One is tempted to say it’s about time that Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson toured together: both are heavily theatrical artists; both assess so-called forbidden fruits in their music; both have been deemed subversive. In theory, a co-headlining Cooper/Manson show is, simply put, devilishly perfect. In practice, though, these details weren’t always too sexy.
Both artists had roughly one hour to perform on this particular Masters of Madness date. This meant that set lists and dramatic scenes had to be sacrificed or adjusted. Moreover, the entire concert seemed rushed due to scattered showers. Rock Hall of Famer Alice Cooper opened with his classic, metadramatic “Hello Hooray”, but it fell flat, with its cute lines going unrecognized. Obvious hits such as “School’s Out” and “Poison” were well-played. “Raise the Dead” scenes were cut, though the guillotine was applied tonight, a devious nurse was present to cause Cooper harm, and a two-story Frankenstein monster presided. Lead guitarist Orianthi was on top of her game, especially as she inaugurated “No More Mr. Nice Guy” at center stage. The highlights were “Welcome to My Nightmare”, “Go to Hell”, a relentless, loud “Under My Wheels”, and “Is It My Body”, during which Cooper held his pet serpent. Manson joined Cooper on the latter’s “I’m Eighteen”.
Marilyn Manson’s set list included approximately twelve songs, but Manson put emphasis on his various props and unpredictable histrionics. He wore white animal fur, dark sunglasses, and a “drugs” tie during “The Dope Show”; he also tossed a fake bag of crystal meth into the audience. During “mOBSCENE” he rolled around atop a giant chair; during “Sweet Dreams” he pranced about on oversized stilts. But the true highlights were rarities such as the abrasive, metallic opener “Angel with the Scabbed Wings”, from Antichrist Superstar, and the synth-heavy “This Is the New Shit”. Further, the dark yet melodic “Coma White” was a real hit, and, in fact, one of three songs performed from Mechanical Animals. Another synth-heavy track, “Personal Jesus”, was well-regarded. Twiggy’s guitar work was largely sound, but Manson’s vocals varied. Show closer “Antichrist Superstar” apparently was shortened due to hard rain.
Both artists brought the musical and dramatic thunder, but it would have been nice if they had bought some extra time — perhaps a half hour more per set.