The first time I saw Marilyn Manson was in May of 1994 in Houston, TX. He was opening up for Nine Inch Nails at the International Ballroom on the outskirts of town and I caught the last song of the set, “Misery Machine”. I wasn’t all that impressed.
Later that summer I picked up “Portrait Of An American Family” and fell in love with the record, trying to convert all of my friends to no avail. Sure it had some dated samples the group would later outgrow, but it was catchy as hell. And his message, though yet to be fully refined, was loud and clear.
On Halloween 1994 Nine Inch Nails came back in town with Manson still opening. Now familiar with the record I was stoked to see them, but was again let down. Daisy Berkowitz flubbed his parts and Sara Lee Lucas somehow kept the tempo lower than the album. I kind of even stopped listening to “Portrait” after that.
I’m not totally a metal guy, in fact I lean more towards singer/songwriter stuff and in the early years of college I was obsessed with noise rock. So when “Antichrist Superstar” came out I kind of let it pass me by. Years went by without me listening to a note of his music.
But in September of 1998, when I heard “The Dope Show” and saw his VMA performance, I decided to give Manson another try. Even though it borrowed heavily thematically from “Ziggy Stardust” I loved the music, message and vibe of “Mechanical Animals”. In April of 1999 I made the trek from Austin to San Antonio with some friends to check out Manson at the Alamodome.
More after the jump… He absolutely f*cking killed it. It was amazing. Not just the production and elaborate costume changes, but the power of the band as well. The satirical Martin Luther King style speechifying – the way the show was broken into three distinct acts – it all came together and my ears literally rang for days. Ginger Fish and John 5 were major upgrades from Sara Lee Lucas and Daisy Berkowitz.
I’ve kept up with seeing him over the years. The band was just as tight on the “Holy Wood” tour and a recent 2008 gig at the Wiltern in Los Angeles (right after Twiggy rejoined) was pretty great as well.
But if I had to pick a moment to share – it would be the this, the opening song of the arena leg of the “Mechanical Animals” tour. I wasn’t at this particular show but it’s nearly identical to what I saw in San Antonio. Now, the quality of this video isn’t great. While good footage exists from “Holy Wood” on out, most of the clips from the “Mechanical” era suffer in comparison. It still ROCKS though – so crank it up.
*Note – the first 2:30 seconds are basically entrance music with the house lights down. Skip to about 2:40 for everything to really start.