Throughout the mid-to-late ‘90s, the ethereal image of a long-haired and lanky Marilyn Manson squirming about on stage while shouting about sodomy engrossed rebellious teens — but more importantly it horrified worrywart parents. That’s a trick from the ol’ Alice Cooper playbook: Terrify old people and the kids will flock to it.
Manson broke onto MTV (when it was still relevant) with 1994’s Trent Reznor-produced “Portrait of an American Family” – yup, that was 21 years ago. Those teens are now ripened Manson followers and they turned up in masses to his sold-out show Wednesday at The Orbit Room. These fervent fans have stuck with Manson through his many transformations, including a few too-safe-for-Manson moments.
The show opened with a bombardment of fog, gloom and a ripping version of a new cut, “Deep Six.” The 46-year old Manson prowled about the stage, looking mysteriously parallel to Nosferatu. Perhaps Manson’s slightly doughier build has slowed his stage moves, but he still belted out the hard hits including his frantic classic, 1996’s “The Beautiful People” along with choice cuts from his new disc, The Pale Emperor LP. It’s his ninth full length and the band’s eighth Billboard Top 10. Not bad for a bad influence, right?
While Manson is beyond his late ‘90s zenith of stardom, the Anti-Christ Superstar didn’t fail his true West Michigan fans that squeezed into The Orbit Room to witness his Hell Not Hallelujah Tour. With the sinister swagger of a Hollywood vampire, Manson held the audience in the palm of his pale, white hand thanks to crowd pleasers like his career-solidifying cover of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” And when he said he was happy to be in “Grand Mother F***ing Rapids,” it sounded like he truly meant it. If Manson continues in the path of his elder Alice Cooper (who is 67-years old) we’ll be seeing much more Manson.
In fact, in July he’ll embark on his next jaunt – a ‘90s-tastic co-headlining tour with Smashing Pumpkins, though it appears to be skipping Grand Rapids. But you can catch the End Times Tour Wednesday, Aug. 5 at DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, Mich. A live-stream press conference with Manson and Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan is set for Monday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m.