W.A.S.P. at Gagarin 205 (2007)

Gagarin 205 (Athens, Greece)

At 7:45pm Metal Temple's crew was outside the Gagarin 205 venue with other 100–200 people, […]
By Yiannis Zervos
October 27, 2007

At 7:45pm Metal Temple's crew was outside the Gagarin 205 venue with other 100–200 people, waiting for the doors to open as scheduled time was 7:30pm. Great anticipation and questions for what we were going to watch were obvious. Blackie Lawless and his gang was about to perform in front of our eyes the entire Crimson Idol album, one of the greatest Rock/Metal operas of all time. The feedback from last night's W.A.S.P. gig in Thessaloniki was spread through the maniacs that made a 500 kilometers trip twice in one day. So we got: a small second had taste but this is something that you have to experience your self.

It is the 4th time W.A.S.P. visited Athens in 3 years. I don't know what others say, but if W.A.S.P. could play every night in my city I'd still be there to hear and see them play. But this time everything was deferent; there is no Elvis microphone stand, the drum set is not higher that the rest of the amps plus a large white panel was ready for projection. NO SMOKING and NO PICTURES signs where present all over the place. This was Blackie's request but the Greek audience didn't respect his wishes. It is difficult to perform and sing in confined space with no clean air. I do not know if the other European fans will be conformed but Greeks have a problem with rules anyway. Gagarin 205 was full of Metal (smoking) fans, the sound system played almost the entire Black Album (you figure out the band!) and finally, at 9:30pm the lights went off.

The first notes from The Titanic Overture came as a broken crystal glass to our ears. The projector started to play in video the story o Jonathon Aaron Steel in black and white. Two purple sidelights were 'on' the band so that the viewing audience could see the projection clearly. Blackie made it clear that the protagonist was Jonathan and the story of Crimson Idol. The Invisible Boy kicked in, Jonathan as a young kid was psychologically pressured by his father and his faith and then beaten like an animal; after his brother death in a car accident Jonathan leaves home. Arena Of Pleasure is next, and our hero arrives to the big city (Hollywood) at the age of 16 not knowing if he will see 17. Great scene was the one where he smashes a music shop's window and steals the BC Rich Warlock guitar to become a rock star.

The creepy sound of the chainsaw and the fast edgy rhythm from W.A.S.P. cut your heart in the middle. Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue): this is where Blackie wants to show the methods of the record companies, meaning how they manipulate and squeeze the dreams of young kids with the rock star promise and way of life. The Gypsy Meets The Boy begins with the acoustic guitar intro, where Jonathon meets a fortune teller that tells him to be careful what you wish 'cause it may come true, but our hero wants to be the crimson idol of a million eyes. Jonathan finds out that the life of a rock star is not as glamorous as it seems with Doctor Rockter by his side, feeding him all kinds of drugs that put him in a land of lies and illusions. Jonathan sinks into his own self.

I Am One is the moment where Jonathan understands he has become something bigger than him; he is 18 years old and wonders if he has a family, he wants to prove to his parents he is 'somebody', and the moment he thinks he is the 'one' he makes his final attempt to reach out for help. He makes the call to his parents and the only thing he could hear was we have no son. This was the time for The Idol. I could see tears in the eyes of everyone around me; I was no exception. The song that touches heavy metal souls and makes them bend and melt. Is the feeling of loneliness that weakens you, when love is nowhere? Scared of his solitude, Jonathan turns to a woman for comfort and security;

Hold On To My Heart comes to finish us off. Everybody sings along with Blackie Lawless, the cry for love is all around like there is a Jonathan inside us. But some wounds will never heal. Shattered by fame and loneliness Jonathan decides: I don't wanna be the crimson idol of a million eyes.

Another great scene with Jonathan in a small space with mirrors all around him, he realizes the monster he has become and smashes his idol with a guitar. This is about emptiness and facing your own demons, incredible how the picture and Blackie's songs communicate with the audience. The Great Misconceptions Of Me shows Jonathan on stage, he removes the strings from his Warlock guitar, shapes them into a noose and hangs himself. The absolute rock n' roll suicide. The hanged rock star stands in front of our eyes relieved from all the pain, destroyed himself with fame, money and drugs that lead him to this cruel suicide solution. The absence of love killed him and in the screen appears Jonathan lives here...still.

We are in absolute owe for the artist named Blackie Lawless and his band. They delivered a difficult piece of music very accurately and - the most important - they delivered the feeling of Crimson Idol. Yes, we could hear playbacks, overdubs and pre-recording parts, so what? Everything is part of the show.

After a short break W.A.S.P. returned on stage to perform a setlist of classic songs like L.O.V.E. Machine, Wild Child, I Wanna Be Somebody and Blind In Texas, along with Hate To Love Me from the Unholy Terror album and Take Me Up from W.A.S.P.'s latest release Dominator.
The sound was great and the voice of Blackie always unique, but in the last song (Blind In Texas) he was obviously exhausted. Doug Blair handled all the guitar parts incredibly, Mike Duda on bass was once again very energetic and powerful; the other half of Lawless on stage. Mike Dupke had a hard task on drums but he made it through with the minimum of mistakes.

W.A.S.P. sent us home with powerful emotions, once again. Blackie proved that he is - first of all - an artist who can provoke our thoughts in many ways. It is something that we all need. Until next time...

Don't act surprised, I've seen what you do
Cut the dramatics and kill off the boy that's in you
Trust me ya fool, I'm the monster inside you

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