Last Night: Rob Zombie & Marilyn Manson at Reliant Arena
The men of the "Twins of Evil" tour made two important statements at Reliant Arena Tuesday evening. Marilyn Manson's was that people are zombies. Rob Zombie's was that fire is awesome.
Which one do you think was more fun?
Manson must have been born on the wrong side of the bed, and has been making up for lost time ever since. Tuesday he tried a different accessory on about every song -- a stylish stole, a pope outfit, insecticide sprayer, several different hats, SS-style leather trench, a butcher-knife microphone he used to stab a couple of beer cans -- making a series of Big Statements that rang strangely hollow.
Phrases like "Stink Finger," "Blumpkin" and "Toss My Salad" flashed on LED signs during "mOBSCENE"; after "Rock Is Dead, a clip of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech played before some balloons floated off (the election, maybe?); and for "Antichrist Superstar," he ascended a pulpit in front of a giant Nuremburg rally-style banner, with crooked lightning bolts replacing swastikas. It was all very over-the-top, just not terribly shocking.
Manson's music does have its merits. He's an excellent screamer, and he put that feral howl to good use in a series of marches that made up in throb and grind what they lacked in variety. If you like late-'80s Ministry, you would have loved it.
It was almost too cold and industrial to be erotic, but not always. "Disposable Teens" gave the impression of a morgue being turned into a strip club, and "Slo-Mo-Tion" is about as good as Manson can do at a sexxxy Prince-style love jamm.
He also has superb taste in covers, giving us a thrashy version of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" and turning up the goth to 11 on the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)." He dropped two Beatles references into the set, "Revolution" almost immediately and "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" into "The Dope Show."
But something about Manson just radiates contempt for everyone and everything, up to and including the audience and himself. It's just not a very attractive quality. For his Ziggy-Stardust-as-Hitler routine to really work, and make him a true rock demagogue, people should believe he's on their side even a little bit. Tuesday he seemed more like he'd rather piss on the lot of them.