Golden Dome, Pittsburgh PA, April the 30th 1995.

Well, actually, it was outside Pittsburgh. Way outside. Beaver Co. Community College is in the countryside middle of nowhere but it does have the *ta-da* Golden Dome (formerly, so help me, called the Beaverdome...), a geodesic basketball court. It also has paranoid-as-fuck local law enforcement types with bullhorns and dogs and eight squad cars, all of which they brought around. It dawned on me that the Cops' Little Black Book of Teenage Say-tannic Activity probably mentions that April 30 is Beltane/Walpurgisnacht, a major holiday for pagans and devil-worshippers, and having on hand a largish crowd plus TWO bands more or less identified with the Horned One, they doubtless expected the worst. (Hee hee.) --Got metal-detected and made a run for spots at the barrier, got ourselves front and center as usual. Korn played; I still think they're mediocre and boring but I'm beginning to kinda like Jonathan (you have to give him points for those bagpipes).

--Between their set and MM's something was played in place of the usual music: something impressively chanted, ceremonial, with magickal names and a chorus responding to the main voice. Something that at the time I was dead certain was a Black Mass. Utterly perfect and delectably perverse notion... [It was later proven to be, indeed, a Black Mass, the version committed to vinyl by Dr. LaVey, so the Reverend had done his work well.] I swear to this much: it was a Satanic/magickal ceremony of some sort (it ended with a big, dramatic "Shemhamforash! Hail Satan!"); it was a pretty damn audacious mass ritual move, and I give the Reverend full marks for it; and I think I know why he asked, last night, if we were going to be here. (We gave him a Baphomet pendant; thus we'd get the joke.) --Totally cracked me up. Squad cars, cop dogs, all the trappings of straight authority, and here it was happening right in front of them and they had no clue...what bozos...

Anyway, after that, we were expecting a dynamite show and we got it. The guys were on full charge; they ripped through the set as if it owed them something. Mr. Manson was more wired than I've ever seen him, with that maniacal, glitter-eyed grin on his face for nearly the whole set, twisting and bounding about. He did a stage dive, backing up all the way to the keyboard and running full-tilt off the stage; when he was tossed back he leaped up and did it again. He promised/threatened to fuck the next person who made it onstage and then actually dropped the mike and crouched over with his hands out, ready to takers, even the crowd surfing ceased.

The songs were plain monstrous. The set has gotten so tight and so focused that it has unbelievable power - they blast Danzig out of the water, in my considered opinion (and I've seen Danzig at least a dozen times before this tour). Twiggy is brilliant, this trashed little ragdoll producing a staggering Godzilla stride of a bass noise so loud and dense it makes your eyes blur; Ginger can't quit grinning while he thunders away; Daisy keeps his head down and looks so serious while spraying out those unique imaginative riffs (but just when you think he's all concentration, he'll strike some guitar-hero pose and grin), Madonna's impassive and scary, and the Reverend is sublime, all stare and bone and strange intensity. Look at him standing crucifixed and white-spotlit on his cube and you have to believe "Lunchbox" is gonna come true.

Trivia: Madonna had "XXIX" written on his forehead (29; the Church of Satan was founded on 4/30/66, so this was the 29th anniversary). Daisy had green zigzags drawn where his shaved-off eyebrows used to be. Mr. Manson had the hollow of his left eye (with the blue contact) filled and ringed with white, but a natural-looking black eyebrow drawn over the brown eye. (He also wore the opera gloves again, but not for long). Some of the spitters actually hit him this time, too...
Twiggy fell over toward the end of the set - we couldn't tell why, just looked over and saw his black boots kicking in the air - and the Rev crept at him as if to investigate under his skirt, but a roadie got him to his feet before he could be molested. ..
And trashing the gear at the end of the set seems to have become standard. They did it in Wilkes-Barre, though I forgot to say so, and they did it here, finishing with Madonna dragging his keyboard stand right through the drum kit and Ginger actually jumping up and down on his drumhead (it somehow survived).
(Finally got to meet Daisy after the show. I told him I didn't have anything for him to sign, just wanted to thank him and the guys for being so nice. I got a big genuine smile and a thanks, plus a handshake. Sweet smile. Very warm fingers.)

Whew. Coolest Beltane ever! (Blessed be, guys!)

--to main gig reviews page.