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GWAR Live In Albuquerque, New Mexico

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Wednesday, November 5, 2014 @ 4:20 PM

November 1, 2014 At The Sunshine Theater

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GWAR, The years without light. Farewell Brockie

Review by Christopher Boydston

GWAR... Any one that has known me since I was a teenager knows how much this band has been a part of my life. From the elaborate B horror movie costumes and props, the blistering metal and early punk, to the lack of limits they had at attacking every aspect of the human condition. I love this band...LOVE. You tend to latch on to like-minded people and with GWAR I found my music soulmate. I even went so far as to obtain a fake ID in ‘94 so I could go to their show. That was the greatest show I've ever been to. Ever!

So when David Brockie/Oderus Urungus, the frontman, the driving force, the soul of GWAR died earlier this year of overdose I was crushed. He was my Lennon, my Hendrix, my David Carradine. It sounds in poor taste but I was relieved when I heard it was heroin. I like my heroes to die in their boots. Also it seemed fitting the only thing that could kill Oderus was Oderus.

After his death I was sure that was the end of GWAR. I thought, “How could they go on?” and I know I wasn't the only one that had those feelings. Then I saw that they performed at the GWAR-B-Q with ex-bass player Michael Bishop on vocals, and then announced a tour with another added vocalist, the mighty Vulvatron.

Initially, like any other fan I felt slighted. How could they do this? Other people were accusing the band of money grabbing and in no way were they going to attend a Oderus-less GWAR show. To them that wasn't GWAR. Knowing how much of a fan I was, everyone was asking me my thoughts on it and if I was going.

I told everyone "of course I'm going". It wasn't a "I'm the ultimate fan" stance, as I have missed many a show in the past just because of life. It was more I knew how much the band needed its fans right now.

When Corey Smoot died on tour, GWAR did not cancel the remaining dates. They soldered on. I don't know how they did it but they pressed on. And attending that show less than two weeks after Corey had passed I understood. They needed the love of the fans. It was mutual therapy for all of us to gather together and hold each other up. At the end of that show Brockie took off the mask and shoulder pads and walked through the crowd embracing everyone in his path with his head down never saying a word. That's a hug I'll never forget. I thought, “wow, nothing can stop these guys”.

Apparently nothing will.

Back to the show. I truly didn't know what to expect. I stayed off of YouTube so I could see it fresh. I had a schedule change and could not take my lady which was unfortunate. We had a great time last year and I really wanted to take her but I talked my brother into going. He was not a GWAR fan and only knew what he was forced to watch when we were kids on all my VHS tapes.

First off... My buddy asks during the second act "did you see the guy in the pink tu-tu?" I shit you not there was a guy in a pink fucking tu-tu. I had to talk to him. He was a pretty cool guy and he informed me there was another guy there in a tu-tu and he was hoping to meet him. Two fucking tu-tus!! At a GWAR show! Sure enough there he was. And it wasn't just some tu-tu over his clothes this guy had the ballet flats, tights,tu-tu , and fake boobs under his leotard. All white. Awesome.

The show started with an explanation from Sleazy P Martini via the magic mirror (intergalactic Skype) on how Oderus is missing and they are trying to find him. The band starts the first song and images of Oderus singing start playing on the mirror. Like a scumdog Coachella. To the side of the mirror there is a security guard and from the looks of it he's ripe for a head choppin’. He never had a chance. This audience is screaming for blood... The slave with the ax is more than happy to feed us the bloody pulp like a mother bird dishing out regurgitated nourishment.

When the first splash of jugular juice hits my face I flinch like an amateur porn actress filming her first facial. By the second and third sprays I'm taking it like a glory hole professional. The madness has begun. At the first taste of blood the crowd breaks into a frenzy. The initial blows to the body catch your attention but soon fade as survival mode kicks in. It's like an hour long MMA fight minus the rules. Violence without anger...it's beautiful.

With the second song the mirror is moved off and the gigantic udder wielding berserker Blothar takes his place center stage. He belts out "Madness At The Core Of Time" and although it isn't our intergalactic overlord it still sounds great. After it ends there was some great banter about who he was and why he was singing with a nice nod to the old days. Blothar to Beefcake: "you look familiar". (Blothar was Beefcake in the 90's). Did I mention he has udders? That spray!! Finally what I've been waiting for a song from my favorite album. I am an evil little instigator of the pit. Holy shit that guy in the white tu-tu is in the pit...he knows all the words...that mother fucker is crowd surfing!!! We sing together.

The show moves on with the introduction of Vulvatron the busty new backup singer/bodyguard. HOT!! She gives us a blast of bloody mother’s milk from her massive mammaries as she destroys "Bonesaw Destructo". A few tunes sung by side characters fill the middle of the show. We understand why and it's ok.

Bam! Another one off of Scumdogs and Pustulance, the new guitar player is singing it. He's shredding it. Seems everyone is getting on the mic tonight. I look left and Blothar is now in bass while Beefcake is dealing out some punishment on a boob covered pizza delivery guy they summoned from the time machine they are trying to find Oderus with.

Wow this is getting long, perhaps I should jump a bit. Duet with Blothar and Vulvatron was great. Then I lose my fucking mind when I hear the Saddam horns. With precision like jumps to the music cues I start my own circle of destruction. The bagpipes fire up and I, the 39 year old, decides “fuck it I'm crowd surfing”. Yep my fat ass is up there hoping my pregnant sister in the back can see me so I have some kind of proof that I still can lose my shit to great music. (I can see my girlfriend shaking her head as she reads this) this is where I try not to get choked up while typing this because this is the moment when I realize why I'm going all out. It's not just because I like this song...it's not because I'm trying to prove I'm not an old man. At this perfectly timed moment when I'm face to face with the band right at the bass break above my GWAR family I realize this could be it. The last time I am surrounded by this group, this family listening to these songs being sprayed with blood. In all likelihood this should have never been and there is a chance it never will again. I also know the band realizes it too. The roller coaster of emotions they must go through every night as the love pours in from us but checking off another step toward the last date of the tour, unsure of the future without our leader.

The cuttlefish makes its appearance through a time machine glory hole gag. Perfectly timed for me. It's spewing, bringing the smile back to my face just long enough to catch a mouth full of green spooge. I never learn...

That happiness is short lived though as the speakers sound out "O Danny Boy" and the band carry out the sword Unt Lick like pallbearers carrying a coffin. The weapon is propped up and all on stage take a knee until the song is done. I still couldn't cry for some reason. I want to...can't. The whole band steps forward and “The Road Behind” starts. The crowd is still...somber (still trying to cry...this is the time for it, right?). I'm arm in arm with tu-tu guy and we’re singing at the top of our lungs. That song ends and it's a strange moment. Blothar then proclaims "stop crying you pussies". It snaps us out of it.

In true GWAR fashion they fired up the meat grinder and fed it some coeds and finished it out with a song that is as far from GWAR as possible: "West End Girls" by PET SHOP BOYS...yeah. They tore it up though. It segued into Jim Carroll's "People Who Died" with their version of lyrics reflecting on all their friends they have lost including Corey Smoot. The last verse saved for Oderus...

“Dave died alone in his chair in his room.
He had just turned 50, it was way too soon.
Oderus’ boat went up in flames,
Now all of Vallhalla chants his name!
Oderus, I miss you more than all the others.
I salute you my brother!

Oderus died, died. (X4)
He was all of our friend and he died.”

And then they were gone. No encore.

A Hunter Thompson quote came to mind as the house music came on "it was like a lone bugle call across a lost battlefield"

I shambled up to the security partition leaning forward so my soaked tee shirt from the meat grinder wasn't touching my skin and leaned on it and just stared. I watched the slaves breaking down. My brother and friend were asking what are you doing but I didn't answer...not wanting to believe it was over I just wanted to soak it in. A slave rolling up hoses happened to see me there and gave me a nod. I told him "thanks for this. I think we all needed it". He replied "that's what this tour is all about. Bringing everyone together like a family". That's when security said I had to leave.

I walked outside and waited at the stage exit like an ex-girlfriend not wanting to let go. Soon enough Bishop (Blothar), Land (Beefcake) and Derks (Balsac) exited. I had brief conversations with them but told them also thanks it was much needed. Bishop looked a little sullen...understandable he has big alien feet to fill and the stress of losing a brother and filling the void he left is no easy task and could be received good or bad. I shook his hand and told him "you keep doing it, I'll keep coming".

I got home later that night after horrifying some good wholesome Village Inn waitress with our bloody appearance. I always want to reenact the shower scene from Carrie when taking my post GWAR shower but my girlfriend doesn't think it's funny to waste tampons.

Such a spectrum of emotions that night. But I suppose that's what live music is all about: That invisible connection that can be had if you're open to it. A room full of strangers covered in blood and semen...there's nothing more personal than that...TWO MOTHER FUCKIN TU-TUS!!!!

Side note: my brother had only been to two other concerts. Edge Fest and BLUES TRAVELER. Although he denied it the next day, he grabbed me halfway during the show and said I've never felt like this before! He had the greatest time ever. It was awesome to see that first time experience excitement in his face. Wish I had taken him in the past.

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