JEORDIE WHITE | BASE TENDENCIES
The lights went down at 9:45 p.m.
Then they mysteriously came back up.
The bewildered convention of misfits at Marilyn Manson’s packed Orpheum gig Saturday seemed barely phased, but I’d really begun to worry.
Did Manson require medical attention? Were the paramedics en route? Was he heading toward the heat and crackling flames? (In this case, a “white light” seems unlikely).
Really it was all about fear - not of the man’s music but of his mercilessly out-of-control image. I admit it: Marilyn Manson has always frightened me a little. He wins.
When the curtain finally did drop 10 minutes later to reveal the Antichrist Superstar and his four-piece band, he was gleefully grinning in all his ghoulish glory. Suddenly, watching him maniacally flail and tear at the fishnet fabric covering his arms or even delightfully dismembering a mannequin, he was no longer threatening. But that’s not to imply the Manson show was wimpy.
Looming tall over a faux candlelit display wielding a microphone with a butcher blade handle, he held the crowd eerily rapt through the opening dirge, “Cruci-fiction in Space,” snapping them into action for the deliciously tribal “Disposable Teens” and outright thrashy “Irresponsible Hate Anthem.”
During the comparatively sparse “Great Big White World,” Manson’s uvula-shredding shriek sounded worse for the wear. But the show must go on and on it went, complete with a seizure-inducing array of strobe and colored lights.
Menacing bassist Twiggy Ramirez is back in the fold, much to the delight of longtime fans. Sporting a hair-raising makeup job that rendered him half-Dalmatian, it was Ramirez’s thick under-pulse coupled with drummer Ginger Fish’s tumultuous tumbling that framed the show’s biggest highlights: “mOBSCENE” whipped the room into a chanting froth; “Little Horn” proved the surprise dust-off of the set, and first encore, “The Beautiful People,” remains Manson’s most rhythmically contagious moment. Meanwhile, the metal-cabaret blend of “The Dope Show” flashed some sorely needed versatility, as did a cover of Patti Smith’s “Rock and Roll N-----.”
More than a decade after he initially offended your sensibilities, Manson remains an impressive showman - a modern day Alice Cooper with an added twist of Absinthe-induced madness.
And while the reality of him may not be quite as chilling, his image retains great power over the uninitiated: I haven’t felt butterflies like that before a show in years.