Hard Rock Live, Orlando, Fl • January 19, 2008
A thick layer of white fog lay over Orlando from early morning until just before dark when the skies opened up and pounded the city with rain and pebbles of hail.
The whole town seemed painted as a horrifically perfect backdrop for the opening night of Marilyn Manson’s U.S. leg of the Rape of the World Tour.
The Hard Rock Live had sold out in advance and Manson fans of all shapes, sizes, and varying degrees of freakish hair and makeup had come out for what was sure to be the highlight of their holiday season.
Though the venue was on family-oriented Universal Studios’ property, I saw no bible thumpers with picket signs, and I must admit that I was a little disappointed. What’s wrong with the world when Marilyn Manson doesn’t incite a protest? Is nothing shocking anymore?!
After essentially booing opening band Ours off the stage, a black curtain with two elongated “M”s fell and the “Man-son” chants commenced. Normal fans get excited about seeing their favorite artist perform live… Marilyn Manson fans get shit-faced (on any variety of poisons) and nearly blow a gasket at the sheer thought of seeing the oddly androgynous frontman and his ever-changing backing band of characters.
For this tour, the mercury levels reached a new high because on the bass — for the first time since 2002 — was longtime collaborator Twiggy Ramirez. For six years he was AWOL and most recently he was part of Nine Inch Nails. But on this eerie night in Tourist Town, he publicly reunited with the band that put his name on the map.
After a drawn-out intro during which the band member’s shadows were seen under blood red lights, the curtain fell and a rather mild opening song choice (“Cruci-Fiction In Space”) could hardly be heard atop of the roaring crowd. Before the audience could even begin to show their affection for Twiggy (of which they had much), they first bathed the ringmaster with an ample amount of adoration (of which they had even more).
Dressed in layer upon layer of black and fondling a butcher knife shaped microphone, the notoriously confrontational frontman spent much of the set out on the catwalk that put him within arm’s reach of his fans. He posed, he cavorted his face into all sorts of strangeness, and — most notably — he smiled from ear to ear.
Once the band shot into “Disposable Teens,” off 2000’s Holy Wood, the surrealism of standing at the foot of Marilyn Manson began to set in (at least for me). I know that the 21st century Manson is madly in love (with actress Evan Rachel Wood), planning a career in film, and generally seeming to be in a happy place, but it’s the tortured freak of yesteryear that I had come to see, the Antichrist Superstar. Happy was I when the band dug into their old arsenal of hits and pulled out “Irresponsible Hate Anthem” and “Tourniquet”.
They closed out the night, Manson at his pulpit, with two of the songs that started it all back in 1996: “Beautiful People” and “Antichrist Superstar”.
To see more photos of this show, and others, go to www.jencray.com
Marilyn Manson: www.marilynmanson.com