TVD Live Shots: W.A.S.P. and Armored Saint at the Wiltern, 12/11

It was the final stop on W.A.S.P.’s 40 Years Live World Tour 2022, and it lived up to all the hype and then some in front of a sold out crowd in Los Angeles on Sunday night. Joined by hometown heroes Armored Saint, both bands crushed their respective sets and highlighted why each are still at the pinnacle of their game some four decades later. This was metal at its finest in the City of Angels, and a perfect performance to wrap up an insane year of concerts here in Southern California.

I’ve been following W.A.S.P. and Armored Saint since I was a teenager, and they are still just as relevant today as they were back then in the heyday of metal here in Los Angeles. On a chilly Sunday evening, both bands left it all on the table as they wrapped up their 40 Years Live World Tour in front of a capacity crowd at The Wiltern Theater. Each set was sonically amazing and transported me back to a time when all that mattered was the music.

Opening Sunday’s show was none other than the mighty Armored Saint. I’ve seen this band many times over the years, but this particular show was by far the best I have ever seen them live. They took the stage with a reckless abandon and had the pedal to the metal throughout their 11-song set. John Bush’s vocals were spot on, and his typical high intensity performances paled in comparison to the supercharged version we saw on Sunday night.

The Sandoval Brothers (Phil, lead guitar and Gonzo, drums) were simply incredible and were nicely complemented by vicious rhythms of guitarist Jeff Duncan. And I’d be remiss not to mention the bad ass mother fucker on bass, Joey Vera. His energy was pegging at 11 all night long and such a joy to watch.

After a brief stage changeout, Blackie Lawless and Company finally joined the masses and did so in, well, typical W.A.S.P. fashion. The stage setup reminded fans of a three-ring circus with colorful lighting, clowns, and carnival barkers of all types. After a killer montage of their classics—which you really had to listen to closely to hear—Blackie immediately jumped onto his massive mike stand as the band ripped into their opener, “On Your Knees,” part of a 5-song medley. From that point on, the 10-song set was on, and fans were ready for the ride.

The band, including Mike Duda (bass), Doug Blain (lead guitar), and Aquiles Priester (drums) were simply incredible and demonstrated why they are some of the best in metal, bar none. And then there’s Blackie Lawless. Wow. His vocals were clean and powerful throughout the set as demonstrated in songs like “Wild Child” and “The Idol.”

The show wrapped up with a 3-song encore including “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast),” “The Real Me” (a Who cover), and my favorite, “I Wanna Be Somebody.” To me, this was the perfect way to wrap up a W.A.S.P. show and left fans wanting more when the house lights finally flickered back on. Thank you Blackie for an amazing 40 years!


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