It’s been a while.
I have been doing lots of videos for my YouTube channel:
and have been AWOL from the blog, but have been missing it, however, I feel like I need to do a review of the last show that I saw, which was Manson. I hesitate to be negative about any band or performance, there is always something good to take away from almost any music or show, but the experience was not great this time, and on top of that my camera was messed up. So, if I have to analyze myself, I have been in avoidance.
However, here we go…
Rewind to February. After I had purchased the new Manson album and raved about it, I saw he was coming to town. He had come to Milwaukee a couple of times and I didn’t go and regretted it, but this time he was coming right to Madison. I scored a ticket immediately and without hesitation. It was on the higher end of the scale for tickets I buy (about $65 after all the crazy fees), but I was not going to miss this one.
When the time came, with my ticket and my trusty Nikon Coolpix
I headed down to the recently remodeled Orpheum theater in Madison. This is only the second time I had been there. The first was to see Royal Blood open for The Pixies. The line outside was outrageous! It went around the building. Longest line I have ever stood in prior to a show. At least I was able to get a good marquee shot.
Once inside I slowly meandered to the rail on the right hand side and waited. The crowd was a mix of young, old, preppy, grungy… just about every style was represented. Including the obligatory too drunk guy down front.
Promptly at show time, a woman came out, dressed in leather with short hair and an “I mean business” look on her face. She walked up to the table that was center stage and the show started.
Her name was Amazonica.
Here is a clip from another show to give you an idea of what it looked like.
I was like huh?
A DJ set to open for Manson? I mean don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t bad, but it just didn’t really seem to fit with the mood, although she played heavy music. She did a lot of dancing behind her rig and pointing and throwing the horns and trying to be all rocked up. In the end though, it seemed off the mark to me.
When her set was done, the actual curtains came down.
Behind the curtain you could hear all kinds of prep being done. Excitement was growing. The smoke machine was on overtime and the whole stage area was filling up. The poor security guys down front were almost completely hidden from view.
Then the lights dimmed again and Manson began.
He started the show singing from a motorized, church inspired chair.
The crowd went wild of course. To my surprise it was a respectful non-moshing wildness.
He was wearing black leather pants and a black shirt with vest and the last time I saw him he was a tiny speck from the back of the Madison Coliseum opening for Nine Inch Nails, so being at stage front, even if I was off to the side was… well, great.
I didn’t notice it at the time, but that was when something happened to my camera. While I was looking at the pictures after the show I came across this one and I was like… “What the hell?” It looks like he has a tail ! There was a hair of something on my lens. All my pictures look like this. Ugh.
Manson did some new stuff from the Heaven Upsidedown album and I was surprised how intimate the show was for such a large crowd. Behind me the place was packed.
He had simple makeup on and there were no dancers, or giant animal legs or anything weird onstage except for the giant guns that had fallen on him during another show and caused him to be in a leg wrap/cast still for this show. It didn’t seem to impair him much, but I began to notice that something seemed a little off. He was just a little slow, like he was guarded, or holding back. He kept spitting and randomly dropping or throwing the microphone down.
After a while he did a little banter and actually chided the audience for not being more wound up. It was weird. That was when things really went off the rails.
I don’t know if it was a bad night or what, but it seemed that it got worse as the show went on. There were moments when he was on in and rocked, but then he would drift. Every so often a roadie/stage guy would come out dressed in scrubs with a clear plastic cup of some liquid and Manson would take it like a shot and then of course throw the plastic cup and continue.
The guitarist was killing it. That part was 100%
In the end, it seemed that for whatever reason, Manson had lost his enthusiasm for the show. He was just going through the motions.
He did an operating room gurney version of Sweet Dreams, that even despite the mood was great. It was a standout. He used a trouble light for most of the song until he smashed it on the side of the gurney and the roadie/stage guys turned on the head lamps they were wearing, so it was likely staged that way.
Then came a costume change. He was offstage for a bit and came back wearing a suit made of feathers. It had to be damn hot.
He did a few more, then complained to the audience again.
Things got even more degraded when he started messing with the instruments. He messed with the bass player
and then he took the guitar later and tried to make noise with that. He is no guitarist.
After an awkward bit of that he left the stage again. This time to return with balloons to do The Nobodies, which even with the mood and weirdness that was going on, he did great.
It was probably the best bit of the show for me. He really brought it together for the song and I thought maybe he had shaken off whatever was the problem.
However, after that song, he went offstage again. We waited a bit, there was some Manson chanting and then we could see in the low lights that someone was walking him across the stage with flashlights. He went from stage left to stage right, then went backstage and never came back.
It was over.
We were stunned. He clearly cut the show short. It was a disappointment.
The next day also, I noticed the weird line in my shots and considered the prospect of having to buy another show camera. As it turned out, thanks to my procrastination on that, I ended up knocking it off the counter and it crashed to the floor. When I turned it on to see if it still worked… the weirdness was gone.
It was a weird night at the Manson show, but I choose to believe that he was just having a bad night.
Manson’s has gotten me through some hard times in my life and I will always be a fan.