LIVE: Marilyn Manson, O2 Apollo Manchester, 4/12/17

While Marilyn Manson has always enjoyed a spot of drama, tonight’s montage of not one, not two but THREE songs building up to his appearance on Manchester’s O2 Apollo stage makes things just slightly laboured.

After his entrance however, Manson somehow manages to ensure the momentum of his show doesn’t drop even once (for the most part), despite the fact he has a broken leg and can barely walk, let alone perform his usual theatrics (see his use of stilts during the live versions of Sweet Dreams for examples). Revelation 12 involves him seated in a throne-themed motorised wheelchair that spins round and is manoeuvrable across the stage.

He takes to standing for This Is The New Shit; a pleasant addition to the setlist as even though it’s one of his most well known songs, it’s not been a setlist staple for a while. While he snarls and berates the crowd, it’s a thought that Manson might sound even better live than he does on record; he’s in his element and surrounded by his outfits, props and dramatics which seem to only compliment him. Disposable Teens and mOBSCENE are as perfect as ever, complete with outfit changes and audience participation enough to occasionally render Manson’s need to sing unnecessary. Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge in all its Bowie-esque glory showcases Manson’s captivating vocal capabilities that are often overlooked when taking his live showmanship into consideration. Preceding The Dope Show, he dons a fabulous knee-length coat made entirely of raven black feathers (because what is Marilyn Manson without his over the top costumes; which have admittedly gotten less outrageous over the years…). The intro to I Don’t like The Drugs drops off into The Dope Show, a certifiable Manson classic- sleazy, filthy and yet simultaneously thought-provoking, this song still carries all of its old charm and despite it being almost 20 years old.

Being unable to do his usual stilt walking during Sweet Dreams, a broken Manson manipulates the situation to his advantage, laying atop a hospital bed brought on for him by the doctors clad in full scrubs that have been flanking him- aiding/acting as props throughout the show. This scene is set against a backdrop of white, covered by crazy musings, scribblings and random letters. The aforementioned Sweet Dreams, followed by Tourniquet are one of the show highlights, accompanied by Manson’s hospital bed writhing and oscillating, allowing his audience to completely forget that this is only because he isn’t able to walk anywhere. We Know Where You Fucking Live sees him take to a wheelchair (wheeled by one of his doctor assistants), with a torch taped to the bottom of his microphone which he shines into the faces of the crowd while demanding to know ‘what’s a nice place like this, doing round people like us?’ over and over. Manson’s clever word play during Say 10 sees off the main bulk of the show.

As his microphone sheathed in white flowers indicates Coma White is up next, and its stunning while it lasts- but is cut short just after the first chorus. Saturnalia, cut with snippets of Killing Strangers and a pretty lengthy guitar solo by Manson himself sees the pace drop somewhat; its all a little lacklustre which probably wasn’t his intention for the run up to the end of the show… Beautiful People however naturally brings things back, while Manson is sporting a possible Nazi hat, perfectly in line with his usual controversial yet thought provoking antics. As he leaves the stage, sound-tracked by Johnny Cash’s God’s Gonna Cut You Down, Marilyn Manson is yet again proving he is just as undeniable as ever. Being barely able to walk, yet still finding a way to keep up the theatrics and provide the standard of show you are known for, speaks volumes about his dedication to the cause. His message, principles and everything he stands for in the current climate, are still just as relevant as they have always been, and this is exactly the reason why after all these years, Manson and his art deserve the utmost respect.

Photos by Erin Moore at Forte Photography UK

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