Going to a Marilyn Manson show, you’re hoping to be shocked in some way. Seeing a giant prop gun statue fall on the singer was definitely not the way in which anybody at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City was expecting to be shocked.
For years, the band has had a constantly shifting stage show that incorporated different elements that make what you’re seeing on stage larger than life. Back in the ’90s, his stage might resemble a gothic-looking church or a cyberpunk hellworld filled with screens depending on if it was during the Antichrist Superstar or Mechanical Animals era. This recent New York City tour stop was no different, and was arguably one of his best stage shows in years prior the night’s scary conclusion.
For the Heaven Upside Down tour, Manson tapped Alice Glass for an opener. For the unfamiliar, Glass is the former frontwoman of Canadian electronic duo Crystal Castles, who helped popularize a kind of noisy, aggressive wave of electronic music in the late 2000s. On her own, she brought a fun but dark kind of energy that felt like the evolution of acts from the ’90s like Jack Off Jill or Hole as placed into an electronic setting. Her music was appropriately loud and bassy, with new tracks like “Without Love” being so aggressively sweet it became its own type of heaviness. Combined with some older Crystal Castles material like “Alice Practice,” she was a great pick as an opener to add variety and a dichotomy to the main event.
After she left the stage, a curtain was raised to block the change over in set. About 30 minutes passed before the lights went off in the room, causing a stir in the crowd. The music faded out, and The Doors’ “This Is the End” began to play, slowly rising in volume and intensity, and Manson’s voice came out over the crowd, singing along to the song, piquing the crowd even more. A series of sounds including those of a helicopter blade whirring and a siren going off came over the sound system to give even more of a tense feeling. The guitars started up, the curtain lifted, and the band launched into “Revelation #12.”
There was a large throne that Manson was sitting in at the beginning of the show while wearing a nice and blasphemous crown of thorns. Two banners hung from the stage, showing Manson carrying a gun. The song sounded great, with Twiggy Ramirez’ low end on the bass giving it a nice crunch to it, and guitarists Tyler Bates and Paul Wiley looked to be in great spirits. “Revelation #12″ has all the makings to be one of the upcoming album’s standout tracks, with a kind of tone heard from his earlier work.
Manson addressed the crowd after the song, expressing his gratefulness for everyone coming out. He started to laugh, telling everybody they’re allowed to jump in the photo pit and to make it available to more than just the photographers. A stagehand quickly ran up to him, pulling him aside, and Manson re-addressed the crowd, “Alright never mind, they said they can’t fit everyone up here.” The group then launched into “The New S-t,” which riled the crowd up, getting them to mosh quick. After getting into the chorus too quick on the song, Manson evened out and screamed his lungs, not showing his age whatsoever and sounding at the top of his game. Next came the Golden Age of Grotesque cut “mOBSCENE,” which sounded excellent as the guitarists took the role of the background chants instead of letting a track play.
Manson continued to have fun onstage, talking about crystal meth and urging the crowd not to ever take it. It seemed like they would begin playing “I Don’t Like the Drugs But the Drugs Like Me,” but they swerved into “The Dope Show” instead with a little bit of a wink. The crowd sang along to every word, up to their next song “Disposable Teens” where Manson showed he can still pull off his killer screams.
The band began to change things up with some newer material, starting with the recently released “Kill4me” holding up its poppiness on stage. “Killing Strangers” seemed to really please guitarist Tyler Bates, who took the lead and maybe sounded better on that track than at any point previously during the set. Guitars were chunky and the whole band was into it, making it one of the night’s standout performances. They continued into “Tourniquet,” jamming out while a new backdrop of scrawled words came into focus and Manson came out on his stilts. They wheeled out the ill-fated gun statue for “We Know Where You F-king Live,” and then the band shifted into “Sweet Dreams” where things went haywire.
Up until the incident, everything sounded pretty on point. Manson waved around a light onstage and changed up some of the lyrics. He grabbed onto the prop for dramatic effect it seems like, and the weight of the statue tipped over onto him. For a brief moment, it seemed like it may have been part of the show in a strange way, but then the stagehands all rushed over to assist. There was a lot of confusion in the crowd, brought even more so with the lights shutting off moments after to help obfuscate Manson being stretchered off. It was eventually revealed the show was cancelled, and the crowd were ushered quickly out of the venue, disappointed and worried.
Given Bates’ recent Instagram post, it sounds like Manson will be alright although the tour will have to go on hold for a period. Guns have always made their way into Manson’s lyrical and visual output, and him being crushed by a statue would have made sense as an onstage statement, but it quickly turned out to not be the case. There was a kind of unity during the entire show, of people being connected by Manson’s music and attitude. Even onstage, Manson asked the crowd to applaud his bandmates, noting he didn’t ask for it often but felt especially good that night. Unity continued after the show, when people left and were more concerned with his health than with having to leave early, and hopefully some of that energy will be felt by him.
We wish Manson a speedy recovery.
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