Jun 17, 2013

Marilyn Manson / Alice Cooper / Gwar - MPP

By Bob Suehs


June 17, 2013

Columbia, MD

Merriweather Post Pavilion

First there was the Rob Zombie / Alice Cooper / Murderdolls tour, then 2012’s Rob Zombie / Marilyn Manson tour and in 2013 the combination of Marilyn Manson / Alice Cooper / Gwar hit the road for a Summer Shock Spectacular.

I’ll cut right to the chase and say that Alice Cooper owned this night of the tour because Alice’s set was tight, professional and his band kicked some serious ass!

The show started off around 6:40 with Gwar playing a side stage which allowed the band to utilize all of their props, fake blood and they gave the crowd the full Gwar experience without chopping out any of the bands trade mark theatrics due to limited stage space. Most of the Alice Cooper band including Orianthi were on the right side of the stage to watch Gwar’s set and every fan who was close to the Gwar stage left covered in red dye.

What impressed me the most about every bands set on this day was the clarity in the live audio mix because Gwar, Manson & Cooper all sounded superb with rich dynamics, clean vocal mixes, thick guitars and the rhythm was heavy but not muddy....with outdoor shows you sometimes lose certain dynamics when it comes to sound but not at this show!

Marilyn Manson took the stage a few minutes after 8 PM and when the large black curtain dropped the band opened with “Angel With The Scabbed Wings” which is a song that the band has rarely played live since the 96/97 A.C.S.S. world tour.

My first observation regarding the Marilyn Manson live show is that they have a keyboard player onstage now...that role was left vacant after Chris Vrenna quit the group shortly after the recording of the “Born Villain” record.

“Disposable Teens” was the second song of in the MM set and it made the crowd move around but Manson’s vocals seemed to lack enthusiasm and drive which has been a problem with the live Manson shows for quite some time now.

“No Reflection” was next and for what it’s worth I felt like it was one of the songs where Twiggy was the most animated & the song itself moved rather fast with no flaws but sadly that wasn’t the case with “Dope Show” because at one point during “Dope Show” Manson forgot an entire verse & he began singing the wrong part of the song but the band quietly caught & covered up for Mr. Manson’s flub.

“Coma White” was a nice surprise in the set because it hasn’t been played that often on this current leg of the tour and “Antichrist Superstar” replaced “Irresponsible Hate Anthem” in the set on this night.

Many of Manson’s theatrics were left over items from previous tours such as the large oversized chair that he used onstage which was originally brought out for the “Eat Me Drink Me” tour during the song “Are You The Rabbit?” & the stilts he adorned for “Sweet Dreams” have been vacant from the MM live show for some time till recently.

The current 2013 version of Marilyn Manson is a far cry from the earlier versions of the band that featured a lean, hungry, driven Marilyn Manson who wanted to take over the world....in 2013 Marilyn Manson is essentially a classic rock act that managed to hang on for 20 years and thus is doing their best to repeat all past glories via an essentially “greatest hits” set that covers all the bases for both old school & newer fans.

I did find it interesting that Twiggy was willing to play a song like “This Is The New Shit” or “mOBSCENE” which he had NOTHING to do with at all, those were Tim Skold/John 5 songs written after Twiggy left the band!

The nights closer was “Beautiful People” and as soon as that song ended the PA played “You’re So Vain” off the bands “Born Villain” record while Twiggy & the band members tossed out guitar picks and drum heads.

Alice Cooper was the nights headliner and he mopped the floor with Manson because his set was strong.... it kicked off with “Hello Hooray” and Alice didn’t screw up any words, he controlled the stage, there was no sloppiness, no loose ends, his band were really good players and there was an occasional vocal or intro sample BUT for the most part ALL of Alice Cooper’s music was played LIVE onstage whereas a good portion of the Marilyn Manson live show was sampled or on tape.

“Is It My Body” featured Alice with a large snake wrapped around his torso & head while “Feed My Frankenstein” saw Alice disappear and a large monster ala Eddie from Iron Maiden took his spot onstage.

“Poison” was one of my personal favorites for the night & at first I thought having 3 lead guitar players onstage was a tad much BUT when you see the current Alice Cooper live show you realize that the 3 guitarists he has onstage can all hold their own ground & they all play well together!

“Schools Out” was the 2nd to last song with “18” being the nights closer and for that song Alice brought out Marilyn Manson to sing a few verses with him. During “18” Manson seemed more interested in playing around with Orianthi than singing with Cooper and when the show ended promptly just before 11 PM the venue cleared out rather quickly.

If you bought a MM/AC tour shirt from the merch table the $40 joint tour shirts had a funny little flub on the back....they spelled Merriweather Post Pavilion wrong and I found that to be quite funny because that’s the sorta crap you usually see on the bootleg tour shirts they sell in the parking lot for $10 after the show!

Funny side note pertaining to the crowd.....there were a few who dressed up but the bulk of the crowd just went to the show without putting any effort into their looks.....considering this was a very theatrical show and Manson’s fan base used to dress up I was a tad let down by the hillbillies and ugly girls at this show....I kid you not we were standing on the side while Gwar were playing and this woman walked by us and let out the loudest burp I’ve ever heard which we clearly heard OVER the music Gwar were playing!