Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson
Masters of Madness Tour, Tucson
June 7, 2013
Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson blew the Amphitheater roof off last night as they paid a visit to Tucson for the shock rock extravaganza dubbed The Masters of Madness Tour. Fans of all ages packed the house for the freak fest to see the two most prominent figures in the genre. The show also served as an educational piece for fans of Manson, who may not be familiar with Cooper and how influential he's been on their Anti-Christ Superstar over the years.
The night began with an impressive opening set by the female-fronted Picture Me Broken, featuring Brooklyn Allman--who also happens to be the daughter of The Allman Brother's Greg. The girl showed off some serious vocal chops when the band closed their short set with a cover of Heart's "Crazy On You."
A huge black curtain covered the front of the stage before Manson came on as the beautiful "The Flower Duet (Lakmé)" intro played through the speakers--it would also be the last mellow piece of music the crowds would hear all night.
As the curtain dropped Manson kicked off his 70-minute set with the monstrous "Angel With the Scabbed Wings" from 1996's Antichrist Superstar, which might be the most underrated song in his entire catalog. The 100-plus-degree weather didn't keep him from sporting a leather jacket and the same terrible skeleton mask that he wears during the first song. "Disposable Teens" followed and had fans jumping out of their seats. "Who's undercarriage is sweaty?" Manson asked before "Rock is Dead." While Manson may not be the ghouly goblin scaring parents and churchgoers these days, he may scare fans with his sweet dance moves, including him hopping around on one foot.
The melancholy "Coma White" slowed things down and saw Manson wearing a long trenchcoat and hat in the Tucson heat. Sonically the band sounded on point, but other than Manson himself the rest of the band had very little stage presence. It still feels like Twiggy is out of place playing guitar, and that he's too focused compared to his days stomping around the stage playing bass.
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As Manson sang "Just Bleeding Like a Polaroid" it sounded like his voice was what was bleeding. A giant mirror was brought out before the Depeche Mode cover "Personal Jesus," and assistants brought out balloons that Manson tied around his head. He screamed "hallelujah" over and over again at the end of the song before slapping hands with fans in the front. For "mOBSCENE" he stood, laid on, and straddled a huge chair as he screamed "Be obscene."
He pulled out stilts and creeped around the stage for his best cover, "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," which sounds just as eerie today and is still light years better than the original version by The Eurythmics. The highlight of the set was the anthemic "This Is the New Shit," which should never be let off the setlist. While it's no longer shocking, it is still nice to see Manson on top of the Antichrist Superstar podium during "Irresponsible Hate Anthem," and the song has aged like a fine wine. The band concluded with "The Beautiful People" just after 9:00, which actually might be the most shocking part of Manson's entire show.
Alice Cooper came out swinging right out of the gate with "Hello Hooray" and showed that even at 65 he is still a force to be reckoned with.
Cooper's band is a well-oiled machine with three guitar players, which might seem like overload if one of them weren't Australian guitar queen Orianthi. She is as much fun to watch on stage as Alice himself, and she absolutely shreds on guitar. Cooper wobbled around the stage during "No More Mr. Nice Guy" as he acted like the little old ladies he was singing about.
During "Billion Dollar Babies" he had a sword that had printed $100 bills with his face on them that he distributed to the crowd. While he pretty much stuck to the hits, he did pull out a couple newer tracks, like "I'll Bite Your Face Off" from 2011's Welcome 2 My Nightmare, which fit in well with the back catalog.
The real Alice antics didn't start until "Go to Hell," when Cooper cracked a whip around the stage. It was almost like he was about to crack the whip on Marilyn Manson and remind him where he got most of his act from.
For "Feed My Frankenstein" Alice sported a white lab coat covered in blood, and towards the end of the song he put on a gas mask, broke out an electric chair, and then came back out as a 12-foot-tall Frankenstein that roamed the stage. The climax of the show came during "Ballad of Dwight Fry," as Cooper lay across the front of the stage in a straight-jacket, as if he were in a psych ward.
When the nurse came to check on him he made his way out of the jacket and strangled her, and then two men in gas masks grabbed him and took a guillotine and beheaded him. One of the men ran around with Alice's head as the band played "I Love the Dead," and it was classic Cooper.
They followed the theatrics up with a rocking version of "School's Out," which also featured parts of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall: Part 2" which fit like a glove with Cooper's anthem.
Alice brought Manson out for the encore to perform "I'm Eighteen," and Manson made his presence felt to Cooper's band members while sharing vocal duties. He tormented guitarist Tommy Henriksen and then fell on the ground between Orianthi's legs and started pointing at her crotch as she played the solo. She was so focused on playing it was hard to tell if she even knew what Manson was up to. Even though Alice Cooper lay the groundwork for artists like Marilyn Manson--a fact that was obvious last night-- Manson's show-closing antics had people talking about him on the way out to their cars. He may have had the last laugh.
For more photos, click through to Page 3.
Critic's Notebook: Last night: Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson in Tucson. Personal Bias: I have been a Manson fan for almost 20 years now and have seen him through the good, the bad, and the ugly. My parents took me to see Alice Cooper at the Arizona State Fair on the "Trash" tour, and the older I get the more I like him. The Crowd: Tons of older people, was much more of an Alice crowd than Manson but he held his own. Overheard in the Crowd: "My mom pulled out her boobs during The Beautiful People I should have pulled mine out they are newer. Random Notebook Dump: The first time I ever met Alice Cooper he taught me how to putt a golf ball and stood over me like you see guys doing to girls in a pool hall.
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