February 23, 2015 Marilyn Manson brings Dope Show to Tempe, AZ 2-13-15
Born Brian Hugh Warner from Canton, Ohio, vocalist Marilyn Manson began his self-named band of misfits back in 1989 with guitarist Scott “Daisy Berkowitz” Putesky, bassist Brian “Olivia Newton Bundy” Tutunick and keyboardist Stephen “Madonna Wayne Gacy” Bier, starting the trend of sex symbol/serial killer stage names. The band known for their barbarous makeup and freakishly fantastic costumes, and although they have changed members quite frequently over the past twenty six years, their sound has done nothing but grow. Even though Marilyn Manson has experienced some controversy and lawsuits during their twenty plus year career, they have managed to shine through it all, with a discography of eleven studio releases, Manson’s personal appearances as an actor in over twenty movies and TV shows, and even a couple of novels. Playing music that has been described as Hard Rock, Alternative, Industrial Metal, as well as Shock Rock, the band has sold over fifty-million records worldwide with lyrical content that challenges listeners to think outside the box.
Now after years of scrutiny from the mainstream media, Marilyn Manson marches on with their ninth studio album, Pale Emperor released on January 20, 2015, through Manson’s own Hell, Etc. label. Marking his first full-length album since 2012’s Born Villain, Manson and company began their new The Hell Not Hallelujah Tour on January 21st at The Fillmore in Washington, D.C. As if seeing the band live is not enough of an incentive, a free digital download of Pale Emperor was given with the purchase of any show ticket on the tour. Fittingly, on Friday the 13th, Marilyn Manson brought an incomparable show to The Marquee Theatre in Tempe, Arizona. A horde of over two-thousand excited fans were in attendance on this unluckiest of days, and after several snowed out shows on the East Coast, the band was ready to let loose in the Arizona heat.
The evening started at eight with a two person opener simply called Hide. The DJ hit the stage playing Trance-like, funereal synth sounds, and after a few minutes of the hypnotic, swaying transfixion, a women took her spot behind the microphone and started an undulating dance of her own. The stage was darkly lit with nothing but white strobes flashing in unison to the music. While the woman sang and chanted, the concert goers swayed back and forth in their own punch-drunk dance. After a thirty minute set from these transcendent musicians, it was time for the man and his band to hit the stage.
After a quick set change, the lights went down, all except for a wisp of light slightly behind the drum riser. Smoke started to fill the room as Manson appeared for his traditional stomp around the stage, grabbing his vintage microphone only to throw it to the ground and pound off the stage. As Manson is known to incorporate tirades as part of his act, this seemed a part of the show, until stagehands announced that a breaker had blown. Ten minutes later, all was well and Manson reappeared, saying, “Insane old Phoenix, baby,” both a reference from the song “Birds of Hell Awaiting” and as a shout-out to the Arizona crowd.
With the power restored, Tyler Bates (guitar), Twiggy Ramirez (bass), Gil Sharone (drums), and Paul Wileytook (guitar) invaded the stage to start the set with new single “Deep Six.” Charging through the track, Manson dropped to his knees as if striking a pose, but instead grabbed a photographer’s hand, and would not let go. As the song finished, Manson yelled out, “I love you, Phoenix!” and then bounced right back into his proper form as the band went into riot-starters “Disposable Teens” and “mOBSCENE.”
The sound of bass filled the venue as the band launched into another new song “Killing Strangers.” With a two guitar assault from Bates and Wiley along with Twiggy Ramirez strumming his bass, the band was on point and sounding as tight as ever. The crowd went insane once they heard the first few bars of the Eurythmics cover, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” the one that helped to put Marilyn Manson on the musical map. Clearly making the track his own, Manson’s rendition still holds strong over two decades later. Mixing old with new standout classics like “”Rock is Dead” and “The Dope Show” came before the band launched into a “Third Day of a Seven Day Binge.” Keeping the audience pumped up Manson’s cover of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” saw him smash a glass bottle on a cymbal, sending pieces of shrapnel across the stage. Quickly moving on 2003’s adrenaline pumping “This Is the New Shit” followed with another new track titled “The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles” before a rampage with “The Beautiful People” and “Irresponsible Hate Anthem.” Exiting the stage to a roar of cheers, everyone stood and wondered what Manson had in his hat of tricks next. That is when the big surprise came and the melancholy track “Coma White” closed out the night. As a track many fans consider one of their favorites, it was simply the perfect to be executed in the final moments.
Marilyn Manson has always walked a thin line between brilliance and belligerence. The Pale Emperor seems to have given new life to the band, and could be some of their best work in years. After a rich history involving four Academy Awards nominations, five Kerrang! Awards wins, an MTV Music Award for Best Cinamatography in a Video for “The Dope Show” in 1999, and The New York Times naming them the Best Heavy Metal Band in 1992, fans can only hope that any and all future albums will be as great as The Pale Emperor. Critics can say what they will about Marilyn Manson, the man and his band certainly know how to provoke a reaction. Call it shock value, or call it designed, but one cannot deny the striking nature of their music. Although the first North American leg of The Hell Not Hallelujah Tour is finished, the Australian leg will begin on February 21st in Melbourne, and a second North American juncture will begin in Portland, Oregon, on March 25th. Check them out for an unrivaled, idiosyncratic experience.