By Claude Peck, Minneapolis Star Tribune

It was Halloween meets "Holy Wood" as Marilyn Manson opened a new national tour Friday night in Minneapolis. Many of the mostly young concertgoers showed up in makeup and costumes to celebrate the changeable rock provocateur who is promoting his new CD Holy Wood, due in stores in mid-November.

By opening with "Irresponsible Hate Anthem" off of "Antichrist Superstar" and "The Death Song" and "Disposable Teens" from the new record, Manson signaled htat he was in retreat mode no longer. The glam-inspired Mechanical Animals was downplayed, with just two songs ("Great Big White World" and "Dope Show") played, and there was nary a ballad on the song list.

The crowd, who, if they weren't wearing fangs and fishnet, had on Manson t-shirts, went wild for the hard stuff.

Manson, known for his operatic entrances, initially appeared behind a scrim, first as a giant head and shoulders in cast-shadow, then as a creature with huge wings, and finally, in the flesh, wearing brown leather floor-length culotte-type things with horse-tail armband. He soon ditched that rock couture for a simple leather corset, boots, and minimal makeup, which he wore for most of the rest of the concert, which lasted just over an hour. This was a more stripped-down image than at his last concert, at Target Center in April 1999.

He did reprise from the earlier concert his giant stilt-walking turn for the excellent "Tourniquet," where he blasts polluters and destroyers, then shouts the Christlike refrain, "Take your hatred out on me."

The band's attack on "The Fight Song" was blistering. For "Cruci-fiction in Space," also from the new record, Manson appeared stripped to the waist atop a 20-feet tall black skirt-slash-obelisk, giving new heft to the dictum that black can make you look thinner and taller.

For "Valentine's Day" Manson donned a bishop's outfit and knelt at a communion rail, and for "Love Song" he mounted a pulpit plastered with guns in the shape of a cross, hitting on his obsession with guns and religion. Still, the "Guns, God and Government Tour" kickoff concert made no references to politics or the elections.

Manson, who said nothing between songs, appeared more upbeat and in control this time than last. He and the band seemed tightly rehearsed. But that left little room for the kind of chaotic spontaneity of his "Mechanical Animals" tour.

Opening act was Godhead, signed to Manson's new record.