Losing Power, Gaining Pounds
The Former King Of Shock-Rock Is Still Out On Tour And Has A Basketful of Fans And Hit Songs, But The Glamour Is Beginning To Fade
Marilyn Manson. Image by SomewhatDamaged2 and used under a Creative Commons license.
By Jeff Moses
Modern Times Magazine
June 4, 2013 — Though seeing a megastar like Marilyn Manson at a venue as intimate as The Marquee Theater is quite an exciting prospect, in reality, seeing the 44 year old “Antichrist Superstar,” fall apart on stage is not that cool.
Long gone are Manson’s glory days of raucous onstage antics and controversial personal appearances, and what’s left is just pudgy middle aged guy struggling to maintain his mass appeal.
On his last visit to the Valley, Manson’s fan base was forced to watch Rob Zombie blow their hero off of the stage during their “co-headlining” — Zombie was really the headliner — set at last year’s Desert Uprising show at the Cricket Pavilion. This time Manson was the lone main attraction and though his loyal fans came out in droves to worship at the altar of their “Personal Jesus.” He appeared out of breath and drugged up — the rumor that ran through the crowd was Manson was coming down off a three day meth binge.
The result? He proved he cannot put on a show the way he did in the mid 1990s.
Manson opened with “Angel With Scabbed Wings,” performing the first half of the song in his black skull mask, which he also donned during the first half of his opening song at Uprising. Manson also wore his studded trench coat to open the night, most likely so photographers wouldn’t catch shots of his beer gut.
Following “Scabbed Wings,” Manson went into “Disposable Teens,” “No Reflection,” and then “Pistol Whipped,” and all of the performances lacked the panache which Manson became known for in his heyday, perhaps partially because he is working with B-squad musicians like Fred Sablan, Jason Sutter and Spencer Rollins.
A band that once had members by the names of Daisy Berkowitz, Olivia Newton Bundy, and Madonna Wayne Gacy is now rocking with Fred, Jason, and Spencer?
What the Hell is going on?
The only reminiscence of the former shock-rock glory days is lead guitarist Twiggy Ramirez who made his best impact as bass player for Manson and lacks the zing that former Manson guitarists like Zim Zum and John 5 brought to the table.
Perhaps Ramirez can join his former bandmates John 5 and Ginger Fish in former Manson touring partner Rob Zombie’s band, and pick the bass back up, instead of acting as a second rate guitarist for the notoriously hard to work with Manson.
After “Pistol Whipped,” Manson took a costume change into a white fur blazer and performed a lackluster rendition of “Dope Show.” One thing I can say for the playing of that song is he did not have the same disaster with his light up “Drugs” sign that he had at Uprising — the “s” in “drugs” wouldn’t light up — but that was because he forwent the sign all together at the Marquee.
“Rock is Dead,” and then “Great Big White World,” were next up before Manson broke out the big guns with his cover of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus,” which he performed with upside down American flags flanking him on either side.
Next up was “mOBSCENE,” before Eurhythmics cover “Sweet Dreams,” followed by “This Is The New Shit.”
The Antichrist superstar podium finally made an appearance while Manson performed the first track off of that album, “Irresponsible Hate Anthem,” before closing the night with a planned encore performance of “Beautiful People.”
The crowd didn’t seem to mind the more portly Manson and cheered him just the same throughout the entirety of his mediocre set.
The show was essentially a warm up of sorts for Manson, who will embark on the Masters of Madness Tour with the original shock rocker Alice Cooper, and opening act Picture Me Broke tonight in Colorado at the legendary Red Rocks amphitheater. Hopefully he is bringing more to the table then he brought to Phoenix in his last two go rounds.
Jeff Moses is the Music/Arts editor of Modern Times Magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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