Bad Adventures chapter nine - CSU Convocation Center, Cleveland OH, 4/26/97.

This one was never a threatened show in the political sense, but it had its own share of little worries. Various people had said various things and there was some pre-established tension; I will not say that I wasn't afraid to go. *sigh* But Regina arrived on time, the final draft of our flyers was ready to go (yea, Damian), the laundry got done, the vibe seemed stabilized, and we were just about to crawl off (at midnight) for a few hours' sleep before arising to set off in the pre-dawn--
When the phone rang. Long distance from Canada.
It was the nursing home where EVB's mom had lived for the past seven years, calling to say that her failing health had failed for good. She had died at 11:40 PM.
Now - and I have her permission to say this - the relationship between Liz and her mom had ceased to have any good in it by the time Liz made the third grade. To be absolutely blunt, the late Mrs. Bouras was an abusive drunk who terrorized her husband and daughters for years longer than should have been permitted. This is no place for all the sad details (and sad they are; Liz's childhood was by all reports an extended nightmare of screaming fights, broken bones, physical battery and terror), but it's fair to say that Liz has considered all ties with her blood family severed from the day her father committed suicide and her mother was packed off to her native country to live out the rest of her senile days. So her response to this announcement was not exactly one of grief. However, there was shock, and relief, and unresolved anger, and a rush of bad memories, and --well, she needed to talk.
So none of us got any sleep, and we weren't in the best condition come 3:15 AM. But we set forth anyway, with Regina (bless her) splitting the driving chores with Liz, who was in no shape to drive the whole way. Made our rendezvous with SHARPTOOTH and tumBLEweED and headed on out, reaching Cleveland at about noon.
Remember back when I was whining about how sick I was of freezing my butt off waiting in line for Manson shows and how I couldn't wait for the spring tour? Welcome to the spring tour, kids: the first time we ever actually picked up a sunburn waiting on line. *purrrr* Warm and sunny and thoroughly, well, springlike. The all-in-black contingent soon began to gripe and seek shade.=) Jason and Kelli, DarkeOne and HooDoo were already on hand, joined soonish by Phoenix, rudy, Jeff Davis...the spook contingent grew. Jason proudly showed off his terrific new tattoo, a full-color likeness of Twiggy taken from their last Alternative Press cover. He couldn't wait for Twig to see it. Kristen and CKath-E joined the group. Regina and Liz hauled out their makeup trunks and glitter flew everywhere...
What's become the usual circus gradually developed, with TV news vans cueing up for a shot at us and police cars patrolling the line. None of the promised protestors, though...and us with 900, count'em, of our spiffy new flyers...awwww no fun. Chikn arrived with her new flyers and a coupla'friends; Tina arrived with a surprising new look (can this be our turtleneck Tina? in a NY Loose t-shirt, tights and *braids*?! holy smoke! we're talking sharp here!) and we exchanged some cautious banter, satisfying ourselves that the feared bloodshed wouldn't occur. (Whew.=) --By now the night's fatigue and emotional stress had wiped Liz out completely, and she was curled up on the blanket someone had liberated from their hotel room, using my jacket for a sunscreen, sound asleep. (I don't think she could have unwound enough to sleep without the protective presence of so many friends, so everyone give yourselves a pat. You helped more than you knew.)
They let us in about 6:30 and we all happily nailed our usual spots on the barricade, with the Twiggy Fan Club (Jason, CKath-E and Regina) setting up shop to the left and the Zim fans tucked in on the far right. Leaving us and you-know-who dead center. =) I've got coyote and the somewhat-revived EVB to my immediate left and Jeff and rudy on my right and I'm singing along with the Cedarmont Kids. It's all good.
Helmet knock out a great set, tight and smooth-running. I'm really getting to like them - they're a nice combination of power and melody and they genuinely are fun to watch. Page (the singer) has a brief tiff with someone in the audience who apparently wants to start a fight...I think their set's about two songs too long, but that's minor. Nice Helmet. =)
Rasputina are just as wonderful as last week, though the crowd's ruder, pitching coins and cup lids at them. I can hear a coin thunk against someone's cello and I later hear singer Melora took a hit to the cheek. Cripes, guys... But the ladies are troupers and deliver another unique set of lovely weirdness. (I wish I could remember the line midset about what we could expect from the next act...something like "sociobiological experiments and goat sodomy"...)---Their exit line is a gem: "He's in the building. He can hear what you're thinking. Good night."
Only a matter of time now and we wait through Bowie...and we wait...
Darkness and smoke. The curtain, instead of being pulled open, falls in a heap and is scrambled away with by roadies- whoa! Is everything OK? must be, as Twig and Pogo appear-- and the spotlight hits the staircase. Just a beat late, Manson's already headed down the stairs, but he doesn't abreact (whew). (I shoot a quick look over at rudy to see his reaction, but I've lost sight of him. Darn.) --It's delicious to watch the Reverend lift his chin and take in the whole delirious crowd with that calm possessive gaze. Same butterfly/RS-cover makeup as before, same three horizontal slashes in black across his throat, the black hose/shorts from Winston-Salem now as holed and shredded as the rest of his nylons. Scores of new-looking red nicks and cuts around his right nipple, where he's taken to pounding himself with the microphone of late. --As they kick into "Angel" there's a sudden burst of sparkly color to my left - the Twig Clan just moved as one to shower Twiggy with clouds of glitter! It hangs in the air like pixie dust for a second, mesmerizing its subject, who bounces appreciatively. Yea gang! --Manson doesn't deign to notice this shiny intrusion onto his severe monochrome stage..=) "Angel" roars straight into "Get Your Gunn" and everyone's in fine form. And the crowdsurfers, of which we had practically zero before this, suddenly report for duty. Shit.
I take a quick look around and note that the stained-glass Jesus is flanked by other figures, saints or apostles I suppose. (Manson had said it was based on a famous painting, and I do think I've seen it before. Research time.) Zim looks as pretty as ever and Twig is bonding big-time with his adorers barricade left. So cute.
The Rev's not quite as lit up as in Winston-Salem - maybe it's the invisibility of the promised protestors? Which doesn't mean he's not in high gear. He glares balefully out over the houseful (guest list of over 250 tonight and you know it's because of the hometown kid.) "I grew up here..." comes that bitter drone - they cheer, and he stares them down - "..and every day people used to kick my ass." Uh, heh. Not so many cheers this time. Pause. "It's payback time, fuckers." And now it's we who aren't from around here that do the cheering. (I think I've finally got the accent of his "stage voice" figured out - it's just what makes sense for a person raised in the Midwest who's lived awhile now in the Deep South. Nasal Ohioan twang crossed with a Southern drawl. You don't hear it so much when he's just speaking because he doesn't raise his voice, but when he cranks the volume it's clear. It's evolved a bit from the extreme inhuman pitch it had two years ago, when he really did sound -as EVB observed- like a Dalek, but it's still a flat blade with a jagged edge.)
I'm mesmerized by "Kinderfeld" and I'm not the only one - judging by discussions since the night everyone finds it riveting. What are we reacting to? Has Manson locked onto some dream-archetype that's not his alone? Monsters of kids' movies...Whatever, when he creeps into the light - an eight-foot-high robotic spider with a human face, the incongruously bright pink flute clipped on within reach, the battered leather helmet that holds his hair aside pulling attention to the pale skin and wide, wide eyes - you can feel the room just stop. The purest moment of oh-wow I've ever stood in. --He's really got the stilts down cold, rocking and swaying with ungainly grace. Looks as innocent and serious as a grade-schooler when he plays his little solo and as unearthly as a giant mantis when he suddenly swings both arm braces into the air and the strobes go lightning. It is so beautiful. Inadequate word but words fail me. It's like something you saw in a dream, almost but not quite remembered, a surreal and unfathomable beauty.
And speaking of beauty I'm still in love with "Apple of Sodom" too. They've fixed that cranky snow machine so it pours flakes and not huge soapy snowballs, and the flurries swirl down on Manson's wonderful little Fellini tableau - Rasputina on the stairs, the giant staring Christ, the bloodstained Reverend singing "--to cover me in snow." Some especially apt lighting changes during this one. My favorite is when the bright spots suddenly zing out over the audience casting Manson and the falling flakes into silhouette. (This show is so cinematic! You can picture the band videotaping the early dress rehearsals and studying them like game films. How else could you be sure how a certain effect would look?)
"Little Horn" is huge - that one seems to gain power and intensity every time it's played live. A splat of burgundy in the face seeps under my contact lenses and I much regret the Rev's dead-on aim. OW OW OW. Stings like vinegar - must try to duck next time... All the big rockers, in fact, are gaining in apocalyptic quality. We get the recited "1996" again tonight, just as stun-gun powerful. I'm startled at one change tonight - "anti-whore" is backed by a direct point at someone up there and pulled out to a hellfire preacher's bawl, "an-ti-hoaaAHH!" Whew! (Whoever got that better get her stuff off the bus NOW.) -
---I'm not sure where it happened, but the crowd had been getting steadily rougher down front, and I was being harder and harder pressed to keep my grip on the barricade. It doesn't help that, as we're just off center stage, we're right under Manson's nose much of the time and therefore right in the path of crowdsurfers homing on him. At any rate the moment comes when the whole pit bucks and I'm ripped clear of the rail. From then on my report fails, as I can't see Manson, can't maintain my balance and am shoved this way and that. The press of bodies is so tight that I also start finding it hard to breathe.
Encores: "I'm not sure if Ohio is still part of the United States - maybe we need our own national hate anthem!" Crowd loves it. I'm hanging on, hoping I last through it all. Out comes the lily microphone for "Man That You Fear" and as it proceeds - beautiful as ever - my vision slowly purples, ears start to buzz. I add it up in my skull - no food in about seventeen hours, no sleep at all, no oxygen now...I'm blacking out. I don't want to fall down in the pit. With all the concentration I have left I lock my attention not just on Manson but on one spot of light on the back of his hand, a bit of shine in the red blood, and watch it so hard I block out everything. Tendons moving under the skin. I will not fall down. Will not.
And I don't fall. I manage to hold till the lights come on and then I lurch out of the pit and drop in a heap at the rail. Eventually my gang filter out of the mob and help me outside. Amy (that's TumBLEweED) is already there w/SHARPTOOTH, doing some mousepad business. The Xtians apparently were here, judging by the scattered Jack Chick comics everywhere, but have made good their escape (yah, cowards!). I acquire a non-shredded one for my collection and set about getting back to full consciousness. Some Spooks appear, others don't. Still no rudy. Damian had already arranged to deliver the flyer mastercopies to Manson at the aftershow party, at a club called Trilogy, so we're headed there like it or not....
It's an OK little place but flashy, overcrowded and really loud.I've got my earplugs back in. Despite the supposed secrecy (all three people who told me this was where the band would be going did it with great clandestination), a good lot of the audience appears to have come along as well. Damian heads up to hand over the goods (and meet the Rev after much wishing=). Amy, whose balance has been teetering all night -- she actually refused her barricade spot, though at any point in the previous six hours she could have swapped her floor ticket for a seat and didn't, none of us know why-- now flat refuses her chance to go upstairs, so coyote and I go. Whyever. I'm so out of it that I honestly hope I don't talk to Manson - I'm not even coherent. coyote doesn't seem much better. We finally manage to find sitting space on the upstairs' nice comfy couches and fall asleep on the spot. At one point I'm wakened to say hi to Jenn Miller and give her a flyer, but the next time I come to we're leaving. Great party *yawn*.
At our very welcome restaurant stop Damian tells the tale of his Manson meeting and is congratulated by all. (The man was evidently most appreciative.=) The group fractures, some heading straight home, some to sleep. Tina and Tommy are roaming the parking lot anxiously looking for rudy, whom apparently no one can find...my brain has tunnel-visioned down to shower and bed. We giggle about what Rasputina said. We're out.

..to main gig review page.
..to the next night.