The usual suspects convened on the House of Blues last Friday night (02.01.08) for an intimate sold out show with shock rocker Marilyn Manson.
Unfortunately, the powers that be booked a very lackluster band to open the show. Originally from New Jersey, Ours had little to offer the crowd in terms of musicianship or showmanship. A mismatch with Manson in terms of sound and appearance, the band’s performance did not go over well with the crowd. Besides the fact that the singer lacked charisma and vocal range, he seemed to try his best to channel Bono and did so with regrettable results. People all around me were utterly baffled as to why such a band would be booked to tour with Marilyn Manson, as they were alt-rock and belonged on a tour with The Goo Goo Dolls, at best. Thankfully, their set was brief.
One thing that will always stay true when you go to see a Marilyn Manson show- he definitely knows how to make an entrance. As the lights dimmed and the veil between the crowd and the stage dropped, Mr. Manson took the stage in a fury.
Finally reunited with longtime bass player, Twiggy Ramirez, the entire show was a homage to the music the two wrote together in the early days. Manson acknowledged:
“The turning point for me was when I went to see Led Zeppelin’s reunion show, and I saw Jimmy Page and Robert Plant look at each other for a moment, and they probably said, ‘Holy shit, we wrote ‘Stairway To Heaven.’ I wanted that look again. I want to look at Twiggy and go ‘Holy shit, we wrote ‘The Beautiful People.’ I called him and I said ‘Let’s go do this. We started music together because we wanted to bring about the apocalypse, and we realized we didn’t finish. The world could suffer much more if we were together again, and we really wanted to bring back the suffering.”
“Crucifixion in Space” from ‘Holy Wood’ opened the show and quickly reminded us why Marilyn Manson is better with Twiggy by his side. The energy onstage was electric, with the duo playing as much off of each other as they did the crowd. You could really sense the joy that the two felt being reunited onstage, and the rest of the band responded in a similar fashion, playing a tight set that focused on the ferocity of the ‘Antichrist Superstar’ days as well as the social commentary and the glam rock hedonism of ‘Mechanical Animals’ and ‘Holy Wood.’
There was also a palpable sense of Manson’s homecoming. He reminisced about losing his virginity in Cleveland and seemed to relish being amongst friends and family. Without all the flash and stage props that normally accompany a Manson show in a larger venue, this show was more about the music and the reunion of two of rock and roll’s most entertaining musical talents: Manson and Twiggy.
Noticeably absent were tracks from the new album ‘Eat Me, Drink Me.’ Only two songs –the first two singles, “If I Was Your Vampire” and “Heart Shaped Glasses” actually made it into the set. Even the latest single from the album, “Putting Holes in Happiness,” was axed, in part, it seemed, to emphasize the departure of guitarist Tim Skold, who was primarily responsible for the bombastic solo that dominated the track. Songs that had not been played live in years worked their way into the set, and fans were treated to the wonderfully raunchy and raucous oldie “Rock and Roll Ni**er” midway through the evening. Manson preened and posed with authority and the crowd responded to his every move with ferocious ardor. Manson’s vocals were in top form and his showmanship piqued by the inclusion of Twiggy in the mix. When the band launched into “Little Horn,” a rarely played track from ‘Antichrist Superstar,’ the crowd exploded. The early days of Manson were in full swing as he dedicated another rarely played track, “1996,” to his newly returned sidekick. The crowd was showered in snow for “Coma White/Coma Black” as Manson played the first (and only) ballad of the evening.
In the end, those who braved the cold and the crunch of the crowd were rewarded heartily for their efforts. Manson put on a show that reminded us that the best days are behind us, as well as ahead.