GUEST CONCERT REVIEW: W.A.S.P. w/ Metallica and Armored Saint – January 19, 1985

A treat for you boys & girls today!  A guest shot, a vintage concert review, and a significant one at that.  Remember when Metallica was just an opening act for mediocre bands?  Meat does.  And he’s back to tell you the story.  Enjoy the first guest shot of 2013, by Meat!


W.A.S.P. w/ METALLICA and ARMORED SAINT – January 19, 1985

By Meat

I was lucky at a young age to have the opportunity to see some great concerts.  The first concert of my life was at The Center in the Square in Kitchener, Ontario.  It was The Monks (remember “Drugs in my Pocket”?)  and I went with my childhood friend, Scott Hunter, and his mother.  I also saw the almighty Black Sabbath play the Kitchener Memorial  Auditorium, three days before my 12th birthday, on the Mob Rules tour on November 19, 1981. I saw Triumph on the Allied Forces tour play the Center in the Square, with my father not long after that.  But really my early concert experiences were mostly, and most memorably, with the aforementioned Scott Hunter.   I believe it was his uncle who had connections with a concert promotion at the time called CPI.  He would leave free tickets at Will Call for us at Maple Leaf Gardens or wherever the show was.  We saw the last Kiss tour with makeup at the time (Creatures of the Night tour) on January 14, 1983 with The Headpins opening.  Also saw the first ever Kiss tour without makeup (Lick it Up tour) on March 15, 1984 with Accept as the opening act.  As well as Motley Crue on the Shout at the Devil tour on June 10, 1984, at what is now the Ricoh Coliseum, also with Accept as support.   Many of these shows are quite memorable and monumental, but none so much as the first time I saw Metallica live.

I remember the first time Scott and I heard Metallica.  We would have a sleepover at his place every Friday night specifically because Toronto radio station Q107 had their “Midnight Metal Hour” on that night.  We would have first heard Metallica (“Seek and Destroy”) either late 1982 or early 1983, before Kill ‘Em All was even released.  Obviously it was an instant shot of Metal Up Our Ass!   Kill ‘Em All was released on vinyl and cassette on July 25, 1983.   I specifically remember  (but not exactly when) walking into a record store downtown Kitchener called Records on Wheels and buying that album, Anthrax’s Fistful of Metal and Van Halen’s 1984 on vinyl,  all during the same visit.   I also remember buying Metallica’s second album, Ride the Lightning, the day it was released.  Thanks to the World Wide Web, I know now that date was July 27, 1984. Starting grade ten that September, I was pushing Metallica on anyone that would be open to it at my high school.   There were a very select few of us who were die-hards and would have Sony Walkmans stuck to our heads at every opportunity possible.  Now I cannot recall if we got free tickets for this particular show, but I do remember how pumped I was when I knew I was gonna see Metallica live.

The bill was as follows: Armored Saint (with Anthrax’s John Bush on vocals), Metallica and W.A.S.P.  Yes you read that right.  Metallica was opening up for W.A.S.P.  I do know that further along on the tour, Metallica and W.A.S.P. would trade headlining sets due to the obvious buzz around Metallica at the time.  Here is a picture of an actual ticket stub of this show.  Note the price ($15.00) and Armored Saint being spelled wrong on the ticket.

ticket 1

One thing I will add before I go on.  Of all the concerts and bands I have seen multiple times live, it is kinda strange I only saw Metallica live twice ever.  One of the reasons for this is quite obviously that after their album Load (otherwise known as Mighty Load of Shit), I never really had a great interest in seeing the band live again.  But it is worthwhile noting that I have seen Metallica live twice and BOTH TIMES they were opening for someone else.  (The second time being the strange bill of The Black Crowes / Warrant / Metallica / Aerosmith on June 29, 1990 at CNE Exhibition Stadium in Toronto) Again, note the ticket price for this.  This was before The Eagles ruined ticket prices for all acts with the ridiculous prices for their shows.   To quote “The Dude”  I hate the fuckin’ Eagles.

ticket 2

So there we were, January 19th 1985 standing in line in front of the late great Toronto concert venue named The Concert Hall. It was freezing cold out, and windy too.   So since this was a General Admission event, standing in line braving at least -15 Celsius weather, you can imagine how cold and bitchy people were.  I recall the rush of metalheads being ushered  quickly into the venue.  The second I got in there I went straight for the merch booth and bought a Ride the Lightning tour shirt for me and a high school friend named Joe DeLeo.  After that, like seemingly everybody, I had to take a wicked piss.  After doing that, I was horrified when I tried to zip my probably really tight jeans back up, and couldn’t because my hands were numb from the cold.  My embarrassed horror turned to laughter as I turned my head to see dozens of much older and much larger long-haired headbangers all having the same problem.  Only in Canada I guess eh?

Sometime later, Armored Saint took the stage.  I remember them being great and how loud it was in there.  They were received well and that venue was filling up. While enjoying their set my buddy Scott gets my attention and points to the much-shorter person beside me.  Immediately I recognized him as Russell Dwarf from the Toronto band Killer Dwarfs. Their name was very apropos considering this band consisted of nothing but short dudes with long hair.  I can only imagine how this band got together.  Wonder if an ad went out that said.  “Metal musicians needed.  Must not be over 5 foot 6 inches tall and have long hair”.  I loved that first album.  If you don’t know of them, here is their first single and video.

It was time for the Mighty Metallica.  They started out with the first track off Ride The Lightning, the classic riff-monster “Fight Fire With Fire”.   At this point I was probably about mid-way to the stage in a sea of metalheads.  This was before the days of the “moshpit”.  This was more of a Hair Swarm packed with long-haired sardines covered in denim and leather.   It would have been about half-way through the show that I wormed my way to the front of the stage.  This was no easy task as I am sure you can imagine, however being only 15 and much smaller than the masses (with the exception of the Killer Dwarfs of course), there I was literally feet from what would become the best-selling metal band of all-time.  This brings me to a memory I will cherish forever.  The seemingly monstrous Cliff Burton was right in front of me.  I reached out and had in my hand, the bottom leg of his ragged bell-bottom jeans.  He tried to kick me in the face, and thankfully missed.  Can’t blame him either for trying to kick my head off, and honestly it was the first thing I thought of  when said legend died in a bus accident a year and a half later in Sweden on September 27, 1986. R.I.P. Clifford Lee Burton.  Check out this YouTube audio clip I found of Metallica playing “Seek and Destroy” from this exact show.  Gotta love YouTube.

Check out this set list of the show the next night in Buffalo at some place called the Salty Dog Saloon. (I couldn’t find the Toronto set list online but I am sure it is identical)

  • “Fight Fire With Fire”
  • “Ride the Lightning”
  • “Phantom Lord”
  • “(Anethesia) Pulling Teeth”
  • “For Whom the Bell Tolls”
  • “No Remorse”
  • “The Call of Ktulu”
  • “Seek & Destroy”
  • “Whiplash”


  • “Creeping Death”
  • Guitar solo
  • “Am I Evil?”
  • “Motorbreath”

Which brings me to winding down this novel of a concert review.  How could W.A.S.P. possibly follow Metallica?  Well, I do remember chants of “you suck”.  I remember that the front was nowhere near as packed as it was for Metallica.  Maybe Blackie thought he could follow them by drinking fake blood out of a skull (which he did).  Here is a quote from Mr. Blackie Lawless comparing separate tours with both Slayer and Metallica and musing about this particular tour.

Blackie: I’ll tell you what was worse – us and Metallica.  It was our first or second U.S. tour.  It was us, Metallica, and Armored Saint.  When they (Slayer) went out with us, they were still an up n’ coming band, didn’t have a lot of fans, so there was a pocket of division every night.  With Metallica, I kid you not, it was like an invisible line was drawn right down the middle of the room, and half was theirs and half was ours.  It didn’t matter what we were doing on stage.  It looked like two opposing armies.  Sometimes we just stopped what we were doing and watched. It was a war.

I realize that the merit of music is subjective and it is all in the Ear Of The Beholder.  But lets face it.  W.A.S.P. really does kinda suck.  Some good moments but really not much to speak of.  During their set myself and others that with us were just kind of mulling about as most others were really.  It was during this time that a guy we were with named Kevin B. (nicknamed Little Dude) said that he saw Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson leaving out a side door during their set.  Now to give some perspective on this, this person was a known bull-shitter.  None of us believed him.  True story:  Kevin years later had trans-gender surgery and now is known as Treva. But anyways, we shrugged this off as yet another lie from Little Dude.  It was months later reading a Blackie Lawless interview in Circus magazine that I read this quote.  “Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson were actually at one of our shows in Toronto last year…. But they were not there to see us.”    A classic example of the Little Dude who cried wolf.





    1. I’m just glad for Meat’s sake that he didn’t connect! That would have hurt!

      I know a guy who tried to grab Mark Mendoza from Twisted Sister’s leg and had the exact same reaction :)


  1. Awesome review Meat! You seen some awesome shows,I would really think u should review all the shows back in 83-85 that u seen….great stuff….


  2. Well thank you for the compliments gentlemen….. I did this review specifically cause i knew i had a fair amount of interesting stuff to share with and around it. I could do reviews for some or all of those shows i guess? However, my memories of most of them are not as clear and detailed as it is for that show. Too much acid in the early 90;s… ;) I am however organizing with a local musician friend of mine to do an entry.. a correlation comparing the careers of REM and Metallica. His perspective on REM is very similar to mine on Metallica. And the more we talked about it the more i realized that the career paths are ver similar. Hoping to do this and it should prove to be an interesting entry.


    1. Great review …seems like we had a similar life involving concerts & kitchener…I also was at this concert albeit in abit of a daze …I do remember it was an awesome show seeing to bands I just loved with my buddies …so many shows we probably have been to together would be surprized if we have crossed paths a few times …I remember seeing ozzy at the center in the square with randy roads ….another memorable show for me …my buddy darko use to keep all his ticket stubs …he must have had well over a hundred stacked up along with quite the record collection ..great memories & great times ….thankyou again for the review …I typed the lineup in as I am sitting here by a fire listening to tunes & your review came up brought me right back to that night so thankyou …put a smile on my face & since my buddy is no longer with us brought me back to good times with him..cheers
      P.s. I hope you do more reviews cause it is a good read

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the comment John. I think the Meat Man might be retired from writing but you can still catch him occasionally on the Contrarians Youtube for more of his opinion and wit :)


  3. I also have thought about doing an entry that would be something like … The 20 albums that in some way changed music for me .. something like that. Not my favorite 20 albums, but the ones that were the most significant to me personally. Oh and a song by song review of every Frank Zappa release … Should be finished that in the spring of 2016. ;)


  4. Cool review! And what a bunch of gigs to have seen! Would love to read more. I have to say my love for WASP just grows and grows… but I still wouldn’t ever have advised them taking Metallica out as a support act (or Armored Saint for that matter)!


    1. I get his point about W.A.S.P. though. They had some great material, but (in my opinion) not a lot of sheer great albums. I love the first record, the live one, Headless Children and to a lesser degree Crimson Idol, but a lot of the other albums can be hit and miss.

      When Meat has seen this gig, I hadn’t even heard one song by Metallica yet. I’d heard OF them, not heard them, and I think I’d only ever seen one picture of them.


      1. Oh yeah I wasn’t disagreeing with his point. I just wanted to show a bit of WASP love is all!

        I think when Meat saw this gig I wasn’t paying attention to music of any sort! Certainly not any Metal stuff…


        1. I was in grade 7 or 8 and was into metal seriously for the first time. Iron Maiden and W.A.S.P. mostly! I’d heard one or two songs by Priest, one or two by Sabbath, and was realizing it was the greatest music ever made :)

          I only dreamed of seeing a concert back then. Meat’s lucky to have seen them so young. And so many.


  5. I seen helix/wasp/Krokus in Winnipeg back in 85..wasp power went out on them after a few minutes and they were gonna split until people started booing they came back out probably by the urging of the promoter !…!


  6. Actually Krokus was,pretty good..Wasp played 2nd on the bill…so basically it was Krokus show and we were really into the One Vice At A Time and Headhuner albums and for all intent purposes The Blitz but than they stunk with Change of Address and I kinda passed on them…but I had seen Krokus open for Sammy Hagar a few months earlier in the states on Sammy’s VOA tour and they were quite good.
    For sure I was into wasp cuz they at a time were filling a void that Kiss was not doing at a time I mean the theatrics ,look etc…so it worked I mean they were still plugging on that debut album of there’s which was ptty good…
    Overall a pretty good show ,turnout was kinda low about 5,000 in a 12,000 arena….


    1. I think the W.A.S.P. debut album is really good, just about perfect. I really should do a writeup on it.

      Krokus are/were a very good band as well, hard to imagine them headlining though! I didn’t realize they were that big at any time!


  7. Yeah they headlined on the Blitz tour after the Hagar dates..I think I may have to check out that Wasp debut again as well…..after Last Commmand they lost me until Headless Childeren.


  8. Man, this is GREAT! You’re lucky to have kept all your ticket stubs. Your write-up makes me want to do my own Concert Memories post. What a job THAT would be!

    Your first concert experience was way better than mine! I have the Monks on vinyl. Sweet. Only band I saw at CITS was Glass Tiger! Hahaha.

    I suppose the Canucks who wrote up that ticket assumed it was Armoured, not Armored!

    You are so lucky to have seen all these bands so early. And here I am in 2012, I own all the Metallica records, and I still have not seen them live.

    Cool write-up, Meat. Thanks.


      1. That’s WAY better than my first real concert. I’d tell you here, but it’s kind of embarassing (in an 80s kinda way). I’m toying with the idea of doing up a concert memories-type post, see how much I can recall and putting it on KMA.


    1. thank you for the kind words. It was a hell of alot of fun to write and remember. And yes I would consider myself lucky. Oh and those are not my ticket stubs lol. I was surprised to find photos of them on the World Wide Web.


      1. Well, thank goodness for the kindness of others, throwing their ticket stubs up on the ‘net, eh? I went through a phase of keeping all my ticket stubs, even fought to keep one: Rolling Stones 1994, Voodoo Lounge with Stone Temple Pilots opening, at the Ex. Schlub at the gate was gonna keep my ticket stub. I said “no f-in’ way.” He was gonna fight me because he’d been keeping them all, and then saw the look on my face and relented, but not before punching a big hole through the ticket stub, right through the words. A-hole. Anyway.

        Lucky? Yes you are. You didn’t want Cliff to kick you in the head. I’ve been kicked in the head, in a mosh pit (seeing the band Live on their Throwing Copper tour, of all things), and it is NOT FUN. I don’t care who does it to you, Cliff Burton or some crowd-surfing punter moron, it sucks BIG-TIME.


        1. There was indeed. It was mid-90s, a 3-day festival, on the main night. We saw the Odds, Porno For Pyros, Live and then the Tragically Hip right in a row. By the time Live was on, and playing something like White, Discussion, the place was a madhouse. It was fun! Until, that is, some dumbass got me good, right in the temple. Not recommended.


        2. Hard to remember a time when the Odds and Live were that huge. But they were! I still love that second Live album. I don’t own any of the others anymore, but I do own Throwing Copper.


      2. Well thanks for your contribution, Mr. Meat. I don’t want to spoil what you have coming next, but I will say this:

        Uncle Meat has been writing, and will be back very very soon!


  9. Hi There…My Name is Andy Forgie and I was the lead vocalist with the opening band for The Monks! Your very first concert at The Centre In The Square. We were called Photograph and we had an album on Parlophone/Capitol. We had a minor league Canadian hit “The Last Dance”, and did several dates with The Monks, on their one and only tour in North America. They were a lot of fun & great guys! Just thought i would pass this along. Cheers!


    1. Wow …. I guess that means that you were the first singer i saw live in concert in my life. Interesting considering I myself became a lead singerat a fairly early age and have dabbled in several fairly meaningless projects, but great experiences….. Thank you for the post… I didnt realize that The Monks only did one North American tour i must say …

      And .. I am curious .. How did you come across this concert review? If you dont mind me asking… Fascinated … ;)


  10. I was at this show, I was 16. I too was standing right in front of Cliff, inches away from his bass solo. We must have been right beside each other, that’s hilarious. I remember having a Killer Dwarf sighting as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Almost no one heard Metallica on the radio during those years … unless you were listening to a specialized one hour from Midnight to 1 am that played only Metal. Snarky comments though seem to be a dime a dozen on the intranets though. Thanks for your ridiculous input


  11. I saw the same tour (“Ride”) with one difference. When the “Ride” tour got to the states, Metallica was the headliner. As it got back to me, Metallica CRUSHED WASP with easy & people left the shows after Metallica’s set ended (early in the tour; I was doing radio at the time & was one of the few shows who played Metallica at that time). I think the first night they headlined was NYC (3 nights at L’Amour). I was at the Chicago show (about 2 weeks later) & they blew the place up (or as my rap/hip hop fans would put it, they turned the place OUT)!! My friends & I also stood out in the cold that day (about 5-6 hours & probably in the teens, pre-wind chill- as I said, it was in Chicago & the wind is no joke here). Yep. One incredible show. You can find the show I was at on YouTube (Metallica, Chicago, 2/9/85). You won’t be disappointed!!


  12. I was at that show too & probably both did and didn’t fully appreciate the significance of the event. One memory I differ with considerably is the account of “…metalheads being ushered quickly into the venue.” I remember Toronto cops patting down EVERYONE and delaying the entry for concertgoers considerably. The pace picked up slightly when Armored Saint hit the stage and the audience members still trapped outside began to shout at the officers involved. Slayer & Sacrifice; DRI, Kreator & Holy Terror; Celtic Frost, Voivod & Slaughter; Motorhead & Razor; Motorhead & Exciter > There were a lot of good metal shows at the Concert Hall.
    Do you remember there also being a late-night, weekend metal show called the Power Hour? That one & the Midnight Metal Hour were on alternate nights on the weekend. One was on Q107 and the other was on ChumFM.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dickhead Blacky doesn’t want to remember the hell they went thru with SLAYER…. what a dick. Every fuckin’ night 2/3 of the halls were leaving after SLAYER…. not mentioning the die hard chants of the SLAYER army. That was so much intense than METALLICA that’s for sure. Poor blacky.


  14. I, also, was at this show! I was also at the same Motley show at the Ricoh that Meat mentioned. And the Kiss show… I remember always seeing the same people at shows as we all seemed to tour them together, independently. Those were good times and good days…

    It WAS a damn cold night! As an ’80s metalhead, I went to the show in a T-shirt and unlined leather jacket. As a Gen. Adm. show, we all got there early to line up and waited for hours, and it WAS hours. They let us in late (as someone earlier stated) and, yes, the cops held everyone back while they did full frisks. Armored Saint was already taking the stage while the first of us were being let in, and, as someone earlier mentioned, we were yelling at the cops to let us in! The show was starting…, and we we frozen.

    I remember the rush to the bathroom as we were frozen, and had waited for a few hours in line. (I think I remember someone bought coffees for those of us standing in line.) I sadly remember the problems with the frozen fingers, also. I can’t remember whether I bought my W.A.S.P. T-shirt before or after the washroom, but I still have it, and my ticket stub is somewhere in a box with all the others.

    Armored Saint didn’t excite me too much as I had bought my ticket to see the headliner. I was stage-front by mid-set and stayed there the rest of the night. When Metallica took the stage, they blew me away, as they did for everyone else. I had not heard of them before that night, and conversations with those around me indicated they truely were underground, and quite unknown to many of us. At some point I revisited the T-shirt booth, but when getting my Metallica wares, it was a sweatshirt (it was damn cold that night and I was riding the TTC home) and I still have it also, but it really shows its age. It’s only a keepsake now and no longer worn.

    I must have been standing beside Meat and Andy as I also saw the leg grab and Burton kick. I think I talked with Meat right after, and commented on the missed punt. I probably also saw Russ, Geddy and Alex there but likely wouldn’t have recognized them in person, but I remember always seeing familiar faces at each show of one or two a month; just never got names.

    W.A.S.P. took the stage and there were obvious fans in the crowd, as they were getting lots of Toronto airplay of their singles. I enjoyed their set, but went away with fond memories of the Metallica set. I already had my W.A.S.P. album but bought Ride The Lightning the next afternoon, and the new journey began.

    I have many memories of that show and think about it often. Finding this writeup today has been a gift! I’m saddened that I lost contact with all the people I would see, and talk with, each time we saw each other at the next show. Everyone always spent a few minutes catching up on the last few week’s adventures.

    I’m curious if anyone else remembers Blackie’s hardware issue during his set? His codpiece strap broke and popped off, leaving him bouncing around on stage. He made a quick exit to side stage for repairs and came back out about 20 seconds later; I remember his darting eyes scanning the audience looking for any knowing glances. It’s all rock and roll!


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