The Main Street Armory loomed ominous beneath a moonless sky Tuesday night as thousands lined up for the benediction within. It was like a scene out of a movie, as the soulless shuffled shoulder to shoulder past the bible beaters, buskers, and street-meat purveyors to the Twins of Evil circus inside, led by Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson. All that was missing were torches and howling dogs. Last night the Armory was more of a rock 'n' roll abattoir, a fortress of fear, a genuine highway to hell. And it was Rob Zombie's night as he commandeered the joint like his own castle Frankenstein. It was a positively brilliant show.
Don't get me wrong, Manson was good, too. It's just that his darkness seems a little more serious and consuming. It's a scandalous spectacle indeed, with the man challenging decency and deity at every turn. But he seems consumed by it, as well. His sound was a lot more full-on rock than the last time I saw him. But his brand of showbiz lacks Zombie's irony and humor.
Zombie roared out on stage with "Jesus Frankenstein," and I've got to say, the stage set alone was straight out of my teenage dreams. Robots and flaming cauldrons, and confetti, and smoke, and skeletons, all before projected loops of classic horror clips and stag reels (which led me to wonder, when is Zombie going to do a Russ Meyer remake?). The setlist only had two White Zombie nuggets, "More Human Than Human" and the crowd fave "Thunderkiss '65," where guitarist John 5 kicked out the jams at lightning speed before morphing into Alice Cooper's "School's Out." What a mob, what a crowd, what a scene, what a show.