I first got into singer Marilyn Manson about six years ago. I heard of him back in the ’90s, but was too young and scared to understand him and his message. Many YouTube’d interviews later, I really enjoyed how smart Manson sounded and agreed with a lot of what he said. Then I started listening to his music: a polar opposite of his calm and articulate interviews. But, having been raised in a head-banging household, I loved his music more than I ever thought I would. So when I opened an envelope on Christmas morning with his concert tickets inside, I almost cried.
I love Marilyn Manson, but going to his concert? The trusty YouTube showed me offensive and obscene things, rowdy crowds, pyrotechnics, and nudity. Heck, yes, I’m going! What terrified me more than the thought of Manson at his concert were the other concertgoers. I pictured heavily made up women (and men) with combat boots, spiked jewelry, and a devil-may-care attitude. But I prepared myself for the melee with my biggest combat boots, best corset, and more eyeliner than was necessary.
When we arrived at the Grove of Anaheim, I was instantly calmed by the size of the venue. Surely this small theatre couldn’t house too much destruction and anarchy. I saw a few scary characters as my reluctant boyfriend and I entered the building.
Once inside, the first thing I noticed was the noise. Manson’s opening act, The Butcher Babies, were screaming along with heavy, awesome, guitar riffs. I was getting more excited and less scared when we bought an overpriced concert T-shirt, a must for any fan. The boyfriend even bought a shirt and was starting to blend in with the crowd more, something I never expected to happen.
After we put in our earplugs (another concert must, especially for heavy metal such as this), we entered the theatre to claim a spot amongst the crowd.
The Butcher Babies were really something. The five-person band was led by two beautiful and scantily clad women screaming about things that are best not repeated in this respectable publication. They had tons of energy, stage presence, and sounded great considering the intense volume. They ended with flourish at 9 p.m., and the standing room only crowd waited for Manson for almost 45 minutes. He was worth the wait, but it seemed like the crowd had lost the momentum that the Butcher Babies created earlier.
Finally the lights dimmed and the band started up. There was a thin curtain up with a single light on it so that when Manson walked up to the front of the stage, the crowd could see his eerie and distorted shadow. When the curtain fell, there he was wearing his signature black leather and lipstick. He started the night by playing “Hey Cruel World…” from his latest album, Born Villain. He ended up singing at least three new songs during the night, which is more than I had expected. To my pleasure, he also sang some of the classics like “Beautiful People,” “Dope Show,” and “mOBSCENE.”
Better than his singing was his showmanship. After every song, the lights dimmed and he came back on stage wearing something completely different (and sometimes offensive) in front of the newly decorated stage. He interacted with the crowd by chanting and throwing most of his props to the lucky first rows. But sadly, the concert lasted merely an hour, which seemed much shorter after the endless break between acts. I overheard another concertgoer say that it was a short show, but he supposed that Manson (at the ripe old age of 44) had to get to bed early that night.
Regardless of the short concert and pain of standing for two hours, the show was a fantastic spectacle. For me, it was great to finally see him perform live and interact with the excited crowd, and it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. He was funny at times, and shocking at others. I only wish that I could have seen him 15 years ago in his prime, but that would require two pairs of earplugs. Move Over Manson, and Give Me Disney
Move Over Manson, and Give Me Disney
By Charly SHELTON
As mentioned in previous articles (often), I am not a music man. I listen to Disneyland soundtracks almost exclusively. I have been to concerts and enjoyed them, but give me a good old Disney song any day and I will be happy. But I am dating a rocker.
Sabrina is my girlfriend of five years and she drags me to many of these music events, sometimes kicking and screaming, just as I drag her to game convention after game convention and press event after press event. She is a good sport about it all, and so for Christmas, I got her tickets to see one of her favorite performers – Marilyn Manson. This is the very last person I ever wanted to see perform live. I would rather go see Justin Beiber. At least his fans won’t sacrifice you on an altar. But she likes him so I wanted her to experience the concert.
It was standing room only. Despite the earplugs I had inserted back in the parking lot, it was still loud. I could feel my epiglottis vibrating in my throat as we approached the stage for the show.
The opening act was very loud. They performed for an hour then made way for the main event. It’s 9 p.m., time for Manson to take the stage.
Okay, it’s 9:10. He is coming out any minute.
9:15 and we are starting to wind down. The pump up band’s energy is wearing thin. The room starts to fill with the sight and smell of marijuana smoke. It hangs thick in the air.
9:30 and he’s still not out. Getting restless.
It is not until 9:45 p.m. that Manson finally takes the stage to rock us. At least I assume that’s what he did. All the songs sounded like a long string of unbroken vowels, screamed really, really loud.
He is a showman, I’ll give him that. Even though I couldn’t understand what he was saying, I couldn’t stop watching. He threw bibles, flags and show costumes into the audience. At one point, I think he ate a checkbook. Just stuffed it in his mouth and spit it out at the audience. Social commentary, I guess.
An hour later, it was over. Short for a concert, I thought. And my biggest fear of the night – the fellow audience members – turned out to be wonderful. Though they may look scary, every one of them that I had the fortune to interact with was incredibly nice. From the overweight woman stuffed into a corset with two different colored contacts, one white and one red, to the shaven head neo-Nazi with the funny T-shirt and swastika leather jacket (I do not agree with his principles, but he was very polite and happy to oblige with pictures and a friendly conversation as we waited for the concert to begin).
All in all, the concert was certainly an experience. Not sure if I would do it again, but at least I got a Marilyn Manson T-shirt out of it and earned some Brownie points.
When “It’s a Small World” has a concert tour, I expect Sabrina to join me there.