Picture Me Broken
July 3rd, 2014
The dedication of Marilyn Manson’s fan will never cease to inspire me. People started lining up during the early morning hours of the day and suffered without complaint through the hot and humid Omaha summer day. The show had nearly sold out and the crowd snaked its way around the block a few hours before Sokol Auditorium’s doors were opened.
I’m getting to that age as a concert-goer that I can count myself amongst the oldest in a crowd. I spoke with a few fans who weren’t even born when I first saw Manson in 1997. Several were attending with a parent who’s been a fan for as long as I have. Expectations for some fans first concert were running high and those of us who’ve seen the band live before promised a show to remember.
Opening act this tour would be Picture Me Broken, an alt-metal band from Los Angeles. Manson is perfect at picking female fronted bands to tour with, whether its L7, Hole, 12Rounds, NY Loose or The Pretty Reckless.
Picture Me Broken’s set was the perfect mixture of intensity, melodic brutality.
Vocalist Brooklyn Allman did an amazing job working the crowd into an early frenzy. The crowd seethed with anticipation until the opening chords of Torture, then all Hell broke loose. The rabid fans opened several mosh pits during the band’s set. Their sound was more of an evolved and defined 80’s metal vibe, fitting since they closed with an edgy cover of Heart’s Crazy On You.
After Brooklyn and the boys left the stage to meet with fans, a black curtain was raised in front of the stage. The crowd screamed, anticipating a glimpse of our Antichrist Superstar.
9:30 came and went as the crowd sang along with Slipknot’s People=Shit and Deftones’ My Own Summer. I was almost hoping Manson would play church music between sets but I was happy with the metal tracks.
Confetti cannons and fog machines lined the front of the stage, promising a theatrical set. Manson always uses visuals to enhance his live music, whether its simple props or a seizure enabling light show.
After nearly a half hour wait, the auditorium’s lights dimmed and ethereal chimes of The Flower Duet (Lakmé) played over the stage’s speakers. Shadows danced and whirled across the curtain as the intro music churned and bled into Angel With the Scabbed Wings.
The curtain fell away, revealing to the band a sold out crowd that had begun slamming into the barricades before Manson even took the stage.
Manson wore industrial goggles stitched into a skullcap for the first part of the song, before ripping it off and flinging it across the stage.
Angel With the Scabbed Wings hadn’t been played live for nearly 15 years and was a treat to hear once again.
While Fred and Twiggy bounced around the stage during Disposable Teens, Manson paced around like a caged animal. The fans burst into cheers when switched to his butcher knife microphone during No Reflection and stabbed at the crowd like Dexter would to a victim wrapped on his kill table.
After a short pause, Manson addressed the crowd for the first time that evening. “This is a little song we did a long time ago. Little Horn.” This tour’s set was full of old fan favorites that hadn’t been played live in a very long time. Manson’s anger on stage was becoming apparent as he continued to stab at the empty air while screaming the lyrics of Little Horn.
Twiggy and Fred played an extended intro for Dope Show as Manson changed costumes. The moshing had already started when Manson walked on stage wearing a white jacket, hat, fur cape and red neck-tie that read DRUGS in bold, white block letters.
After a short moment to collect himself after Dope Show, Manson addressed the crowd again. “You’re not a hostile crowd but if you don’t cheer I’m gonna shoot you in the mutherfucking face.” The fans screamed in approval as the band cut into Rock Is Dead. Cannons set on both sides of the stage erupted, covering the crowd in glitter during the last chorus.
The lights dimmed again as the thumping bass of Four Rusted Horses filled the air. Snow began to lightly fall as a spotlight showed Manson on center stage, wearing a black trench coat and slowly swaying to the beat. Laser pointers on each of his right hand fingers, Manson pointed at members in the crowd.
The stage light went off again as the snow fall ended. The spot light came on again to reveal Manson standing at the back of the stage in front of a full length mirror. A crew member applied his lipstick and passed Manson a cluster of red and blue balloons. Manson let the balloons fly as the band played Personal Jesus. He reached into the crowd, grazing finger tips, each time he screamed “Reach out and touch faith.”
“Oh Jesus Christ,” he said to no one in particular, “they love me. You love me.”
Before shredding into Mobscene, Manson told the crowd, “The last time we were here, Twiggy almost got arrested for performing a lewd act.” The crowd cheered in approval. “A lewd act is good,” Manson admitted as he put on a 1920’s bowler hat. “Going to jail is not.”
The floor burst to life during Mobscene.
The crowd was still screaming as Manson walked off stage. It had been almost 45 minutes since Marilyn Manson took the stage and the fans wanted more.
As the opening chords of Sweet Dreams played, Manson strutted back on stage wearing his stilts. Fog flooded the stage as Manson hobbled around like a spider with broken legs. This was the moment of the night that so many had been looking forward too. Sweet Dreams is Manson’s most popular song and the crowd’s reaction proved it.
Manson threw his hand stilts across the stage as he exited.
Fans were treated to a brutal light show during The Is The New Shit, one of my favorite tracks.
Once again the stage lights dimmed. As the lights came back on, they revealed the podeum center stage. The crowd went ballistic as the band hammered into Antichrist Superstar. “Oh I heard you cumming,” Manson screamed from atop his post. Twiggy spun around on stage as Manson flailed atop the podeum. As he began ripping pages out of a bible and flinging them into the crowd, Manson changed a few of the lyrics. “I am the hydra. Now you’ll go to Hell.”
The seething crowd was still chanting as Manson addressed the crowd for what would be the final song of the evening. “Is that all you have to say?” The crowd screamed back its response. “How does it feel, Manson asked, “to be one of the beautiful people?”
Confetti cannons fired off during Beautiful People, covering the sweaty fans in shreds of red, white and blue tissue paper and marking the end of the evening. Even though Irresponsible Hate Anthem was on the set list, it wasn’t played.
The band exited the stage as You’re So Vain played over the speakers and the fans exited exhausted and covers in sweat, beer, confetti and glitter. Even though Manson has been performing for twenty years, each show gets better and better. Having Twiggy back in the band seems to have rejuvenated Manson and brought back the spark that was missing while Twiggy was gone.