It’s hard to believe that this year marks the 25th anniversary of W.A.S.P’s seminal album The Crimson Idol.

Back in 1992 W.A.S.P toured the album, which included both appearances at the Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donnington as well as a show in the North East of England at the Newcastle City Hall.

Despite the fact that only Blackie Lawless remains from the band’s line-up at that time, W.A.S.P are back out on the road once more to celebrate this milestone anniversary for their treasured concept album. Tonight Lawless and company arrive on Tyneside to play this timeless classic in full to a room packed full of loyal W.A.S.P fans.

Opening the show this evening is the hard rocking British quartet The Cruel Knives. The band features both Sid Glover and Rob Ellershaw of Heaven’s Basement, together with Tom Harris and Al Junior.

The energetic four-piece most certainly win over the large crowd in attendance early on with a 30-minute set which revolves around tracks from their debut EP such as “Keep Me On A Fucking Leash” and “Crawl”. The Cruel Knives leaves the audience more than warmed up for the mighty W.A.S.P.

Of course, The Crimson Idol was W.A.S.P’s fifth studio album and centres around fictional rock star Jonathan Steel. The record depicts both the rise and fall of the latter.

As the band takes to the stage to the “Titanic Overture” the room is plunged into darkness, with a deep crimson spotlight illuminating Lawless throughout most of the show.  Accompanying the music or the soundtrack to The Crimson Idol as it is portrayed is a trio of video screens at the rear of the stage which displays a previously unseen black and white movie illustrating the story of Jonathan Steel with each composition.

Over the next hour or so W.A.S.P takes the O2 Academy Newcastle through The Crimson Idol from start to finish, with few pauses or opportunities to interact with the audience. The album segment of the show is completely uninterrupted.

Tracks like “Chainsaw Charlie (Murders in the New Morgue)”, “Doctor Rockter” and “I Am One” are brought to life thanks to the incredible musicianship of frontman Black Lawless, Doug Blair who in places grapples with his double neck guitar, and the formidable rhythm section of Mike Duda (bass) and Mike Dupke (drums).

It may have been 25 years since The Crimson Idol was released but the Newcastle W.A.S.P fans haven’t forgotten any of the words, as they sing their hearts out all night long.

As the album segment of the show is brought to a close with an epic rendition of “The Great Misconceptions of Me”, both the band and the audience take a quick breather before W.A.S.P returns to the stage for a four-song encore of greatest hits and fan favourites.

Air raid sirens resonate around the room and classic W.A.S.P music videos are played out on the screens at the rear of the stage as the band quickly shift into a higher gear. The hits and classics packed encore include W.A.S.P’s take on the Quadrophenia era cut “The Real Me” by The Who, “Golgatha” from the band’s most recent album of the same name, before the anthemic “L.O.V.E Machine” and “I Wanna Be Somebody” bring the evening to a close.

In this day and age and with the advent of technology people don’t seem to listen to albums in full anymore, they consume songs, picking out their favourite tracks and streaming them via their device of choice. However, tonight the Geordie faithful got to hear The Crimson Idol in full and as the artist intended it to be heard. The whole show came together seamlessly, effortlessly and most importantly nostalgically.

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Event Date: 15-Oct-2017

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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