12/6/95, The Headroom, Myrtle Beach NC.
Our last night...

What a scary town. Mile after mile of neon billboards, souvenir stands, golf courses, Exotic Adult Nightlife bars, and those weird Jurassic-looking palmetto trees. coyote says it's a lot like Florida. Maybe they'll feel at home =).

We get to start the line at the Headroom, a big, pretty, modern- looking nightclub (what a relief after the last few nights!). Soon gather a little knot of fellow Spookies and chat until the band begins its soundcheck ...
A hush falls and we listen entranced as they work through the song. They're obviously building it on the spot, run through it four times with starts and stops and Daisy trying out different attacks on the solo. Are they actually thinking of playing it tonight?! It's the thing we've hoped for most...godDAMN, it sounds amazing, huge and stunning, and the Rev's in fine voice. We're breathless with awe. Then another surprise, "Diary of a Dope Fiend"! Struggle to get through this one, start it several times before finally finishing it - it's not working.
Then "Spell" again...oh man, maybe they will play it...and then, unmistakably, the coda of "Learning to Swim." "LEARNING TO SWIM"? How did we get so lucky?! But that's certainly what it is, played thoughtfully several times (the "they want me to stay..." part), and then the first verse. *Wow.* We can't believe we've heard all this. ("They're bored," sez coyote. "Think how many times they've played 'Cake and Sodomy' by now.") --They mess around, play something from the regular set, then split. By now it's 8:30 - once more they've crowded Clutch out of a soundcheck. (Heh. No love lost here.)

Out steps Frankie, with a couple of green VIP passes. "I've been wanting to do this for a long time," he grins, and pastes one to the shaved side of coyote's head, then does the same to EVB. (None for me...*snif*. Maybe I need to shave my hair too...=) He stays to chat, telling us how they've had to do all their own sound work tonight since the club's sound crew won't work with 'devil bands'. "Yup," he sighs, "we've got one devil band and one born-again band..." ...oh, this tour must have been *such* fun. Seems one night Neil even got hold of a Bible and started preaching some Gospel to the Mansons. Yike! ("Not that there's been any real animosity," Frankie hastens to add. Oh yeah, we bet. )

Well, he's got business, and heads off. (coyote and EVB carefully peel the VIP passes off their crania and stick them somewhere less embarrrassing.) In we go, annoying Clutch, whose soundcheck is thus abbreviated *and* invaded. (I do feel bad for them - this really isn't fair, but the club management just shrugs and says they held us an hour already...)--Ahh, nice big stage, with Ginger and MWG on an elevated platform. Room for the Ouija backdrop, the hanging crosspieces, the cube, all their gear. Good to see it all again.
By the time Clutch leave the place is packed and the crowd's not friendly; we estimate 10% MM fans, 10% Clutch fans and 80% loud, party-minded bar regulars already yelling "faggot" and "pussy." We and our fellow Spooks hang bravely onto the stupid chainlink barricade...
Smoke, darkness, sound of choking/wailing babies ..here they are. It's a dark, powerful set, strongest since Wilmington, but something's not right - maybe the hostile crowd. Twiggy's in high spirits, prancing and bouncing in circles, playing with Maxie's laser pointer, and creeping at the Rev while curling his tongue in and out salaciously. But Madonna's computer is in one of its sulks, and the Rev seems strung a bit tight. We give 'em all we can. Crowd gets nasty, throwing things and spitting constantly, pitching beer and ice from the balconies. We're soaked. Manson plays up to the spitters gallantly, rubbing the slime into his chest and belly as if it's coconut oil. Proclaims himself "the god with the smallest dick" this time (um, guess he knows we -and the whole parking lot- saw Twiggy's in Charlotte...=) and "the angel with the scabbed wings," my favorite. "Rock'n'Roll Nigger" is added after the usual set closer "Lunchbox" - a pissed-off sizzling version, flung into the crowd's faces with extra defiance.
We manage to outyell the hecklers and the encore is the usual (man I'm glad the beer bottle's not a real one tonight - this'd be a night for bloodshed or I'm not paula angelynx). Madonna's keyboard fails him and he plays "Misery Machine" sitting with it in his lap, fighting it tooth and nail; as they exit in a blaze of strobes he hurls keyboard and stand from the riser with all his strength, taking out half the drumkit on its way to shattering on the stage below. (Maxie obligingly hands out keys to all askers. Let's see, our souvenir take for this trip...two keyboard keys, at least four water bottles, two lipsticks, a fistful of guitar picks, and a swatch of the Rev's nylons each. Not bad. =)

Well, they've got those VIP passes, and head off to see what they're good for; what they're apparently good for is a chance to stand behind the club in the rain. I get restless in the car and join them anyway. Clutch's bus is pulling out (to jeers from the MM fans; their driver, a real godboy, insisted no devilband fans even touch his bus).
Ginger appears and does some signing and pix. We tell him our tale. "You guys..you come, you go," he sez, giving EVB a hug. Coyote says we have to drive home and go back to work and he sighs "That must be nice..." (must mean the "drive home" part =). Ginger wanders off down the line of kids. Once more I'm aware how little justice his photos do him. He's just lovely! Especially those eyes! --He says to someone "That's why they hired me, 'cos I'm pretty," and I have to grin.
--We're hoping to see Twiggy; we'll wait.
Someone down the line gives the alert: "Marilyn!" My bleeding god, against all odds we're honored by the Reverend; he often skips these after-gig sessions. But there he is, headed toward the line. Took just long enough to straighten up his makeup and dress, and looks v.neat in basic black plus a darkish-orange crushed velvet long jacket with black lapels. Frankie starts him at the end of the line opposite to us, and he ticks through it politely but briskly...
He reaches us and EVB tells him it's our last show for awhile. "You have to go..?" "But we'll be in Cleveland." He nods gravely: OK. Cleveland. Then, just like that, he reaches out one arm and hugs EVB, then coyote. (I can hear him tell coyote that he still thinks that little sculpture will come alive and walk around at night; she confesses she thinks so herself.) Then, me. (He is absolutely the thinnest creature under the known sky.) --We all try to talk at once, saying goodbye and thank you and promising to be back. He's actually listening to us, eyes flicking from face to face. "I have to go now," he finally says, always too polite to just turn his back on you.

"Thank you so much," I manage, "it's been amazing."

Another nod, and he's gone. Wow.

Well, I'm happy enough to quit right there (I mean, he just doesn't DO that!)but EVB and C are still holding out for Twiggy. Not long to wait, there he is, bouncing in our general direction. More goodbyes; he looks genuinely distressed. "You're leaving?.. gee, I wish we'd played better shows..." We fall over ourselves to assure him we've had a great time and just have dull reality to attend to. EVB says the only rough part has been the crowd-surfers, and demonstrates her ring-stabbing technique (her double handful of silver Axel creations is loaded with jaws, spikes, horns - just the thing for harming people passing overhead). Twig's baby-browns widen as he spreads out her fingers, marveling: "My god, look at the rings on her." He spins around jabbing at the air in imitation of Liz, then turns back to matters at hand. "You'll come to more shows, right? [pouting adorably - who could resist?] We're going back out in January, and we're playing in New York on New Year's Eve..." coyote helps him remember the venue: "The Academy?" He points at her two-handed - "That's it!" We promise to be there. Kids down the line are yelling for his attention. "Group hug!" Twig decides, and we're all snuggled into his big furry coat. (Sigh. Have I been happier? Ever?)
..well, we all have to go...wander back toward the car, not touching the ground at all, blithering in dazed happiness. Aren't they just *the* best?...
(Now we have to go back, of course...we *promised*...)

...to main gig reviews page.