(no review of 11/9 at the Ritz in Raleigh NC, for some reason, so we resume with...)
Bad Adventures chapter five - Grady Cole Center, Charlotte NC, 11/10/96.
Day gets off to a great start when - with the help of trusty
native guide Melanie/MMslavegrl -
I venture into Kinko's for more fanzine covers and get cornered by a local pastor (was it my leather jacket? My pentagram ring? The big silver glitter Marilyn Manson sticker?...), who wants to know what church I go to. I tell him I'm a witch. He tells me how important it is to love God. I tell him that I love my god and my goddess very much, thank you, just as I'm sure he loves his (hey, I tried to be nice). He wants to find out when and how Jesus let me down. I tell him I just don't have any time for a religion as young as his. Oh man, the South...it's just unbelievable...
And speaking of unbelievable, Grady Cole Center is a college basketball arena. First time we've seen Manson in any such place. The crowd online is so loud and rowdy that local spooks are actually apologizing to us for the redneck quotient (" - and you probably thought Raleigh was bad," comments Melanie's friend Derek). We're getting a bit scared. It's hours before showtime and the crowd vibe isn't just wound-up and excited, it's borderline violent. It's our last show of the tour, we're already bashed and bruised; are we going to go down front again or do this one from the balcony? --Saratina can't get in unless she's on NY Loose's guest list; EVB and Carrie are nowhere to be seen; it's just me and coyote, Amy n' Damien (Tumbleweed and Sharptooth), and Melanie for sure. We try to settle our nerves. The club's being picketed by - so help me - guys from a biker-oriented Christian ministry, who hand out flyers explaining that Jesus was an anti-establishment rebel just like us. (I swear this is true - I kept the flyer!) Damien contribs pages from his little New Testament and excitable Marco does some Bible readings which highly amuse the crowd.
Unable to convince ourselves things are OK, we decide to go upstairs with Melanie. EVB turns up - as does dear friend Chris, bearing the proud news that he'll soon be officially ordained into the Church of Satan and will likely head the Charlotte NC CoS grotto ("grotto" = "temple" "grove" "congregation" etc.) We offer warm congrats. --I feel better now that he's here, but I'm still not going to the rail. =)
ANYway. We get past the frisking, searches and metal detectors, and park ourselves in the balcony. Kids drift slowly in and continue to do so throughout NY Loose's set; the entry process is so slow I hope they all get inside in time for Manson. MTV News cameras are on hand again, hanging around the soundboard. [Later found out they were from MTV Europe.]
--Oh, man, something's not right in here...(the Bowie tape, I might mention, was followed by a Satanic hymn in Latin, to the interest of the night's CoS contingent.) They come on and instantly everything's wound too tight. The kids go ballistic, the whole floor (a basketball court, mind!) surging up and down, back and forth, surfers rolling across the mass' heads almost constantly. Even I can tell the sound mix in this barn isn't good and Manson has got to be picking up overwrought energy in waves. He's got a big glass bottle with him, too, and I don't think it's beer. Fuck. I'm glad we're up here and not down there. [Odd note: about three songs into the set, he walks over to the barricade, looks out and says: "Is anybody here?" Big cheer. "I said, is anybody here?" More cheering, but he turns away. Whoa. Maybe he noticed we're not in our usual spot staring up at him? Not to flatter our importance, but I sure never saw him do that before...]
He douses himself and his pantyhose with the bottle of burgundy (OK, it's Cabernet Sauvignon actually=), then smashes it on Twig's guitar. Twig jumps back startled from the shower of glass. I'm expecting the return of last tour's chest-cutting ritual, but no - can't see where the broken bottle gets tossed. There's an awful, rudimentary "Lunchbox" ; "SD" is done with the crack about "catering to our MTV audience" that was last heard in Philly. A water bottle flies a good forty feet and crashes into the light board at center court - MTV camera guys scramble to protect their gear and MM's crew frantically mop up water. The show's running as scheduled but it's balanced on a razor-edge. Still, they could get through it --
It's at "Cryptorchid" that it blows up. Spotlight, snow and backing tape start up apparently on cue, but was the tape out of synch? Manson's head snaps up as if startled - lights out, everything stops dead. When the lights come back up Manson snarls "Shoot, shoot, shoot, motherfucker," and they go straight into "Reflecting God" - no "Cryptorchid," "ACS" or "Beautiful People." TRG ends in a chaos of microphone stand swings and drum demolition, and they're gone. Cripes. Seven songs cut and it's over.
The house lights and the closing tape of "Apple of Sodom" come up, tellling us seasoned fans that there'll be no more, but the crowd expects more and stays put. (They got eleven songs, no special effects, less than an hour of show.) Event staff try to shoo them away, but they're not having it. Must think it's just an intermission or something. The pause stretches and stretches, the crowd gets restless, stamping and chanting "Manson! Manson!" We're starting to wonder if we shouldn't make our escape before there's a riot...and then comes one of the most amazing moments I've ever seen at a gig. Beleaguered sound guy Sean - of all people - comes out and announces that the rest of the show has been cancelled because Twiggy's arm was cut by that broken bottle. (Yeah, right; like anyone saw any sign of damage for half an hour after said break.) And just as we in the stands are shaking our heads at the transparency of this ploy, the entire floor underneath us opens up in a roar: "Bullshit! Bullshit! Bullshit!"
Well, anyway, we hung around long enough for things to clear out, and we hung around long enough for Amy and Damien and Tina to talk to NY Loose, and then we hung around even longer while Tina spent even more quality time with the cute new Yorkers (she was finally pried bodily out of the Cole Center by a freezing and out-of-patience me). I saw "MM SUX" written on the haze of a steamed-over window. I don't think that was a rare opinion.
( ...I wonder if there's anyone our superstar respects enough that he'd listen to a short but serious lecture on the importance of a little Satanic self-discipline? Trent? Dr. LaVey? his Dad? Especially at this level of professional performance; it's not like he's still handing out handmade flyers to fifty kids per night at the Button South, for hell's sake...)
But these our revels now are ended. Good night and drive safely....
..to main gig review page.
..to the next night.