In days gone by Blackie Lawless would always wail F**k Like A Beast at some point during a W.A.S.P. show. In Newcastle he just f**ked off. Without warning and without playing his band’s trademark tune and first ever single.
Lawless left the stage after just one song of a second encore that was prefaced with a tear-jerking tale of his first night in Newcastle.
The story of how he struck a lifelong bond with the city – after connecting with fans camped outside his hotel during W.A.S.P.’s first trip to Tyneside – was delivered with heartfelt sincerity.
It was a sobering tale involving a bell boy, heavy rain and sleeping bags. Nice. But it wasn’t the ranting F**k Like A Beast (Animal). And that’s what the fans pitched up outside the Academy all these years later had queued to hear. ‘Nice’ and ‘heartfelt’ are not what W.A.S.P. is all about – being nasty, raucous and rude is how their reputation was forged.
Lawless might love Newcastle but Newcastle loves F**k Like A Beast (Animal).
Perhaps Lawless was keen to catch Nik Kershaw’s big 80s hits in the room upstairs as he called time on his show at 10pm prompt. Perhaps his mam’s finally banned him from singing such a rude song. Or maybe he was just sticking to the same set list rolled out in London and Edinburgh at the start of the 30 Years Of Thunder tour.
The same tour, by the way, that promises ‘a two hour show’ (not the 90 minutes we got here). The same tour that promises a third segment that ‘will consist of material from the new studio album, older material and everything in between’ (or a drum solo and a couple of classics in this case). And the same tour that will see the return of ‘Blackie’s moving microphone stand Elvis’ (it did return but it barely moved).
But if this show wasn’t exactly as billed then it was still brilliant in every other aspect. Where W.A.S.P. did deliver – and gloriously so – was with the opening segment of the band’s biggest hits set against the original video clips from their 80s heyday.
The Real Me (a Who cover but who cares?), L.O.V.E. Machine (what is it with W.A.S.P. and punctuation in all the wrong places?), Wild Child and set highlight I Wanna Be Somebody brought the house down as Lawless lived up to his naughty name. It was like listening to the encore, except in reverse.
And that only added to the look of mass confusion on the faces of the departing hordes as they filed out of the Academy in a state of suspended disbelief. Still wondering why they hadn’t heard that song, still buzzing from a belting first hour and still waiting for the promised pyrotechnics (purple lights adorning Doug Blair’s fingers don’t really count).
W.A.S.P. played a blinder – and Blind In Texas – but they didn’t see fit to play the most blinding song from their stacked back catalogue. Work that one out if you can…