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“Lemme ask you somethin’
I’ve been readin’ an’ awful lot
In the newspapers and the magazines
About me ‘n my boys here
And I was readin’ one article in particular
About an organization you might have heard of before, they’re called
While nothing essential, it’s probably good for up and coming W.A.S.P. fans to take a look into this release, if only for one sitting. At the time it served as a holder between Inside The Electric Circus and The Headless Children, but nowadays it’s a great benefit that gives new listeners a glimpse into the older days of W.A.S.P.. That’s not to say that Blackie can’t still put on fantastic concerts with the band today, but back then they did it wildly under the backdrop of the 80s and with the “classic” line-up.
“I read, I read that they said
That they think that WE ARE SEXUAL PERVERTS!
Now this is coming from an organization called
‘The Washington Wives’
Now I don’t know about you,
But to me that sounds like
Some sort of god damn Jackie Collins Hollywood fuckin’ novel if you ask me…”
Production on this I figured would be good enough since this became an official release, and to my surprise it sometimes sounds studio quality. Of course, there are dead giveaways that assures the listener that its all live, but sometimes you really get that idea, except in the case of the last track (“Scream Until You Like It”) because its essentially just a recording. I was never a big fan of this track (even though its kind of fun), but the other two tracks, “The Manimal” and “Harder Faster,” are really when the crowd goes wild.
“… Well this is for that whole bunch
Because they can suck me, SUCK ME! EAT ME RAAWWWW!
THIS IS HARDER! FASTER!”
As you can see by the accompanying in-concert intro, “Harder Faster” is probably the best addition to this release and is a song you would do well hearing. It’s much more on the epic level of The Headless Children with it’s fantastic bridge section while still maintaining a glam approach like the previous albums. It’s a weird blend, but “The Manimal” is mostly just the same old stuff (nothing too interesting) with a kick to it. The production brings out the guitar tone much more than anything else, sounding very akin to Inside The Electric Circus moreso than the surging The Last Command. Holmes I could damn well tell stole the whole show here while Blackie’s voice sounds grave and grainy as always.
Unfortunately for Johnny Rod, he didn’t really get to shine on this release. You can hardly hear the bass on some tracks, but others it’s kind of there. It doesn’t play a huge role, but what strikes me more is how well the guys manage to make it all sound nearly as good as the studio versions. Another problem I found, though, is that when they’re pretty much fully into the song, the band sounds like they’re barely getting any amp output. I don’t know, it may be because I can’t hear the audience, but it sort of sounds like they’re only able to get so much power to fill up a certain amount of the arena. During some quiet moments, you can hear the crowd still going crazy, but it’s hard to decipher, really.
While bass is hard to hear, the drums sound like shit, there’s no two ways about it. It’s sounds like garbage cans / tree bark on plywood. Riley is a capable enough drummer, I know that for sure, but the sound here is pretty bad and can best be left hovering in the back of your mind while you focus on the guitars and vocals.
The experience as a whole it pretty captivating, and most of the time you can really feel like you know what’s going on that during that time-twisting night. For fans who are picking up W.A.S.P. in chronological order, then you must hear this before you go ahead with The Headless Children. It isn’t a mandatory deal, but if you truly enjoy this band, then it can be quite an interesting, nostalgic step to take in your journey.
I must say...'Live...in the Raw' (or, according to my CD., 'Live...in the Rain') is probably one of my favorite WASP albums. Despite the fact that is merely a live album - or, a best of up to that point in there career, for all you cynics out there - WASP proves that they can put on one helluva show, even though their guitarist was, most certainly, piss drunk.
In classic Jani fashion...I shall go over each track with my critique.
Inside the Electric Circus - the opening with that guy talking is pointless...thats one thing that really gets my goat about old live albums, you have to listen to people introduce the band. Strong drums on this track, and you can actually understand what Blackie is singing. Thats pretty cool.
I Don't Need No Doctor - I've listened to this song about 50 times since I bought this album. I've never gotten sick of it. Gets right to the point and also a good karaeoke track. The backup vox are recognizable, in almost a Def Leppard way...like, you can say, 'Hey! those are WASP backup vox!'. Of course, not as famous as Def Lep backups, and not as annoying.
L.O.V.E Machine - A classic. But in a 'Wildchild' case, sounds just like the studio album version.
Wildchild - I think it sounds almost exactly how the studio album 'Wildchild' does...makes me wonder. HMMM.
9.5.-N.A.S.T.Y. - Oh, yes. ANOTHER song where the word has to be spelled out. Once again, WASP shows their AMAZING spelling skills. They can spell complicated words like: love, bad, and nasty. I'm in awe.
anyway, for some reason, I didn't like this song until I heard the lyric: you're everything I need. Go figure, it added a lot to the song. I liked the way Blackie sang it, or something...An otherwise charming song about calling a sex hotline; I adore the concept.
Sleeping (in the fire) - Meh. I'm sick of this song. I really like it, but I think it's awful live...just hasn't got any character.
The Manimal - w00t! The song with the awesome SWIRLY guitar riff! This is another one of the great karaeoke classics (just make sure no one's listening). Although...that riff...
If you have no clue what I'm talking about, its before Blackies 'Ever since I was a little boy...' narrative.
The narrative too...thats SOME fun. I'd say this album is worth buying for this song alone, seeing as its not on any other album.
I Wanna be Somebody - See 'Sleeping (in the fire)'
Harder Faster - I have a soft spot for this song...just a good ol' fashioned WASP song, the kind you won't hear until 2000 after this album. While quite similar to 'Sex Drive' and 'Shoot from the Hip' (the latter and 'Harder Faster' share a riff), it's chorus is far superior to both of them.
But this song is worthy of throwing your stereo out the window if you're...um...*ahem* You know.
Blind in Texas - See 'I Wanna Be Somebody'. But I do love how long it took Chris to say: 'Hey Long Beach...LETS PARTY!' It's an instant comedy classic.
Were they even AT Long Beach? O.o
Scream Until You Like It - I resisted listening to this song for the longest time because Blackie, seductively, saying: 'come on in' and then that crazed 'AHAHAHA!' really, REALLY freaked me out.
It's an average song, the chorus is somewhat annoying...but you obviously can't expect much for a soundtrack song.
I will listen to it, however, because the pre-chorus: 'From your head down to your - OH!' is quite bitchin'
Overall, a pretty killer album, but there are some things that could be better...but there's just no fighting setlists.
"Live...In The Raw" is the first official Wasp live album - and while certainly not being a bad release in itself - somehow fails to catch the power and energy that you would imagine from a Wasp live show.
The main problem on this disc is the production - which sounds rather flat for a live release - and is rumoured to be polished and overdubbed in the studio a lot (although i'm not completely certain how much is true - but it could be an explanation for this).
The setlist in itself is quite decent - with the main atraction on here being of course the three completely NEW songs (and very good ones at that) "The Manimal" and "Harder Faster", which would never be found on a regular studio album in the past or future and the studio track "Scream Untill You Like It" (from the Ghoulies soundtrack). Apart from that it's basically a "best off" setlist although it sadly does miss out on a handfull of essential classics as far as i'm concerned (namely "Animal", "Hellion", "On Your Knees", "Sex Drive") - but of course this was mostly corrected by the superior "Double Live Assassins" about 10 years later.
As it stands it's certainly a nice inbetween release, nothing spectacular, but certainly not worth overlooking either - even if it was just for the three new tracks on here.