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Reviews

W.A.S.P. The Sting Live DVD

By Frank Meyer, Contributing Editor
Monday, December 17, 2001 @ 4:24 PM


(Snapper Music)

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Last year W.A.S.P. released the live album The Sting, recorded at The Key Club in Hollywood on April 22nd, 2000 on the Helldorado tour. The concert was broadcast live over the Internet and marked the last stand of guitarist Chris Holmes, who departed shortly afterwards, before the band issued Unholy Terror. This European release contains both the DVD version and the The Sting CD itself as a bonus disc, so you’re pretty much got everything you’d ever need except a coupla slabs of raw meat to soak in while watching it (you gotta supply that yourself!).

Visually, this CD is killer, the band is snarling and sweaty and full of energy and generally look pretty great for a bunch of old geezers. The band pulls out all the stops and there’s plenty of fire, sparks, explosions and blood. Blackie has a mic stand adorned with some sort of goat skull monster head or something and drinks blood from a skull, much to the cheer and delight of the crowd. There’s even the always-pleasing fire-shooting codpiece! And ya gotta give ol’ Blackie a break, how long can one man shoot fire out of his crotch before he gets a little sick of it?

Sonically, this a bit of a letdown though…. Like the CD, the sound is kinda bootlegy, with the guitars buried in the mid-range mud. It’s not terrible, but it lacks the pristine quality many live DVDs have these days. Plus, while I dig the integrity of releasing a totally “live” album, with no overdubs or backing tracks, there sure are a lotta, shall we say, “raw” moments here. One such moment is during “I Wanna Be Somebody,” when where Blackie’s mic cuts out for some reason and there’s no vocals for a good part off the song. I guess it’s cool they left it on there, but it certainly makes the band sound sloppy. Throughout the set they blast through all the faves like “Wild Child,” “L.O.V.E. Machine,” “Animal (I Fuck Like A Beast),” and “Blind In Texas.” They throw in their stellar cover of The Who’s “The Real Me” and even offer a haunting version of “Sleeping In The Fire.” “Chainsaw Charlie” also gets a fierce workout and “Dirty Balls” is played fast and furious, sounding every bit as “dirty” as the tile would suggest. Yeah, things get a tad rough here and there, but it’s W.A.S.P so whatdaya expect? Sure, Blackie’s vocals are little iffy on “Inside The Electric Circus” and “Damnation Angles” is plodding and a bit outta tune, but what do you expect Dream Theater or something?

One choice moment on here is when Blackie introduces “Animal,” he gives some background info in the inspiration to the classic song: "Back in 1984, I had an idea for a song, but I only had one line. We were playing a show at The Troubadour [in L.A.] and some comedian we had never heard of was opening for us. He told this joke about having to f*ck his beast of a wife. That comedian was Sam Kinison.” The audience roars. Pretty cool.

Unfortunately, as far as extras go, this DVD is severely lacking. Besides the show itself, all we get is a discography (great, like I couldn’t get that anywhere else), a picture gallery and web links. Booooriiiing. C’mon they couldn’t throw in an interview, some old clips, some backstage shenanigans, or, like, meat smell-o-vision, or something? What a drag. Also, this release is only available in Europe right now and came out about a year after the CD companion, so that’s a little weird. You gotta go to http://www.snappermusic.com/ to pick it up.

All in all, a good score for the diehard W.A.S.P. fan, though not quite as over the top as their Live At Hammersmith video from decades back. Now that was some off the hook, blood and guts shit!!!

***


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