JEORDIE WHITE | BASE TENDENCIES
Saturday's Marilyn Manson show at Mercer Arena was an evening of wholesome fun for the whole family. Except for the language: "I'm pleased to be back here without that whore, Courtney Love," he announced, getting a delighted roar from the crowd in return.
Well, and the imagery, too: for instance, the rendering of a beatific infant on a cross, projected behind Manson during his new fist-shaking anthem, "Disposable Teens."
Ah, who are we kidding? It was everything a Marilyn Manson show ought to be: a cathartically furious and Felliniesque spectacle of outrageousness, filth and rebellion.
Security outside the venue would have made the guards at Checkpoint Charlie seem laid-back. Meanwhile, the requisite protesters harangued those waiting in line to be patted down and metal-detected. A guy with a Bible and a bullhorn prowled up and down the line. Others held signs with messages such as "JESUS" and "Prepare to meet the Lord."
Toting a sign that said, "Jesus Saves from Hell," a woman who would only identify herself as Lisa, 27, from Seattle, said she had never actually heard any of Manson's music. "But he hates Christians, he has a vengeance against Christ. Most people going in there don't realize they're on the way to hell."
Inside the inferno - ah, the arena, there was more black clothing than a ninja training academy and more flesh perforations than your average phlebotomist would see in a lifetime.
Manson made his entrance in a sleeveless black dress and up-the-arm gloves but spent the bulk of the show strutting shirtless with what appeared to be a midlength black corset. With a four-piece band, he shifted between approximately two different gears in the roughly 90-minute performance: shriek and snarl.
He started with a shriek that included "Irresponsible Hate Anthem" as well as "Disposable Teens." The latter, from his latest release, "Holy Wood," galvanized the rabid crowd with the catchy refrain, "You say you wanted evolution/The ape was a great big hit./You say you want a revolution, man/And I say that you're full of ... " What's Manson revolting against? The usual adolescent stuff: control, mediocre conformity and especially religion - against which he's built his cottage industry. Railing against those who want cocaine, marijuana and Ecstasy (big crowd cheer) outlawed but want people reined in with Prozac and Ritalin, Manson dedicated "The Fight Song" to everyone who called us stupid or said we'd never amount to anything, and to "every priest that said you were going to hell."
While this stop on the "God, Guns and Government" tour didn't have the theatricality of a Kiss show, Manson's costume changes and showmanship were impressive. For "Tourniquet," he walked the stage on stilts, and he sang "Crucifixion in Space" while slowly rising on mechanical legs that nearly lifted him to the stage lights. Manson changed into a white pope's outfit for "Valentine's Day," flanked by banners with the likenesses of Jesus, the other Marilyn (Monroe) and others; then he belted out "The Love Song" from a red podium bearing a cross of guns.
After closing with his hit, "The Beautiful People," Manson returned for a brief, two-song encore: the subtle and sentimental favorite, "Cake and Sodomy" (from his first album, 1994's "Portrait of an American Family") and "1996" from "Antichrist Superstar."
It was a satisfying show for fans but unlikely to change anyone's mind about the iconoclastic artist. Business as usual for those who love him and those who hate him.
"Marilyn Manson kind of brings out a particularly anti-God crowd," said religious protester Thomas Warner, standing outside. But, he added, "We go to all the concerts, including the Backstreet Boys."