October 2, 2014 Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare spooking at Westworld of Scottsdale, AZ 9-19-14
Yes, indeed, Halloween comes early in 2014. For the second straight year, Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare is the ultimate Halloween horror event. Originally held in 2013 out in Pomona, CA, this year’s offering is hosted in Scottsdale, AZ and Chicago, IL. Giving the media a bit of a preview into the Great American Nightmare, Zombie opened the doors a day early in Scottsdale on September 18th for a behind the scenes look into the his haunted house experience. Concocted by mastermind Rob Zombie along with collaboration of the world’s largest producer and marketer of haunted attractions Steve Kopelman, what more can any horror buff ask for? Zombie is not only a rock icon, he is also a filmmaker with unique vision. The vision of this Nightmare is a fully immersive haunted house experience, featuring three attractions based on Zombie’s own horror films: The Lords Of Salem: In Total Black, Captain Spaulding’s Clown School in 3D and The Devil’s Rejects. The shocking and all too disturbing attractions offered a three-dimensional experience with animatronics and effects, a maze that was the ultimate definition of claustrophobia and fear, sudden chills and startling thrills, along with salacious humor that made patrons screaming with fright and laughter.
Westworld of Scottsdale is a multi-functional facility with a huge bubble tent, a indoor arena of sorts, for all of the horror activities and a open-aired field for the stage and thousands of Rob’s closet friends. The opening night of Friday, September 19th featured a concert of course with none other than Rob Zombie, along with Powerman 5000. Kicking off his latest U.S. tour in early September along with his band maniacs and misfit, guitarist John 5, bassist Piggy D, and drummer Ginger Fish this was the perfect macabre event along the road.
On a tour for themselves, space-themed metal band Powerman 5000 recently put out their seventh album Builders of the Future. Embraced by audiences as a unique blend of creative lyrics, catchy heavy guitars, and a unmistakable frontman, Spider One, Powerman 5000 are as strong as ever before. Playing through a set that included new songs “Invade, Destroy, Repeat” and “How to be Human,” along with fan favorites “Nobody’s Real,” “Bombshell,” and “Supernova Goes Pop,” the band had a good grasp on the audience all the way through. As they concluded with their hit “When Worlds Collide,” everyone applauded and showed great appreciation for the band, which has stood strong for over two decades now.
As Powerman 5000 left the stage with fans fists in the air, the fans warmed up with a chant of “Zombie, Zombie, Zombie.” The crew quickly removed P5K’s equipment and started to prep for the Zombie festivities, revealing a stage right off the silver screen. Images showed off what may have been some of Zombie’s favorite horror movies, which surely are many others as well. Backdropped with the likes of 1941’s The Wolf Man (Lon Chaney, Jr.), 1931’s Frankenstein (Boris Karloff) and 1925’s The Phantom of the Opera (Lon Chaney) to name a few, along with a very unique custom made mic-stands that appeared to be images of Nosferatu himself, this was an epic horror extravaganza.. The evening’s horror house theme continued, moving not far from the haunted house to the scream stage, and this crowd was primed and ready to go.
With the intro complete, the energy intensified ten fold once John 5, Piggy D and Ginger Fish took the stage. Then, Rob Zombie emerged from the fog, all draped in his fringed jacket and a signature “Hellbilly Hat” from hell. The group opened with “Teenage Nosferatu Pussy” off their 2013 album Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor. With red, and blue lights mudding the stage, fog to creep the visual even more Zombie and crew deliver a trademark sound that certainly brings horror alive in music. Zombie struts back and fourth on the stage, swinging is fringe everywhere, while wailing his lyrics.
Zombie continued on with “Superbeast” off of Hellbilly Deluxe (1998) , which picked up the pace a bit and had the crowd jumping in unison. Once the crowd was primed and ready, Zombie broke out a his own version of James Brown’s “Get Up.” The show continued on with “Living Dead Girl” and then into another newer track, “Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown”. With the energy high, the crowd was then treated to a stellar drum solo of Ginger Fish. Having established himself as a powerful drummer from his days with Marilyn Manson, Fish did not disappoint with each hit he unleashed on the kit.
Throughout the show, Zombie pumped up the crowd as he encouraged constant involvement and earned it with the sheer enthusiasm that matched what he brought to this show. Hitting another gear, “More Human Than Human” followed with everyone singing along. Before “Sick Bubblegum,” Zombie told the crowd and split them up into two teams with one side the John 5 team and the other the Piggy D team, and before long, he had one crowd chanting “Rock!” and the other “Motherfucker!” This was done for an “everybody wins yelling fest.” This stage presence and ability to orchestrate the excitement level really did set the crowd over the edge.
Continuing the set was full of fun, as he covering his many classic like “Meet the Creeper,” and White Zombie’s Thunder “Kiss ’65”. They even changed things up a bit by paying tribute to the Ramones, covering “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “Teenage Lobotomy.” Traveling along the tribute to rock legends, they then covered Kiss’s “God of Thunder”, which was followed by a reprise of “Thunder Kiss ’65”. Not finished yet after a brief stage exit, Zombie and his band of maniacs quick return to close out the night with “Scum of the Earth” and “Dragula,” before final bows to the roar of thousands still wanting more.
Great American Nightmare was quite an exhilarating experience. With Halloween right around the corner, this experience gives rockers and horror fans a bit of a scare, along with a one loud scream. Those lucky enough to be in the areas The Great American Nightmare is held, it will be running through November 1st, on Friday and Saturday nights, and select Thursdays and Sundays.