Bad Adventures chapter one - The Electric Factory, Philadelphia, 10/30/96.

Watched this one from my favorite perch in the right hand back balcony. It was comfortable. I also had a perfect view of Maxie's set list, which is copied in full. That's the best thing I can say about the night. I've never in my life been in a crowd of such ghouls and vultures, all of them waiting with this horrible quiet avidity for Manson to kill himself. It's ugly enough to watch yr fellow fans swap "I heard he's gonna commit suicide at the Hallowe'en show" rumors on line, but I tell you, it's way worse to stand surrounded by people who showed up hoping the rumors are true. That's what it was about for them; it was almost Hallowe'en and they were there to (a) watch the freak and/or (b) watch the freak die. Not because they hate him or think he's the Devil's tool or a perverted menace to society - I could understand those - but just as a passive amusement. Brrr, those people's faces. They gave me the goddamned creeps. (The MTV News cameras crowding around didn't help, either.)

So it was pretty horrible, and Manson, with his typical near-telepathic feel for the crowd vibe, grabbed the razorbladed apple and swallowed it down with evil relish. "How many of you people are coming to the show tomorrow night?" he taunted. Cheers in reply. "Heh, heh, heh...shoot, shoot, shoot motherfucker..." ---And good grief, they cheered some more. I can't comprehend this.

Anyway, the show was rough and off-balance, doubtless having to do with the rotten vibes. Not sure the mix of old and new songs works right, and I couldn't see the much-praised angel backdrop from my angle. But on the other hand there was this:

"Little Horn" slams to a halt and "Cryptorchid" opens with a taped beat and a single spotlight on Manson. As he begins to sing "Each time I make my mother cry an angel dies..." suddenly, out of the darkness, snow begins to fall. Feathery white snowflakes whirling down through the beam of light, falling silently onto his raised face and ours. Manson lifts his arms and lets the flakes spill between his fingers, and I'm thinking (even if he's not) of the Ohio winters of his childhood, a long way from Satan and Florida and strangers wishing him dead. An unbelievably beautiful moment of pure, hushed innocence. But then...
...the "Prick your finger it is done" verse comes up, darkness falls (and there's a chance to taste the snow, which is some sort of soapy chemical foam), band and roadies scurry around madly, the lights come back up...
..and the moment of innocence is over. Three banners stream down the back of the stage, red black and white, spotlights on the lightning-bolt shock symbol. The band members are wearing shiny chrome helmets; the center of the stage is now dominated by a towering podium also blazoned with the shock symbol. And standing at the top of the podium is Manson, now dressed in that black and red Satanic-gangster suit we've seen on MTV, graciously blowing kisses to the crowd. Complete, breathtaking reversal. There's still snow on the ground but now it's the siege of Leningrad, troops freezing in the brutal winter, heartlessly grinning demagogues sending the world to its death. The mass chant and huge bassline of "Antichrist Superstar" take over the speakers. Madonna's wearing what looks like a WW I uniform; Twig in his snowy fur coat, beige dress and clunky boots peers from under the helmet - Daddy's little girl gone to war. "REPENT!" roars Manson, brandishing a Bible overhead then ripping pages out of it - the crooked politician, the monstrous war dictator, the swindling evangelist, the charming Antichrist himself, all the smiling liars who exhort from podiums of authority - with this one brilliant bit of staging he embodies yet unmasks them all. Sheer genius.

That's what I remember the most clearly, that and a scorching "1996". No second encore..

.

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