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Marilyn Manson, The Pretty Reckless; Hey Cruel World Tour 05-08-2012

Hey Cruel World … Tour 2012

May 8th, 2012

Des Moines, Iowa

Val Air Ballroom

Sold Out


One never knows what to expect from a Marilyn Manson concert. Tonight’s show marked my 9th time seeing the band live, and each show has proven to be more intense than the previous, even when seeing back to back dates on the same tour.

Marilyn Manson hadn’t played Des Moines since the first time I saw the band in back 1997, and it took less than a day to sell out the 2,300 capacity Val Air Ballroom. I spoke with a few fans who’d bought their tickets from scalpers for nearly $200 each.

Even after the doors opened at 7:00 pm for an 8:15 show, the ballroom was already packed. It would be standing room only for tonight’s show.

Very few people were aware the Marilyn Manson had an opening act. The promoters had done a terrible job.

The venue’s lights dimmed and the opening chords of The Pretty Reckless’ Hit Me Like A Man flooded the crowd’s ears. Fans cheered as Taylor Momsen walked onto the stage like she was working the red carpet. This young woman was born to command a crowd, and she dressed to match the part. Platform black leather boots were buckled up to her knees, garter straps ran from the top of her boots up and under her leather skirt, and a black leather jacket casually draped across her shoulders. After conquering an acting career, this young woman has earned her place in the music world.

Sexual tension practically dripped from the walls and ceiling. While most fans were unfamiliar with the band’s tracks from their recent EP, I did notice a number of fans, especially the ladies, singing along to Zombie, My Medicine and Make Me Wanna Die.

Momsen took the time to address the crowd several times and sounded truly appreciative for the support of the fans. It was great to hear Under The Water, a track Momsen admitted the band rarely plays live.

At only 18 years old, Momsen was barely a year old when Marilyn Manson’s first full length debut album was released, and more than one person I spoke with questioned why Manson would hand pick The Pretty Reckless to open for what many were hailing as Manson’s come-back tour. After an eleven song set, something rarely done for an opening act, no one doubted that Momsen and her band could hold their own against such veteran bands like Marilyn Manson.

The Pretty Reckless




Hit Me Like A Man


Since You’re Gone




Miss Nothing


Just Tonight


Goin’ Down


Cold Blooded


My Medicine


Make Me Wanna Die


Under The Water


Factory Girl


After a brief set change, a black curtain was draped in front of the stage. This was all it took for the fans to rush that barricades.

The intro music, which I am not familiar with, heralded the return of Marilyn Manson to Des Moines. Hey Cruel World… opened the night and Manson promised to give the best show we’ve ever seen. Vocals for the evening were spot on and it was great to once again see Twiggy sharing the stage with the band.

The stage was stripped down. Tonight’s show would focus more on the music of the band, and not the flashy gimmicks of previous tours. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a band that I was used to seeing in an arena, but the smaller venue gave us a much more intimate performance. It was great to actually be able to see Manson’s smeared red lipstick and the neon pink stain over his eyes. Twiggy looked adorable in what I can only describe as a patch work burlap dress. This was the first time I’d seen him play guitar instead of bass. New touring member, Fred Sabian, was a little more subdued and spent most of the show close to the far side of the stage and had very little interaction with the crowd. I also need to point out that this is Manson’s first tour without a keyboard player, which lent the music a more organic sound.

The band continued to hammer though some of their greatest hits and worked the crowd into a moshing frenzy. I’d forgotten how violent a Manson show really was. Disposable Teens found Manson with his trademark butcher knife microphone, slashing at the air between verses. During The Love Song, Manson brought out a smoke gun, spraying the crowd, obscuring the fans’ reaction to Manson’s love of Gun, God, and Government.

For the first time during the evening, Manson addressed the crowd, telling us about a fan letter that he had been given before the show. He teased the crowd, saying, “I’ll skip to the juicy parts. And I dream of you painting my face …” This was the perfect segue into Mobscene.

I feared for security’s safety during No Reflection and Mobscene as more and more people rushed the barricades and fans crowd surfed nearly the entire length of the ballroom. The first true sing-a-long of the evening was The Dope Show, which had the additional intro music of the rarely played Coma Black. I noticed many fans stopped in their tracks, confused by the music of Coma Black, but the true fans cheered as Fred, Twiggy and a white-faced Jason Sutter gave Manson his only break of the set.

Slo-Mo-Tion continued to build on the visceral waves crashing into the crowd. Manson then brought out what I initially thought was a disco ball and addressed the crowd.

“Had I known that you could get paid for killing people, I’d have joined the military,” Manson spat at the crowd. He then spun the disco ball around, bringing into view a sparkly army helmet. “I’d have cut off my hair if I’d have known. Hell, I’d have cut off my dick,” Manson said as he donned the helmet, “and then sewn it back on. Like a fucking Zombie.” The crowd erupted with cheers and applause. “And like a fucking zombie, rock is dead.” What a perfect introduction for Rock Is Dead. He then switched out the butcher knife microphone for his brass knuckles and mercilessly beat the air during the song’s chorus, much like the fans were beating each other in the pit.

Manson did address the crowd again before the band played Personal Jesus but with the crowd screaming, I could only make out the he decided to play the cover because some old lady, maybe his hair dresser, had suggested adding it into this tour’s set.

I was a little shocked to see that Manson took to the guitar for a blistering performance of Pistol Whipped. Not that Manson doesn’t ever play guitar during the band’s live shows, but I’ve not seen him do it since the 1997 Dead To the World tour when he played the chords of Dried up, Tied, and Dead To the World.

Manson switched to a brass knuckles microphone during Tourniquet. During Tourniquet‘s outtro, Manson chucked a bottle of water directly into moshpit that had blossomed in stage left crowd, smacking a particularly large brute in the chest. The brutality of Irresponsible Hate Anthem found the crowd seething. Numerous fights had broken out and the sea of fans was literally bathed in fresh blood from elbows meeting foreheads and fists greeting jaws.

Sweet Dreams needed no introduction. The fans, who had barely enough time to catch their breath, were caught in a sea of bouncing bodies and fist pumps. The band exited the stage. You could hear a ravaged crowd sighing heavily but ready for the show to continue.

The stage lights were shut off and Manson’s notorious podium was brought onto the stage, shock logo glaring in the darkness. The moment the logo was revealed, the crowd screamed in approval. Manson entered from stage right and took his place at the podium but there was no speech to be given. We all knew what was coming and what was expected. Fans began chanting “We hate love. We love hate” the moment Manson stepped up to the podium and raised his arms. Strobe lights burst to life with the thunderous opening chords of Antichrist Superstar. Fists pumped in unison. Bodies slammed into each other with abandon.

Twiggy stomped around the stage, egging the crowd on. Manson flailed around on the podium like a puppet whose strings had been cut. A random fan tossed him a bible but the book missed its target. Manson noticed and pointed to his stage hand, who rushed onto stage, scooped up the Good Book, and handed it to Manson. Pages were vigorously torn free and tossed into the crowd before what was left of the book was tossed back to the fans. Dozens of screaming fans reached up to grab a face towel that Manson, after wiping the sweat and make-up from his face, had casually tossed in after the bible. Hardcore fans would take note that this live rendition of Antichrist Superstar ended with the pre-recorded voiceover of, “You might as well kill yourself, you’re already dead,” which can only be found on the demo track of the 1996 release.

The band ended their hour and twenty minute set with The Beautiful People. The heaviest tracks from the Antichrist Superstar era of the band had ended their set and exhausted the crowd who had been beaten into submission. This was a night of bruises and bloody gashes, but no one was complaining about their battle scars. In fact, we demanded more.

So many fans that I spoke with after the show were disappointed by the number of songs played, but no one had any complaints about the actual quality of the show or the sound. I was a little disheartened that nothing was played off of the Eat Me, Drink Me or The High End of Low albums which, in my opinion, have the most personally visceral content. While so many of us would have preferred the band cut the cover songs and played new material instead, the addition of Personal Jesus to the set was a rare treat for us fans who’ve not heard the track live before. Noticing a following show’s set list though, I am extremely jealous that Murders Are Getting Prettier Everyday was played at the Texas show two days after the Des Moines show.

In my opinion, Marilyn Manson, both the man and the band, have never sounded better. While I would have preferred a two hour set, we have to remember that this isn’t a young band anymore and we should be grateful that the band is still touring after nearly two decades.


Marilyn Manson


Hey Cruel World…

Disposable Teens

The Love Song

No Reflection


The Dope Show w/ Coma Black intro


Rock Is Dead

Personal Jesus

Pistol Whipped


Irresponsible Hate Anthem

Sweet Dreams

Antichrist Superstar

The Beautiful People

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