Snow chaos in Switzerland – perfect timing, because it is now when many great bands are on tour. In the afternoon there is so much snow already that the trip to Pratteln becomes a real adventure. This might be the reason that the attendance does not quite meet the expectations, still there are about 900-1000 fans at Z7 who dared to leave their safe homes to see W.A.S.P & Support.
Dark at Dawn
Outside there´s a snow storm, inside the Germans Dark at Dawn have the pleasure to open the concert evening. Although this band has been around since 1994, I have to admit that I have never heard of them before. Musically their „Rock-Metal“ does not quite fit to the headliner. And the show does not really convince me either; as it seems, the majority of the audience shares my opinion. Singer Thorsten seems a bit stiff and too busy to find the correct pitch, therefore no interaction with the audience. Although their music is quite nice and they enjoy playing in Switzerland for the first time, live they are missing a certain edge to inspire the audience.
Also in this case the music doesn´t quite go with W.A.S.P. Although in my opinion you cannot really expect management or who-ever to find the perfect fit to the headliner for every single concert, in this case I think they made the wrong choices. Alpha Tiger do play Speed Metal – Leggins Rock from the 80s, but they sound very 2012 and very modern, compared to „back then“. When it comes to outfit, the guys have sqeezed into tight leggins in neon colours, they wear studded panties, headbands, studded belts and other gimmicks. The guys supporting singer Stephan Dietrich try everything to entertain the audience, but they do not always succeed. I have to admit that I cannot stand this high-pitched screeching very long and rather spend some time outside, despite the snow storm.
A changeover and some delay, then finally the intro of the „30 Years of Thunder“–tour, lights dim and only the huge W.A.S.P. logo on stage can be seen. With „On your knees“ the lights go on and Doug, both Mikes and Mr. Blackie Lawless enter the stage. The guys give it all, and the audience never ceases to celebrate their heroes. When the third song „The Real Me“ is played, the logo is replaced with screens, where various video clips are shown. All 4 give a great performance and Blackie proves that a few gestures and steps are enough for a show, you don´t need to do a lot of posing – what many front men and women are nowadays doing. Less is more sometimes.
Blackie is usually pretty reserved when it comes to addressing the audience, this time it´s different. On every evening of this tour he has been telling a different story from his 30years career, and indeed it is a different story every time, not always the same rehearsed BS. In Helsinki for example he told the story of his microphon stand called „Elvis“ which is adorned with a human skeleton – and almost crushed him to death when he used it first. In Pratteln he reveals the dark side of fame – another example that he is just an ordinary guy who isn´t really into this ado about his person. He is doing it because music is his dream and also dreams have their dark sides.
Blackie seems in good mood which improves from song to song – maybe also because this is the last show of the tour and he can go back to California. Still the band plays a high quality gig with a 30min interlude featuring songs of the Crimson Idol record, which is extremely touching. Unfortunately the mentioned „Elvis“ is not part of the show, because Blackie has a shoulder injury from a couple of days before and this microphone stand would be too heavy to handle. Nevertheless this show is the absolute highlight of my long concert list of 2012. And you could not pick a better song than „Blind in Texas“ to round up the finale of the European part of „30 Years of Thunder Tour“. Let´s hope for another 30 years (well, a bit unrealistic maybe) of good W.A.S.P music.