MARILYN MANSON – Hartwall Areena, Helsinki, 11.11.2009

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Photo from Metaltown Festival 2009, Gothenburg

2009.11.11 Mr. Brian Warner, otherwise known as Marilyn Manson, is an expert when it comes to rocking and shocking. An absolute genius in his own area, he always knows how to put it right. I’ll let your own fantasy decide what exactly is meant by “it,” because with Marilyn Manson you will have to get dirty all the way down and then beg for more.

After releasing his latest studio album called The High End of Low in May 2009, Manson started his European tour from the gloomy and dark capital of Finland: Helsinki. The audience at Hartwall Areena was dressed accordingly to the event – enough for an uninitiated outsider to freak out completely.

As the big black curtain fell down, Manson started the show with “Cruci-fiction in Space” from the album Holy Wood. The stage was decorated with two sets of white candles, a background screen, and a few light projectors. One would expect more from the notorious Marilyn Manson’s shows. Next came “Disposable Teens,” after which he changed into a uniform and, “as a personal favour to you, because I cannot fornicate every single one of you,” played “Pretty as a Swastika.”

According to the latest concert reviews from the ongoing tour, it seems to be common opinion that Manson is not what he used to be. Well, neither is the world as it was 5 years ago. Yet, I have to agree that the concert lacked the “show” part that Manson has been famous for. The times of tribunes, Siamese twins, and exquisitely outrageous costumes are gone; the “shocking” part remains undetermined. Now we have to settle for a jacket with “Hell, etc” writings on the back and red laser gloves.

In spite of all this, Manson never fails to surprise. Before the start of “Irresponsible Hate Anthem,” he came out wrapped in a Finnish flag and wearing a khaki hardhat. The flag was thrown at the audience and was claimed back at the end of the song. Manson wiped the sweat off his face with it and threw it back, welcomed by loud girly screams.

The impressive “Devour” shook both Hartwall Areena and myself with the power of emotions. If this is love in Marilyn Manson’s style, then we want it! I am sure that every girl in the audience that night secretly wished to have something like this dedicated to her. Knowing that even the grim Brian Warner has a vulnerable heart makes the rest of us feel less miserable in this world.

Old songs like “Dried Up, Tied Up and Dead to the World,” “Coma White,” and “Dope Show” were welcomed the most warmly. During “Four Rusted Horses,” Manson made a weak attempt to come back to what he used to be. He came out dressed as a preacher, in a black coat with light crucifixions projected all over it, holding a book in his hand. It turned out to be a Bible, which burned down by itself further into the song.

The big deal about this tour and the album is that Manson’s long lost bassist, Twiggy Ramirez – who left the band in 2002 – came back to share the stage with the band again. To demonstrate the mutual love in the Manson-Ramirez “relationship,” the two musicians kept on throwing the odd “fuck you” at each other in a particularly kinky way, followed by “fuck me!” -shouts from the audience.

The absence of the actual stage play was replaced by a sophisticated light show and thick smoke, making the band look ghostly and hard to see. During the performance of “Sweet Dreams,” Manson became a floating light, carrying a lamp by his face and being fully visible only when he stepped in the light of stage projectors.

The encore consisted of “If I Was Your Vampire” and “The Beautiful People” to my personal delight. “You’ve got ‘HELL’ in the name of your city!” Manson cheered to the audience before the last song. All the beautiful people out there surely proved him right.

Marilyn Manson is a genius by axiom, but Mr. Brian Warner is susceptible to life. He still might come back to shock us for one last time, however, now it seems like the best days of the great shock-rocker are behind. He still is a remarkable musician and I tip hat off to him, the things he did, and the history he created. Nobody who came after him will be able to walk in his shoes. He absolutely deserves every cheer that came from the crowd during the show. Mr. Manson, we thank you!

Text: Tanja C. | Photos: Cornelia Wickel | Ed: Amy Wiseman

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