Nov 15, 2022

WASP / Armored Saint - Rams Head Live

Category: Live Reviews

W.A.S.P. / ARMORED SAINT

11/15/22

Rams Head Live

Baltimore, MD

 W.A.S.P. Set List:  Intro, Opening Medley (On Your Knees, The Flame, The Torture Never Stops, Inside The Electric Circus), L.O.V.E. Machine, Wild Child, The Idol, The Great Misconceptions of Me, Chainsaw Charlie (Murder In The New Morgue), Blind In Texas, ENCORE:  Animal/The Real Me, I Wanna Be Somebody

 ARMORED SAINT Set List:  John Bush Intro, Reign of Fire, Nervous Man, Long Before I Die, Chemical Euphoria, Symbol of Salvation, Win Hands Down, Can U Deliver, March of the Saint 

 W.A.S.P. formed in 1982 after the demise of Blackie Lawless’s band Circus Circus.  Known for having torture racks onstage and tossing raw meat at their audience, W.A.S.P. paved the way for acts like Genitorturers, Wednesday 13, Murderdolls, and Marilyn Manson by taking shock rock to the next level with not only amazing and provocative lyrics but extreme imagery.  “Animal (F*ck Like A Beast)” was one of the most controversial singles when it was released and helped to get the band on a watch list created by the P.R.M.C. which tried to shut the band down by imposing warning labels on their products.

 Blackie weathered the storm of the P.M.R.C. and countless Christian groups that tried to shut the band down.  W.A.S.P. have 15 studio records under their belt and are currently on the road celebrating their storied career.  For those not in the know, W.A.S.P. stands for, “We Are Sexual Perverts” and the bands current line up consists of:

 Blackie Lawless (Vocals/guitar), Mike Duda (bass), Doug Blair (lead guitar), Aquiles Priester (drums)

 The last time W.A.S.P. performed at Rams Head Live in Baltimore, Maryland was March 13, 2006.

 Armored Saint served as direct support for the entire 2022 tour and the ARMORED SAINT 2022 Line up consists of:  

John Bush: Vocals
Joey Vera: Bass
Phil Sandoval: Guitar
Jeff Duncan: Guitar
Gonzo Sandoval: Drums

 Armored Saint's eighth full-length is  “Punching The Sky” and came out in 2020.  The band is fully reactivated now after a very long hiatus.  Armored Saint have released eight studio records, one EP, and two live albums.

Armored Saint had several stretches of inactivity due to record company issues, the death of original guitarist Dave Prichard, and then Bush left the band to join Anthrax in ’92.  Bush rejoined Armored Saint in ’99 and then the band took a break so Bush could focus on his family.  The band reactivated in 2020 when they released a new album titled “Punching The Sky”.  The band toured with Queensryche and are currently promoting a new live record “Symbol of Salvation” which features the “Symbol of Salvation” record performed live, in it’s entirety.

Several hours before the show John Bush issued a statement via the bands social media pages stating that he was ill and could not perform the show.  His official statement read:

 MESSAGE FROM JOHN BUSH AND ARMORED SAINT :

What up Saint faithful!!

The tour has been awesome so far. We’ve had killer shows with incredible receptions, so we thank you all who’ve attended. You guys have been amazing!

We also want to thank the W.A.S.P. camp. They have been extremely kind to us throughout the run.

Unfortunately, luck has dealt me a gnarly knuckle ball. I came down with an illness and even though it hasn’t made me feel bad, it still has infiltrated my nasal and chest area and planted itself. I tried to push through in typical John Bush fashion in Cleveland and Pittsburgh but by doing so I jacked up my pipes and now I sit in Baltimore frustrated and emotionally distraught.

Luckily, long- time friend and Armored Saint fan Jason McMaster (Dangerous Toys/ Broken Teeth) is coming to the rescue again. He’s already helped Accept earlier this year on tour and now he’s stepping into the batter’s box for me. I am extremely grateful, and I know he’ll kill it!

I’ve seen a great doctor and he’s got me on the mend and I hope to be onstage soon.

I’m out here on the road and I plan on being near the stage in giving my band members my support.

Thanks to the fans for your understanding and don’t be offended if I don’t talk to you.

JB.



The weather on this day was dreadful; there was a chance of snow, the temperature was just above freezing, and for the majority of the day and evening it rained.  

 Rams Head Live opened it’s doors at 7 PM and fans slowly filtered in.  There were two merch tables inside.  W.A.S.P. had 3 shirts and a hoodie for sale while Armored Saint had numerous shirts, a hoodie, several different signed cd’s and two different signed records.  The signed cd’s were $20 each while the signed vinyl was $40 each.  An hour after doors opened the Armored Saint merch table was down to only one vinyl option because fans had bought up all of ”March of the Saint”.


This was the first time Jason McMaster had ever filled in for Bush on vocals and he utilized a lyric book to help him through the bands set.  Jason was also recently called in to help out ACCEPT when their vocalist took ill.


Armored Saint’s set started at 8 PM.

 “Delivering the Goods” by Judas Priest was used as their intro and before the band took the stage John Bush came out to explain that he was sick and unable to sing.   John told the crowd that he had asked Jason to fill in for him and that Jason came out on very short notice.  Jason took the stage with John, hugged him, and thanked him for the opportunity.

 Armored Saint cut two songs from their set and performed “Nervous Man” for the first time on this tour.  Despite limited stage space, Armored Saint rocked hard and delivered an awesome set that sounded amazing.  Gonzo’s drum kit was up front and dead center which caused a split between where the bands members had to stand onstage.  Jason and Jeff had the left side of the stage while Joey and Phil had the right side 


John Bush watched the entire show and Jason admitted that he felt nervous knowing that John was watching him.  Armored Saint played for roughly 45 minutes and their set was over at 8:45 PM.

 The downtime between sets was quite long but understandable.  W.A.S.P. had a very theatrical stage and they created a circus sideshow environment onstage.  Various sideshow banners hung on makeshift walls which created the feel that you were watching the band inside of a circus tent.

 Blackie’s mic stand is named “ELVIS” and is one of the stars of the show.  When it was put into place fans immediately began taking photos of it and were very excited to see it.

 

 Shortly before W.A.S.P. took the stage “Rock Is Dead” by Marilyn Manson was played over the P.A. and it was an interesting song choice, probably by the venue, to play before W.A.S.P. because the band was clearly a big influence on Manson.  


W.A.S.P. started their set a few minutes after 9:30 PM and their intro was “The End” by The Doors.  That song choice made me question if this would secretly be the last time W.A.S.P. did a proper tour of the States.  The band is down to one original member, Mr. Blackie Lawless, and he paid homage to the bands vast history by playing the “hits” along with a selection from “The Crimson Idol” which is a clear highlight in Blackie’s career.

 Bassist Mike Duda has been with Blackie for 27 years and his energy onstage kept the left side of the stage moving while guitarist Doug Blair who’s been in the band for 16 years kept the right side of the stage rockin’ hard!  Doug’s guitars featured custom buzz saw graphics and each one was set up differently.  

 Fans have been complaining about the bands short set list but when you see the show it all flows very well and each set of songs is a chapter in the bands career.  Blackie set up the “Crimson Idol” part of the show by stating that it was the 40th anniversary of the band and the 30th anniversary of “The Crimson Idol”.  


Before the Encore started an intro speech about the PRMC and how our government tried to censor the band was played.  The large video screen behind the band featured the closed caption of the speech and this led into the band performing “Animal, F**k Like A Beast” which has not been in the bands live show for many years.  The song was performed as a medley with “The Real Me”.  During “The Real Me” Duda tossed his bass pick into the crowd and played the entire song with his fingers as to get more “soul” and “feel”.


“I Wanna Be Somebody” was the night’s closer and in many ways it truly felt like a proper send off to the legacy of W.A.S.P. because that song is a declaration of independence for all metal heads alike and seeing Blackie onstage 40 years into W.A.S.P.’s career is an achievement he’s clearly proud of.  The legacy of W.A.S.P. was represented properly when a movie played behind the band during this song which thanked all past and present members of the band.  The video showed photos of Chris Holmes, Frankie Banali, Steve Riley, Randy Piper, and literally every member who was ever in the band along with special thanks to past management, friends, family, and those who helped the band achieve success.  The end of the show was literally a list of credits played on the video screen while the band finished “I Wanna Be Somebody”.  Once the credits were done the band finished the song, said thank you/goodnight and promptly exited the stage.

Author: Bob Suehs