Saturday, September 1, 2007 @ 10:07 AM
The closest you can get to Hel
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One of the most highly anticipated bills this summer is the Marilyn Manson/Slayer co-headlining trek. The announcement of the tour raised many eyebrows and had everyone wondering if it could be pulled off. Many said that Manson’s newer more accessibly commercial outings wouldn’t mesh well with Slayer’s over the top wall of destruction. But overall they have a strong enemy that bonds them – the evil Organized Religion.
Starting the show off with acute intensity was Orange County’s Bleeding Through. The ferociousness that they hit the stage with rivals that of any band they have opened for to date. Tonight was no exception. While probably not sharing most of the same fans as Slayer and Manson, or the fact that it was a Monday night, the venue at this point showed only a few scattered thousand in the seats (roughly 20,000 people can fill up the venue when you include the lawn section). There were three distinctive looks that you could immediately see out in the crowd once the band began: the people who were quickly becoming new fans, the fans that were thrilled to see their band, and the scared Emo kids – not knowing what to make of BT - who got to the show too early (Emo - kind of like goth but for pussies). The band roared on as if it were standing room only.
At one point, early in the show, vocalist Brandan Schieppati came off the side of the stage and went through the opening of the pit section and straight out in to the crowd. He went from one side of the venue to the other, at times more than half way to the back and was getting scores of fans involved in the show. Once back on stage the band commanded attention as they continued to slam through the rest of their set.
The visual presence of a demon loose in the building began as the stage lights quickly started swirling on the white curtain separating the stage from the audience, and pentagrams were coming from all directions. Soon enough, to the delight of the now near capacity and rabid crowd, Flesh Storm comes roaring out of the PA as the white curtain drops and the mighty Slayer take the stage. Wasting no time in showing who owns the stage tonight, they continue their onslaught as they tear through War Ensemble and Chemical Warfare.
Never shying away from their points of view or how they express them, Slayer uses brutal imagery as the video projections on the large screens behind them flash images and scenes of planes crashing in to buildings during Jihad. Throughout the rest of the set the images change to enhance whatever song the band was playing at the time (the set list included the usual assemblage of Jesus Saves, South of Heaven, Raining Blood, Hell Awaits, Angel of Death, Cult and Disciple).
Many people were surprised that Slayer was on before Manson, but as the band has always said, good luck to whoever has the balls to follow them.
At this point, even though Slayer played to a packed crowd, the people here only to see Manson are streaming in. Soon enough, Marilyn takes the stage with a slow grinder that the anxious crowd screams along with delight. The spark that sets the crowd off is the second number, Disposable Teens, and the venue nearly erupts. The verses are sung by the crowd with almost as much volume as Manson himself. But it was during this song where the sudden feeling of "been here, done this – anyone remember Alice Cooper?" comes to mind. Its throughout the rest of Manson’s set that I realize there simply is nothing shocking about him or his stage presence anymore. Even his backing band is made up of nameless players who lack the personality of prior members. The shock rocker has, well, been so over commercialized that he is no longer on the edge. He can only stand on the strength of his music, which falters during newer material. Disposable Teens, Beautiful People, the cover of Sweet Dreams, and Mobscene all draw the strongest responses from the crowd, while newer tunes like Heart-Shaped Glasses and Putting Holes in Happiness seem to fall on a crowd that is less than interested. I thought that this was the usual mindset of newer material being unknown, but people seemed to know the material and just wanted it to be over.
Overall, at least for Arizona, Slayer reigned supreme once again.