason McMaster – Filling in on lead vocals
Joey Vera – Bass, backing vocals
Jeff Duncan – Rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Gonzo Sandoval – Drums, backing vocals
Phil Sandoval – Lead guitar
1.Reign of Fire
3.Long Before I Die
4.Symbol of Salvation
6.Win Hands Down
7.Can You Deliver
8.March of the Saint
All of the buzz on social media for this tour so far has been amazing, so I was really looking forward to seeing W.A.S.P. for my first time. The backdrop of the stage was a bunch of carnival freak show tapestries with sayings like “The Bloodiest Show on Earth”, “The Snake Lady of Hell Town”, and “Arena of Pleasure”. At the front of the stage stood “Elvis“. For those of you that don’t know, “Elvis” is Blackie’s Mic stand. It’s a huge spine-like contraption with a skull and crossbones on top which he stands behind for a large chunk of the show. It supposedly weighs more than 1000 pounds. Of side note, Blackie owns one of Elvis Presley’s beds. He purchased much of the furniture from a master bedroom of a house that Elvis had owned about 15 years ago. He says”(Elvis Presley) was probably the greatest single entertainer and influence of our time and possibly in the history of the world”
Opening the set with a medley of “On Your Knees/The Flame/The Torture Never Stops/ and Inside the Electric Circus” was a brilliant way to kick off a night of metal madness. With Blackie perched behind Elvis for much of the set, he sounded and looked great. The stage was dimly lit with red and yellow lights flashing. Mike Duda put on a beast of a performance on stage jumping about and spinning around like a tornado. Although they played a short 10-song set, they covered the hit songs such as “Wild Child”, “Blind in Texas”, and “I Wanna be Somebody”. Aquiles Priester was tucked behind his drum racks pounding away on his kit. And it would be a sin not to mention Doug Blair shredding away on his killer guitar with a saw blade pick guard!
Just prior to the encore, the screens at the back of the stage had typed out text from a PMRC trial in the 80’s along with the president of the PMRC testifying about vulgar lyrics harming the children. It was really just censorship, and W.A.S.P. was singled out above the rest. This was the lead into the song “Animal (F#@k like a Beast)” and video from the testimony continued to play throughout the song. The crowd had no problem singing the chorus making it resonate through the theater. Just before the last song, Blackie addressed the crowd stating how this tour only happened because when promoters said that people wouldn’t buy tickets to W.A.S.P. in the United States, thousands of fans spoke up. Enough so that they listened and have been playing to sold out show after sold out show. The fans were thrilled that they ended the night with “I Wanna Be Somebody”. Even though the set was short, they left a lasting impression on the fans, new and old alike!
W.A.S.P. and Armored Saint will be continuing the United States leg of their 40 Years Live World Tour through December 11, ending in Los Angeles at The Wiltern. Don’t miss this opportunity to see some rock legends, because you may never get it again!
Blackie Lawless – Lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards, percussion
Mike Duda – Bass, backing vocals
Doug Blair – Lead guitar, backing vocals
Aquiles Priester – Drums
1.On Your Knees/The Flame/The Torture Never Stops/Inside the Electric Circus
5.The Great Misconceptions of Me
6.Chainsaw Charlie (Murders in the New Morgue)
7.Blind in Texas
8.Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)
9.The Real Me (The Who cover)
10.I Wanna be Somebody
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