After two decades of observing the controversial artist who has been blamed for inspiring horrific acts, I have come to one definitive conclusion… Marilyn Manson fans do not know how to dress for the weather. When I saw the shock rocker open for Alice Cooper at Red Rocks, his fans came out on a sweltering hot summer day decked out in Goth wear. Their journey up the amphitheater’s many steps was extremely difficult because they were dressed like they were attending the wicked witch’s funeral. Five years later on a cold winter night, I found myself standing outside waiting for the doors to open to witness his latest production. A large number of his fans were shivering in their black t-shirts and dangerously short skirts (Industrial Goth Metal fans do not believe in coats). Don’t they understand the flu vaccine is only 32% effective this year?
|Marilyn Manson fans|
Brian Warner AKA Marilyn Manson started to shock America when Nine Inch Nails’ lead singer Trent Reznor produced his first album and recruited him to be the opening act for their Downward Spiral tour in 1994. Since then Manson had a number of hit songs, married and divorced burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese, and acted in a variety of movie and television roles. Saturday’s show was originally scheduled in October, but a stage prop fell on Manson and broke his fibula in two places (Rock and Roll is a dangerous business). This delayed his Heaven Upside Down tour until the beginning of the year.
Before the theatrics begun, the auditorium filled with thick fog. The crowd started to chant, “Manson, Manson, Manson.” The haze started to dissipate and the house lights went dark. A Marilyn Manson’s cover of Cry Little Sister from the 1987 Lost Boys movie soundtrack played over the PA. The crowd suddenly shoved closer to the stage throwing bodies across the auditorium.
Manson entered the stage in an electronic wheelchair (shaped like a throne) with his stage-hands dressed in medical scrubs. It was a perfect way to incorporate his injury into his act. Manson set a dark mood immediately with the song The Reflecting God from his Antichrist Superstar album. “Saw heaven and hell were lies/When I’m God everybody dies.“
Manson stood up for the next few songs showing his cast for his broken leg. He continued to use the wheel chair off and on throughout the night. Manson looked like he was in pain, but he has always seemed distressed. Mobscene had the crowd singing, “Be obscene, be be obscene” like demonic cheerleaders. This lead to a few songs from Manson’s new album Heaven Upside Down. Surprisingly, a large percentage of the crowd already knew the lyrics. It got a little scary during Kill4 Me. Manson chanted, “Would you kill, kill, kill for me?/I love you enough to ask you again/Would you kill, kill, kill for me?”
|Manson with his Sweet Dreams|
After every song, Manson would drop the microphone and the stage would go dark. His roadie would hunt for the mic with a green light and place it back in Manson’s hands before the next song. Manson introduced The Dope Show by having his “medical” crew bring him something to smoke on stage. He shouted with a voice that didn’t sound all that sober, “I don’t like the drugs but the drugs like me.” During the Eurythmics Sweet Dreams, Manson was placed on a hospital gurney while his “”doctors” tried to sedate him. After attempting to tap the rhythm on his bass player’s guitar, he ended the night with The Beautiful People with no encore. His followers left the venue quickly because they didn’t have jackets to retrieve from the coat check.
There are definitely ways to win crowds over when you are an opening act. You could compliment the audience’s enthusiasm, cheer for the local sports teams, or admire the city’s beauty. But there is one sure way to turn the people against you. It’s saying the wrong name of the city. That’s exactly what supporting act Victoria Harrison stage name Amazonica did shortly into her set. She asked if Salt Lake City was excited to be there (the tour played in Utah the previous night). That’s when the crowd booed the London DJ. Amazonica has been spinning records for after parties for the likes of Liam Gallagher, Deftones, and U2. During her set, Amazonica spun records from Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, The Beastie Boys, and The Doors. The crowd seemed to like her pick of songs. It was almost enough to forgive her from thinking Denver was anything like the land of the Mormons. Amazonica posted, “Denver!!! … not salt Lake City #Blonde #British #doh” on her social media. Later I noticed that Marilyn Manson mentioned “Denver” an unusual amount of times during his performance.
See you at the next show. I’ll be the one not dressed for the weather strapped down on a hospital gurney.