MARILYN MANSON – Live at Ice Hall, Helsinki

Spread the metal:

20. 12 2007

REVIEW AND PICTURES BY MARKO SYRJÄLÄ

It’s been more than five years since Marilyn Manson last visited Helsinki. Now he’s returned with an all-new lineup supporting his latest album, EAT ME, DRINK, released in June 2007. This show was the very last concert on the European leg of “The Rape of the World” tour. Although his new album hasn’t been as successful as some of its predecessors, Manson still has lots of followers, as the concert was completely sold out.

The evening was started by a local support band called Happiness. A pop band supporting Marilyn Manson? I don’t know what more to say, but for sure, they were in the wrong place. It’s a pity that we didn’t get the chance to see Norwegian Turbonegro instead as the other Nordic countries did. The Manson show was announced to begin at 09:00 PM, but it started about 10:15 PM. This was the second-longest wait I have endured; the winner at the moment is Guns ’n Roses, for which we had to wait over two hours.

After a long intro, the curtain finally dropped, and the band started to play the first song, “If I Was Your Vampire.” The stage set was huge but pretty stripped and harsh. There was some cool-looking lighting in use. There was even “a sea of candles” on both sides of the drums, which helped create some “funeral” atmosphere. It’s always hard to anticipate how Mr.Manson himself is looking, but nothing was shocking in his outlook this time. He had black clothes and a white/pink painted mask on his face; he looked kind of chameleon. His microphone was not so usual, which was equipped with something like a 15 inches long knife-blade.

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According to the audience, I don’t know if that slow-tempo six-minute epic was the best possible opening track for this kind of concert? However, the second song, “Disposable Teens,” fixed that problem quickly, and the atmosphere rose to the level where it belongs. Speaking about the show itself, for the first 30 minutes, Manson looked a little bit tired, bored, and lonely. It did seem that he didn’t get a proper connection with the audience, although the songs “mOBSCENE,” “Tourniquet,” “Irresponsible Hate Anthem,” and “Are You the Rabbit” worked out very well. Somehow things started to change when the band performed their distinct version of the old Eurythmics hit “Sweet Dreams.” Before the song began, the stage went completely dark. After some waiting, Manson emerged from the middle of darkness wearing on helmed which was mounted with two spotlights. Of course, everything went on again when the song started, but the effect was incredible, very simple but very effective impact.

At that point of the show, Manson turned out to be everything but bored and tired for one reason or another. He was energetic, and he talked a lot to the crow. Of course, we heard that Helsinki’s audience was the best and loudest on the whole tour. Maybe this brightening was also a part of the show, and it was planned, probably it was? “Fightsong” was one of the highlights tonight. People seem to like material from HOLYWOOD album, and I don’t wonder it’s my personal favorite as well. Unfortunately, his latest album, EAT ME DRINK ME, represents an entirely different side of Marilyn Manson. What is fortunate is that they made only two tracks from the album. Although the songs “Heart Shaped Glass” and “Putting Holes In The Happiness” sounded now better than how they sound on CD, those still stand out from the rest of the set but not in a positive way.

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“Rock Is Dead” sounded good, and then “The Dope Show” and “The Reflecting God”  continued “the best of” -theme before it was the time of another highlight of the show; the title track of “Antichrist Superstar.” Manson had built a giant pulpit on the stage. He was standing there wearing as a preacher, and he was “discoursing” for the people. At the end of the song, he was burning the bible people went crazy. As supposed “Beautiful People” was the last song on the set, which song would be better closer for Marilyn Manson’s show?

As a summary for the show – it was great, well planned and it was one of the most impressive shows what I’ve seen in ages. The setlist was quite brief; it was less than 80 minutes, while the band has material worth playing for at least two hours. Marilyn Manson himself is a skillful, great performer and showman while the rest of the band stayed mostly in the background except for guitarist Tim Skold who had a big role on stage. When Tim first joined Manson’s band in 2002, he replaced the band’s original bassist Twiggy Ramirez.  Since then, he has become Manson’s right-hand man, and he is now handling guitars, production, and programming, and more for Manson; he has a significant role offstage as well. Skold looked damn cool with his “calcify corpse” look, and it’s hard even to think that he’s the same guy who used to play in 80’s hair metal bands Kingpin and Shotgun Messiah.

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As said before, the rest of the band: drummer Ginger Fish, bassist Rob Holiday (ex-Prodigy), and keyboardist Chris Vrenna (ex-Nine Inch Nails) did good, and a solid job, but stayed kindly in the background. They had no make-up or costumes; they just did their job. Although their playing was overall solid and accurate, I’m still personally missing some of the former members of the band. Twiggy Ramirez and John Lowery, aka John 5 or even Zim Zum, were all strong characters who are difficult if not impossible to replace. Back in the days, Marilyn Manson was more of a band, while it now is Mr. Manson and his sidemen on stage. It’s not a secret that Marilyn Manson owes a lot to Alice Cooper. It can be said that currently, Manson’s show is more or less a modernized version of Alice Cooper’s show. There are a lot of show elements that would make the good’ old Vincent Furnier proud. What is also common with the two is that different religious groups and other maniacs are nowadays looking after Marilyn Manson the same way they were “hunting” Cooper in the ’70s. I don’t know? I can somehow understand if some fanatic’s go crazy about burning bibles, but even they should realize that things like that are just a part of the show. People should not take everything too seriously, no matter if we are talking about sex, politics, or religion. In Manson’s case, it’s all about the show, and all people should understand it.

SETLIST

If I Was Your Vampire

Disposable Teens

mOBSCENE

Tourniquet

Irresponsible Hate Anthem

Are You the Rabbit?

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

Lunchbox

The Fight Song

Putting Holes in Happiness

Heart-Shaped Glasses (When the Heart Guides the Hand)

Rock Is Dead

The Dope Show

The Reflecting God

Antichrist Superstar

The Beautiful People

 

SPECIAL THANX TO RAMONA FORSSTROM FROM WELLDONE FOR PHOTOPASS !

 

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