Bad Adventures chapter seven - Wheeling Coliseum, Wheeling WV, 2/15/97.

OK, you've probably read how Dayton went for yr sister (and I do appreciate all the expressions of sympathy, sibs). Not a happy paula on Friday night. Show was fine and all, but it wasn't exactly the gran-profundo High Ceremonial Magickal event I had led myself to expect, and besides we still didn't get "Man That You Fear", and I LOST my first and only ever aftershow pass for godsake...you get the idea. Snivel snivel, I know, sorry. I'm just saying this so you'll have some idea how much better Wheeling was. =)

All the way there I was psyching myself up to deal with the expected hordes of Xtian protestors. You may recall that SHARPTOOTH and I had put together a flyer to hand out (still available on my webpage), debunking some of the worse MM rumors and basically appealing to whatever they use for common sense, studded with carefully chosen Bible quotes. Well, ST and a friend had then taken the text I wrote and whipped up a TOTALLY kick-ass version, beautifully illustrated and formatted. Goddamn, it's neat. Not many had printed well, to ST's irritation, so we resolved to reserve the nice ones for actual picketers (and the band), and hand out my generic versions to anyone else. I felt armed real well...

Well, we got there and there was, shock horror, ONE guy picketing the arena. How very intimidating. He marched up and down with his "Wheeling City Council Supports Satanism" sign and would not speak to anyone, accept a flyer, or even look at us. Kind of anticlimactic when I'd been prepared to practically run a gauntlet of soulsavers.

Anyway. We stood and froze and chatted up our fellow spooks. I was engaged in my usual preshow practice of selling DM&Gs when Jason (Aidsclown) bustled up to me and said "OK, local news is here, and CNN will be here soon. I've got interviews for you and Damian (that's SHARPTOOTH) with Channel Four at 4:00 and CNN at 4:30, OK?"===??!! ME? CNN?! *gkk!*===A Spook I'd been talking to said "Are you, like, officially representing the band?" and I said "I guess I am now!"

--To make a long story short, the media were all over the place. I didn't talk to CNN, though EVB did, but I talked to Wheeling TV Channel Four, along with ST, Charfkn'lee, Kelli, Jason and I think Jeff Davis. SHARPTOOTH and Charlee found their true calling as evangelists for the Church of ACSuperstar, I do believe, as they did a dozen or so (14?) radio, newspaper and TV interviews. (Go, guys!! The Family's proud of ya!)

Best of all was the arrival of the Prayer Vigilantes, maybe ten of em, who unloaded themselves from their bus just before door time, candle cups in hand. At last the real Christian contingent was here! They got a huge cheer --and a few snowballs -- from the waiting fans ("Satan scores a touchdown, crowd goes wild!" said I). and down upon them simultaneously swooped (a) the CNN team and (b) SHARPTOOTH & Charfkn'lee. SHARPTOOTH says the CNN guys got great footage of the Xtians refusing to talk to him or accept a flyer. (As he tells it, he said something like "so, this proves that you're not interested in discussing this, you're not interested in our views, you don't want to know what we have to say" [I'm not quoting him exactly]. And the Xtian type just would not. Heh.)

--I hope this stuff airs sometime! [They did eventually use some of their footage as a segment of "American Edge" in May, though sadly disincluded the epic confrontation detailed above. Overall an excellent piece though.] -- It would just goddamn-well ROCK to see the Family acquit itself so well on national TV! --Let me say just once more how proud I am of my brothers, who were coolasfuck, and of having written the thing in the first place =).

On we plow. Doors open, in we go, sit down (I do like this method! Beats the hell out of being pinned to your standing-space on the barricade for the whole night) and get reacquainted with our companions. ST runs in with his CNN story and is acclaimed by all. Jeannette then scoots over and gives us tonight's set of aftershow passes, and everyone charges me most sternly to take better care of this one for cryin' out loud! I SWEAR I will. (I still can't imagine how I became separated from last night's pass.)

Get caught unawares by the charge to the barricade and end up second row, right behind EVB and coyote, with ST and tumBLEweED on my right and Jeff Davis and Charlee on my left. Pretty good company here. =)

L7 play. They're fine. They don't engage my interest much, but they're fun to watch. At least the guy behind me who was bellowing "Bring on Manson! L7 sucks!" shuts up...I hate hecklers...

Prerecorded voice - it was the same last night [Or so I thought. I've been told that this is Sean Beavan and it's live every night.] welcomes us to the Family (yea!) and warns us that throwing stuff at the band might result in termination of the show. [Guess the Rev is sick of being clocked by unexpected shoes.] "Enjoy the show, motherfuckers," it concludes and I'm giggling at hearing this term spoken in such a mellow radio-guy voice...

Then darkness and smoke and liturgical chanting fades into the dense throb opening of "Angel With the Scabbed Wings", and a white spotlight picks out Manson. Once more I'm struck with how different his entrance is now: no more creeping onstage all bent and twisted, he walks measuredly from the back of the stage, arms open wide, proud and assured. Grabs the mike, into the song and the crowd goes totally nuts - the whole pit pogos as one

...TERRIFIC set. It is mindboggling how concentrated and powerful the band is - the show is stunning. The big rockers like "1996" are just plain murderous and the crowd is feeding back huge waves of energy. Manson's performance has become more intense than ever, constantly in motion from slow and sexy (stroking himself suggestively to sing "Don't you want some of this?", doing a striptease as he peels off his backbrace and frilled panties) to jaggedly kinetic, striking iconic,
sharply lit poses. Damn damn,, they're just so great!

--He's proud of us muthafuckers for coming here tonight =), because there are a hundred people out there praying for our souls (a hundred ? When did that many show up?)...who think we should be in church...but we are in church...and he sweeps his arm back as the lights come up full on the stained glass and angels. Love it.

Another beautiful, spotlit, snowy "Cryptorchid" and a blastingly strong "ACS". I've gotten to love the podium sequence; I still don't think it integrates well, but it's such fkn' great theater. Kills me when after tossing the first few kisses he straightens his tie and brushes down his lapels, too. Whatta sharp-dressed man.=) Neat that he does the next coupla' songs in the red shirt (unbuttoned) and black pants before stripping back down to surgical-wear; man, he does look good in red.

We're getting crushed pretty hard in the pit, but I'm not in any pain and can still see, so it's cool.--(Big thanks to Jeff, whose shoulder I had my head on for most of the set - it was the best way to keep a clear line of sight.) --the bottle smash comes right at us this time, I can feel fragments hit. I know it's fake (it fails to cut his chest when he tries), so I don't think I've been lacerated. Whew.

--Guess last night really was a Special Event: no midget tonight, no "Deformography" (so it was "my Valentine's gift to you"), no "Mr. Superstar" (thank goodness). "Tourniquet" is utterly sad and after it ends, Manson sings quietly "You never ever believed in me, you never ever believed in me, you never ever believed..." Once more I'm crying. There's more to being a big rock'n'roll star than you knew, and a lot of it's no fun, isn't it?...

And finally we get to see "Man That You Fear" again, EVB for the first time. SHARPTOOTH's right when he says (later) that it's not quite as strong if the hall can't accomplish total blackness between strobe flashes, but that's a tiny point - it's still a gripping and beautiful sequence. It's a bit different from the last time we saw it, he's trembling markedly by the end of the song, strain or drama or cold. No matter. And the spotlight holds on the solo mike and bloody lilies and feedback...

What an amazing show this is. I'm dead serious, there can't be a more dramatic and powerful and moving performance happening anywhere in rock'n'roll. We are lucky kids to be aware of it and able to share it.

(I'm cutting this one in two; it's way long; in part two you'll read all about our wondrous adventure with the monster you fear, also known as what I did with my *second* ever backstage pass.)

..to main gig review page.
..to the special event...