Marilyn Manson @ Stampede Corral

Stampede Corral
Calgary, Alberta
February 8, 2013
Photos:  Raelyn Ross

Five years ago, if someone had told me I’d be seeing Marilyn Manson in concert one day, I’d have put my money down and taken that bet.

Oh don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike Manson and his music – actually I have a number of tracks on my iPod – I just never expected I’d actually find myself at one of his concerts.

Ever since the release of the Euythmics’s cover “Sweet Dreams” in 1995, my then 12 year old daughter “introduced” me to all things Manson, and over the years I have been schooled by my “little girl”.  I remember scheduled concerts cancelled and his being banned from performing in numerous Canadian cities in the late ‘90’s, and all the negative press through the years, and I couldn’t help but liken Manson’s exploits to that of Alice Cooper back in the ‘70’s (the father of Shock Rock).

As I sat in my seat waiting for the show to begin, my mind wandered to those early days of Manson’s career, and I wondered just what I was about to experience.

After the Butcher Babies kicked things off with a forty minute set, a cloud of smoke filled the stage and Manson finally appeared almost thirty minutes later than the scheduled 8:45 start.  The stage design was somewhat understated with a large red double cross showcased at center, and numerous smaller crosses projected behind the band. Wearing black and wearing a mask that covered half his face, he opened with “Hey, Cruel World…”, “Disposable Teens” and then, donning a Papal robe and Mitre, performed “The Love Song”. Other notable tracks in the hour long set were “The Dope Show”, the Depeche Mode cover, “Personal Jesus”, “Sweet Dreams”, “mOBSCENE”, “Antichrist Superstar” and “The Beautiful People”, closing with “Irresponsible Hate Anthem” and Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain”.

As the night went on I couldn’t help but think the show was a little tame, considering it was Marilyn Manson on stage. Sure, there were some theatrics – standing behind a large podium for “Antichrist Superstar”, brandishing a knife shaped microphone, and some cool lighting effects – but nothing I would consider shocking or disturbing, that one might expect from a musician who once was banned from performing at venues.  For the most part, it just seemed like a lot of smoke and confetti, as canons placed on each side of the stage mercilessly doused everyone with millions of tiny pieces of coloured paper over and over again.  That said, it was an entertaining rock show, no doubt about that, just minus the “shock” aspect.

The next day, as he performed in Edmonton, Alberta, my Manson loving daughter began comparing shows via text and I asked, ‘does it seem a little tame to you?’, her response: ‘yeah, but I can find mayhem in anything.’, and perhaps that’s just it, maybe I was looking too hard for that mayhem instead of letting it find its way to me.

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