JEORDIE WHITE | BASE TENDENCIES
He crawls among us.
He spits, shrieks, stomps, writhes, dry-humps, bitches about his swine flu, professes undying love and yes, even walks among us. He is Manson, he is a trainwreck, and he is not dead yet.
Two nights after Metallica shook – and packed – the Bell Centre, Marilyn Manson brought 4,000-plus into the rink’s theatre setup, proving anti-heroism is trumped by thrash virtuosity. But let it be said – obviously suffering from something we hope isn’t really swine flu, the devil had some good lines.
As red stage lighting was greeted with a sincere volley of devil horns from the faithful, cue the eerie. Wearing moonboots and a jacket bearing the words HELL, ETC., Manson emerged in front of a massive Star Spangled backdrop, fell to his knees and – what’s the opposite of praying?
We’re From America was the greeting, followed by the flu talk. “So if I spit in your mouth – I’m sorry.” Anyway, he’d “filled my body with enough drugs and alcohol to make germs afraid.” It may not have been sex, but it was certainly unsafe. And Disposable Teens set off the pit for the first heaving of the evening.
And we saw the importance of being Manson. Self-pity, self-loathing, vengeance, the canny bursts of enraged intelligence – who else is bringing this in rock culture right now? What fun we’ve had since 1996’s Antichrist Superstar, with someone who can articulate and incarnate all the ugliness of a culture that’s been on an epic meth-run of violence and shame.
And Manson felt the emotion coming back. After a scabbed howl through Pretty As a Swastika, he told the Montreal crowd he loved it. He seemed to mean it. He fooled around, draping himself in an American (boos) and then a Canadian flag (louder boos). “What flag do you want?”
He brought them theatre – with all its pauses, setups, minor costume changes, staggered pacing, brain-stun guitars from Twiggy Ramirez, new songs (Four Rusted Horses), old ones (Fall of Adam, Dried Up, Tied and Dead to the World, we think), a touch of self-laceration on a guitar, the occasional promise of danger, and Tuesday night catharsis.
After Leave A Scar, he found a top hat for Dope Show and plunged into the melee, spreading the sweat, phlegm and blood. Poor Twiggy. He got a big flu-ridden hug for Rock Is Dead. So count yourselves lucky. And get your shots.
The church candles in Sweet Dreams, a scabrous attack on something that might have been Rock’n’Roll Nigger, and then the clever dolorous Beatles lick leading into the finale. In this ramshackle yet somehow winning performance, here we had the Manson in full: half diva, half suicide, all undead. Long may he prey.