Marilyn Manson at The Riviera July 5th
I love Marilyn Manson and any Manson fan will tell you that the past couple of years have been kind of rough on him. He released two lackluster albums in 2007 and 2009, which is why the phenomenal Born Villain was released to little press. But even after I was convinced that Manson found his groove again after the new album, I wasn’t so sure if he still had it live. I saw him back in 2008 and he was amazing. The last time I saw him perform on TV back in 2012 he sounded awful. He sounded like he smoked and drank a bunch before the show and just didn’t care anymore. Even after I had my tickets to see him again in hand, I wasn’t so sure if I made the right decision. I was almost sure this would be the last time I would see him live; luckily I was dead wrong.
This show had all the makings for a disaster. The week of the concert it was announced that the original venue The Congress Theater, would no longer be hosting the event. They didn’t fix any of the violations they had received just a couple of months before the concert. It was then announced that the show was moved to the Riviera. That was all fine and good until we arrived at the venue. That is when I learned that the barbeque fest was going just across the street from the venue. Also, there seemed to be more people than anyone expected. The line to see Manson was wrapped around the corner and down residential streets. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many people still excited to see him. Sometimes when you hear nothing but negativity about an artist it’s easy to forget that there are other people that still like them.
The show was supposed to start at 8 PM, but as it hit 8:10 the crowd grew restless and began chanting “What the fuck?” to anyone who would walk across the stage. As the clock ticked on, everyone grew more impatient and sweaty as we all crowded together waiting for something to happen. It almost seemed like a stage hand would appear, announce that the show was canceled, and a riot would break out. But around 8:30 the opening band Picture Me Broken appeared. They apologized for the delay, but offered no explanation as to what happened. My guess is that roadies were still setting everything up and ran behind schedule. The opening act was decent enough, but I don’t know if I would listen to them regularly. They only played for about 45 min and after what felt like forever, it was time for the man of the hour.
To further tease his waiting fans, Manson posed behind a black sheet while “The Flower Duet” played behind him. The band then launched into “Angel with the Scabbed Wings.” It’s been years since the band have performed this excellent number from Antichrist Superstar and it was amazing to hear. The man himself was on point the entire night. He sounded great while hitting every yelp and yowl he did and he looked good. He actually looked like he gave a shit about his performance. And I guess he was feeling generous because he was tossing everything he had off stage: flags, towels, even his sunglasses. Or maybe he wanted to see a fight break out.
Even though the stage was small, Manson made the most of it. There were double crosses that lit up strewn around the stage and during several songs he would have a new prop: there would be electric signs blasting “DRUGS” during “Dope Show” and during “MOBscene” the song title was illuminated across the stage. For “Great Big White World” he had snow softly fall over him while he sang and during “Rock is Dead” glitter shot out over the audience sticking to everybody in the crowd. It was amazing, especially because he pulled none of these tricks the first time I saw him. Not only did he go above and beyond for this show, but it’s like he wanted to give people a taste of what his show was like in 1996.
There are a few performances that stick out in mind: my favorite had to be “Sweet Dreams.” Not only is it one of his greatest songs, he performed it on the fucking stilts! See, when the band first started Manson would perform certain songs like “Kinderfeld” on stilts and braces that gave him this otherworldly towering appearance and he hasn’t done it in a while. But when I saw him creep out on those things I could hardly contain my excitement. I finally got to see one of his better known stage gimmicks in person and I couldn’t be happier. Another amazing performance was “Antichrist Superstar.” This is always the highlight of the show. When that podium comes out with his shock symbol everyone knows what’s coming next. The pulsating beat started, Manson urged everyone to begin clapping, and he pulled out the first bible only to throw it in the crowd. He basked in the love and admiration he was getting as he sang “Prick your finger it is done, the moon has now eclipsed the sun.” Keep in mind I’ve already seen him do this once, but it seemed even better the second time around.
Of course he closed with “The Beautiful People,” that found people covered in confetti by the song’s end. Everyone was pleased I’m sure, expect Manson. He was good natured on stage, bantering with the crowd and playing around with his favorite band mate, Twiggy, but there were feedback issues all night. There was even one song where the mic cut out for one entire verse. He didn’t comment on it during the show, but I’m sure he bitched about it backstage as he usually does. I’m guessing all the sound issues had something to do with the abrupt venue change. Their equipment was even sitting outside while we were waiting to get in. I wouldn’t be surprised if he refused to come back to either the Congress or The Riviera.
Aside from that the show was almost perfect. My only complaint is the really, really short setlist. When I initially saw him he did about 20 songs. This time he did about 12 and that’s the norm for this tour and I don’t understand why. He has eight studio albums under his belt and so many awesome songs to choose from and it would’ve been great to hear a great variety from his body of work or at least some more songs from his latest release- he only did one. My guess is that since this is an all ages show he had to cut it short to keep up with the curfew for anyone under 18. It really sucks, but Manson made up for it by putting on a great show. He performed as if he had something to prove; as it he wanted to tell people he wasn’t done yet.
“The Flower Duet”
“Angel with the Scabbed Wings”
“The Dope Show” (with “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” intro)
“Rock is Dead”
“Great Big White World”
“mOBSCENE” (with “Prelude (The Family Trip)” intro)
“Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”
“The Beautiful People”
“You’re So Vain” (recording)