Twins of Evil Tour :: Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson
When Rob Zombie took to the stage at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, NH on October 21st as part of the Twins of Evil Tour, he cemented his spot as the master of camp horror within the first minutes of the set. The audience cheered and shouted along as Zombie emerged from a giant robot and burst into "Jesus Frankenstein."
The show was a sensory overload of pyrotechnics, animatronics, and horror imagery. But despite the sheer volume of events going on simultaneously, it remained cohesive and directed. Zombie has often cited Alice Cooper as his inspiration. It’s not difficult to see why.
Usually more tongue-in-cheek than horrific, Zombie did work "Meet the Creeper" into an unsettling, though effective tribute to Leslie Van Houten and the Manson Family. For those familiar with the Manson murders, the killers’ term for home invasions was "creepy crawling." Zombie’s love of such intricate details gives horror buffs another aesthetic level on which to enjoy his work, beyond the ironic sexploitation and violent imagery.
Rob Zombie was charismatic and personal with the audience, showing a genuine appreciation for their interest. He donned a personalized jersey he’d been given for a segment of the show. His signature quirky humor played perfectly to the audience. Zombie even managed to crowd-surf and make a lap around the entire arena, a security nightmare he seemed to relish.
While hitting all of his highlights, the audience would have been happy to spend another hour with the self-styled hellbilly. Rob Zombie managed to orchestrate an enormously fun industrial horror show that surpassed any expectations for a rock concert before leaving with a jovial, "Trick or treat, motherfuckers!"
If only the same could be said for Marilyn Manson. The now pot-bellied singer stumbled his way incoherently through a dismal set. During portions of "Personal Jesus," he seemed only vaguely interested in bothering to sing the song at all. Or perhaps he just got lost in the lyrics. He did only marginally better with his own material.
When Manson spoke, it was usually profane childish provocation, a far cry from the articulate social commentary that rocketed him to fame. He repeatedly grabbed his crotch for no reason, made bizarre comments about surgical gloves and sex acts, and ended his set by instructing the crowd to spit at a man in the back. There seemed to be some confusion as he protested they were spitting at the wrong guy. During the set, he had a fixation with the lighting on one side of the stage, which he batted around, blinding a portion of the crowd. The audience was granted a respite from his lighting antics as he fumbled with a prop jacket that, for an inexplicable reason, he could not seem to get onto his body.
The band tried its best, but with a frontman in a self-absorbed haze, their spot-on playing couldn’t compensate for the mess of a performance Manson was delivering. In a particularly narcissistic move, he repeatedly referred to the crowd as "Marilyn Manchester" before shouting borderline-indecipherable nonsense. He closed the set with a ho-hum rendition of the "The Beautiful People" and left to little fanfare.
The experience was depressing for any Manson fan who’s seen his sharp decline as critics have repeatedly lambasted his recent stage antics. Thankfully, Rob Zombie more than compensated for the failings, making the Manson set seem like little more than an unfortunate hiccup in an otherwise fantastic evening.
DJ Starscream of Slipknot fame is the opener for this tour. While he seemed to have some minor A/V issues, his raw talent for creating frantic dystopian soundscapes still shined through.
The Twins of Evil Tour is currently touring the US. For a complete list of cities and ticket information, visit Ticketmaster.