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W.A.S.P. – The Mightiest Metal Show On Earth – Gig Review Rock City Nottingham

Shock Rockers W.A.S.P. are back in Nottingham, bringing their stadium quality show to the venue of Rock City. Thirty-eight and a half years ago Blackie was in town, playing just down the road at Nottingham’s Palais on his first ever UK tour. In the audience that night were the founding members of Rock News. During the eighties the band were surrounded by controversy and had local religious groups campaigning to stop their shows. That night. W.A.S.P. put on a fantastic show albeit without the stage antics they were renowned for. There was, however, a pillowcase full of feathers which were poured onto the crowd. But what has to be the most memorable moment of the night, and probably any gig I have ever been to, was outside The Palais, after the show where the Rock News teenagers were exorcised by the local clergy who were trying to save our souls from the evils of rock music. Brilliant!!

W.A.S.P. are celebrating their fortieth anniversary and are currently touring the UK and Europe. Originally formed back in ’82 the band quickly grew a fan base that has stuck by them. The strength of that fan base is evident tonight as the Rock City venue is a sell-out. As the packed crowd waited anxiously in the darkness the atmosphere is building. ‘The End’ by The Doors began to play through the PA system followed by sirens and snippets of classic W.A.S.P. songs. The atmosphere growing more and more as the start of the gig nears. 

The lights begin to brighten and on a plinth in the centre of the stage is ‘Elvis’ the elaborate skeleton mic stand. All around the stage are colourful posters advertising a macabre carnival is in town. The crowd now deafening with their cheering can see Blackie Lawless, Doug Blair, Mike Duda and Aquiles Priester up on the stage. The three guitarists with their backs to the crowd and facing the back wall as they begin to play a salvo of songs, starting with ‘On Your Knees’, Blackie stepped on to his alter his unmistakable voice screaming from the speakers. Without a break the band continued with ‘The Flame, The Torture Never Stops & Inside the Electric Circus’ hardly giving the Rock City audience chance to take a breather as they sang along with the choruses.

Throughout the set Blackie ensured the rest of the band got as much attention from the crowd, moving to the back of the stage allowing Doug Blair to show his fantastic guitar shredding abilities with some great extended rifts during ‘The Idol’. Mike Duda provided the thumping basslines and Mike Aquiles pounded his drumkit to an inch of its life.  

The Fortieth Anniversary tour is a celebration of W.A.S.P. with some of the carnival posters being removed revealing screens behind them. As the set progressed the screens were playing the bands MTV videos. As the encore started W.A.S.P. used the screens to play footage of the censorship hearings which the band were a focus of in their early days. By celebrating forty years of W.A.S.P. Blackie triumphed, surviving the censorship battle and raised the metaphorical middle finger of rock to all those campaigners who tried to silence him. As the audio finished the band launched into ‘Animal (F**K Like A Beast)’ the crowd in front of them joining in word for word.

Completing the set as energetically as it started is ‘I Wanna Be Somebody’. The amps and speakers of the venue just being heard over the roar of the audience. The screens on the stage are now playing a tribute to all the past members of W.A.S.P. and their contribution to the band’s success. As the four current members played the song at a hundred miles an hour the crowd swelled and pushed as they punched the air in time to the music. Blackie is running all over the stage, thumping his chest and encouraging the crowd into a frenzy. He then stepped back to listen to the crowd as they sang the last of the choruses, surveying everyone in front of him to make sure they are all singing. As the song came to its climatic end Blackie jumped on the back of Elvis swinging around to the erupting cheers of the crowd. Forty years on and Blackie is still captivating the crowd with his Rock N Roll antics like it’s his first time on stage.

It’s been brilliant performance by W.A.S.P tonight. With every song a classic expertly performed by the ringmaster Blackie Lawless and his troop of musicians. It’s been great to venture down our Rock News memory lane of seeing and hearing one of the bands that influenced our love of rock music. Hell, we’ve even danced to the band on a Friday Rock night in the very place we are watching them play. If there is a venue near you that hasn’t sold out id highly recommend getting a ticket for a W.A.S.P. Fortieth Anniversary Show.

W.A.S.P Setlist

  1. On Your Knees / The Flame / The Torture Never Stops / Inside the Electric Circus
  2. Love Machine
  3. Wild Child
  4. The Idol
  5. The Great Misconceptions of Me
  6. Chainsaw Charlie (Murders in the New Morgue)
  7. Blind in Texas
  8. Encore:
  9. Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)
  10. The Real Me (The Who cover)
  11. I Wanna Be Somebody

W.A.S.P. – The Mightiest Metal Show On Earth – Gig Review Rock City Nottingham @

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