October 28, 2000
Marilyn gets down on the audience.
Story by Tony BonyataThe vampires and freaks made it. So did the boys in skirts and bloodied girls in wedding attire. Even Madonna and Hunter S. Thompson, with freshly shaved pate, popped in. It may have been Halloween at Milwaukee's Eagles Ballroom but it really didn't matter, because this same gaggle of goons would've showed up anyway. It was, after all, the return of the Antichrist Superstar to rock's soiled pulpit that brought this ill garbed tribe together.
Photos by Phil Bonyata
In the second show from his 'Guns, God and Government' tour, in support of his latest goth-opera Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death), Marilyn Manson pulled out all the stops. His carnival of carnage included huge crutch-like stilts, pope's outfit, Scott Weiland's megaphone and a 15-foot volcanic gown with Manson erupting from its orifice like a vile mass of white lava.
With his Ziggy Starbucks caffeinated glam garb tucked back in the closet from his ill-fated Mechanical Animals tour, Manson seems to have fallen back to his former position as Satan's boot-licking publicist. With shoulder length black locks, pasty pallor and long leather frock this could have been an anorexic Liza Minelli auditioning for a George A. Romero slasher flick. But instead this cadaverous shaman proved to be one of rock's master thespians, stealing the glare of the spotlight while putting a collective headlock on his ravenous fans.
Nevermind that he's neatly lifted every last morsel of Vegas horror from Alice (right down to the disemboweled baby backdrop), because Manson manages to one up the Billion Dollar Baby, with longer crutches, a band that's more taut and modern day metal anthems that scream sweet nothings into the ears of today's confused youth.
Strip away Cooper's nightmare, however, and what we're left with is a guy who unabashedly apes his mentor - Trent Reznor. Manson's down-your-throat stage presence wasn't the only similarity to Nine Inch Nails. The industrial infused metal performed from Holy Wood, along with Lhasa apso coifed Twiggy Ramirez' chugging guitar and sonic sludge from keyboardist Madonna Wayne Gacy, sounded like a Reznorian absinthe bender.
Along with a slew of newer numbers such as "Cruci-Fiction in Space," "The Death Song" and the goose-stepping first single from the new album, "Disposable Teens", Manson and henchmen ran through tight reworkings of older songs such as "The Dope Show," clad in expensive fur coat, "Tourniquet," "The Beautiful People" and their sinister take on The Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams." With a mid-tour tightness, the band treated the devoted, eager to see and hear the 'new' Marilyn, to a brief but well-oiled show that neatly balanced old and new.
With almost as many costume changes as a Cher show, and more props than P.T. Barnum's got under his big top, Marilyn Manson has successfully turned this thing known as shock-rock theater into his own Sick du Soleil.
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