W.A.S.P. kicked off their 40th-anniversary tour in Las Vegas on Friday, unearthing their controversial debut single “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)” for the first time since 2006.
You can watch videos from the performance and see the full set list (via setlist.fm) below.
The Blackie Lawless-led quartet — which also features bassist Mike Duda, guitarist Doug Blair and drummer Aquiles Priester — delivered a 12-song set that featured popular singles such as “L.O.V.E. Machine,” “Wild Child,” “Blind in Texas,” “I Wanna Be Somebody” and a cover of the Who’s “The Real Me,” which first appeared on W.A.S.P.’s 1989 album The Headless Children. Elvis, the singer’s enormous, skeletal microphone stand, was also present.
But for many, the focal point of the set was surely “Animal,” which Lawless previously retired from the band’s live repertoire after becoming a born-again Christian.
“We haven’t done that song for several years. And it’s totally because of my religious faith, and it’s something that I don’t want to do anymore, and I will never play that song again,” Lawless told Norway’s FVN.no (via Blabbermouth) in 2009. “What can I do to be a positive influence? So I’m looking at what I’m doing and I’m trying to create the best example that I can. I don’t want 13-year-olds going around singing that song. If that’s something they wanna do later in their life, that’s their business. But, like I said, it’s a question of faith and the religious conviction that I have.”
“Animal” was originally supposed to serve as the opening track on W.A.S.P.’s 1984 self-titled debut album, but Capitol Records buckled under pressure from the Parents Music Resource Center and removed it. (The song appears on the 1998 CD reissue of W.A.S.P.) The PMRC also added “Animal” to its “Filthy 15” list of morally objectionable songs, and W.A.S.P. instead had to issue it as a single on the independent Music for Nations label.
Shortly after W.A.S.P. announced their 40th-anniversary tour — their first U.S. trek in over a decade — Lawless told Eddie Trunk he had softened his stance on playing “Animal.” When he spoke to UCR earlier this year, the bandleader did not confirm whether the song would return to their set lists because they had not begun rehearsals yet, but he did discuss his motivation for mounting the ambitious tour.
“I’ve always thought the testament of a real career was not if an artist could do it for five years or for 10 years,” Lawless said. “It was more like, could you do it for 20? Could you do it for 30? And then you start going beyond that, and it’s head-scratching time then. It’s a testament to the relationship between any artist and their fan base because all artists have to be willing to take that fan base on a lifelong journey. And to do that, you need to effectively crack open your skull and allow that audience to come in and walk around barefooted inside your head.”
Watch W.A.S.P. Play ‘Animal’ / ‘The Real Me’ on 10/28/22
Watch W.A.S.P. Play ‘Love Machine’ on 10/28/22
Watch W.A.S.P.’s Full Set at House of Blues Las Vegas on 10/28/22
W.A.S.P., House of Blues, Las Vegas, 10/28/22
1. “On Your Knees” / “The Flame” / “The Torture Never Stops” / “Inside the Electric Circus”
3. “L.O.V.E. Machine”
4. “Wild Child”
5. “Heaven’s Hung in Black”
6. “Arena of Pleasure”
7. “The Idol”
8. “The Great Misconceptions of Me”
9. “Chainsaw Charlie (Murders in the New Morgue)”
10. “Blind in Texas”
11. “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)” / “The Real Me” (The Who cover)
12. “I Wanna Be Somebody”
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There’s nothing guilty about these pleasures.