Marilyn Manson: Los Angeles Universal Amphitheatre

Manson strips, MacGowan jigs, morals are torpedoed...

After five years in the spotlight as the shock rocker the religious right loves to hate, there’s very little that Marilyn Manson could do on stage that he hasn’t already done at some point. But none of the ten thousand plus fans jammed into the Universal Amphitheatre and crammed into black leather, pleather, vinyl and plastic outfits are particularly looking for anything truly extraordinary. Just the usual simulated sodomy, stomping around on stilts, bishop costumes and using the microphone in a manner and motion more commonly employed with toilet paper in hand would be fine.

And while these happen at intervals, each of these antics could be considered more or less par for the course. Given it’s Manson, a different measure must be employed to grade the show. Standing in the wings stage left is Manson’s affianced, actress Rose McGowan, and it gradually becomes apparent that her dances and the diminishing area covered by Manson’s clothing might actually be the best barometers of the evening’s progress.

Emerging from behind the curtain in full leather to the tune of ‘Irresponsible Hate Anthem’ Manson begins the gig mercifully fully clothed and the song merits a swinging of the arms and the occasional idle head nod from McGowan. By ‘Dope Show’ the crowd had been led in a chant of “Fuck you,” and Manson’s shirtless. McGowan swivels her arms and hips in such a way that if the song were a couple minutes longer she likely would have screwed herself a foot or so into the stage.

For ‘Disposable Teens’ Manson sheds his outfit to the point where he’s only wearing knee-length black boots and some patchwork bit of leggings that offer a kind of latticework in the seat. McGowan bounces contentedly with her hands locked over her belly. A similar condition for both Manson and McGowan holds true for the fivesome’s creepy cover of the Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)’.

The encore of ‘Beautiful People’ brings forth McGowan’s most animated effort yet, complete with handclaps, head and hip shakes and the occasional fist pump. Manson drops what’s remaining of his pants and deposits the balance of his bare butt on a security guard’s head, before walking off stage with his pants in the general region of his knees, surely to compliment himself on a job well done.

Colin Devenish