Let's try to get this down before we forget anything important.
'WE MUST DISCOVER THE WAY TO HEAVEN, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, IN ORDER TO AVOID IT"

10/20/95 - Bogart's, Cincinnati OH

Got in line early--joined a couple of enthusiastic girlbrats, one of whom, Nicole, sez excitedly that she gave Twiggy a dress he promised to wear tonight. Bring out a DM&G and get literally besieged by kids pressing money at me, end up making $30 that night - got to bring more zines next leg . EVB's Church of ACS fliers are an even bigger hit, she must've parted with a few hundred. All brats very friendly and wired...a couple of haughty, scary postbabes in teeny little silver lame get-ups who we're told are notorious characters show up, but they don't impress much of anyone that I can see.
Get in, get to the barricade. It's a solid seven feet from the stage and braced with pilings - definitely no personal contact with the guys tonight, definitely. Good height though...

Opener is Hanzel und Gretyl, who we last saw at Asylum in Philly opening for Electric Hellfire Club - at the time I thought they were the Pygmy Children. They've definitely tightened up their act and are a blast to see, colorful, funny and high-energy with a cool/silly blend of Germanic and science-fiction influences. Vas, the singer, has a great range of eye-popping expressions and stomps and looks /sounds like Nina Hagen playing Pippi Longstocking. They'd be an ideal lead-in for the Mansons by themselves, but no such luck; in between H&G and the stars of the show we get a century-long forty minutes by...

Clutch.

Oh, brother. This is a band I'd never heard before but in no time at all will grow to hate. Dull, plodding, no energy, no imagination, and they're not even cute. Sound takes me a few nights to pin down, but by Columbus I think I have it: they're related to the blues-influenced British "heavy" bands of the late 70s, Foghat, Humble Pie, Uriah Heep, guys like that. EVB thinks they're more like Lynyrd Skynrd and has us all yell "Free Bird!" at them the next night. But this is tonight, our first meeting with them, and they bore us to tears in no time flat. Halfway thru their set I have my head down on the barricade trying to ignore them, which isn't a good idea as it keeps one from being quite alert enough to the crowd-surfers. Get bonked more times than I like. Clutch's set is so moronically paced - it ends with a long, l-o-n-g instrumental jam number - that even their fans drop to a standstill by the end of it. Just as well - it gives us a little break from the overhead assault.

Get to see the new stage setup for the first time. There's a big Ouija-board backdrop with "Marilyn Manson" printed up high, where real boards have "Hello," and "Smells Like Children" small at the bottom. The amps and gear are draped in burlap, loosely trussed with ropes, so we can't see if Ned's t-shirt is still there =(. Hanging on crosspieces high overhead are some Howdy-Doodyish ventriloquists' dummies (or is it Knucklehead Smif?) and, but of course, one rubber chicken, hanged by its scrawny neck. There's also a boy mannequin tied up tightly with rope. No other props we can see...until a roadie comes out and, reaching way over his head, sets the Rev's mike up to about eight feet high. Aha! those stilts we've heard about!... Also, among the array of water bottles is a plain brown beer-type bottle with no label, which I suspect is one of those prop bottles we've heard the Rev is substituting for real glass this tour, thank goodness. We'll see... Oh, and Madonna's keyboard sez "Sieg-Farrakhan!"

Smoke, red light, quick silhouettes: "The Hands of Small Children" segues seamlessly into the tapelooped wavering scream intro to "Wrapped in Plastic", . I just get a second to register that Twig is wearing a new dress (must be Nicole's prezzie), dark blue, sleeveless, and has his hair tied up in great tangled masses like Spanish moss - and almost no makeup; Daisy has dark blue eyebrows and I can't even see Ginger -

- and then there IT is. Creeping out of the red fog, more spidery than ever, to loom and menace overhead; the Reverend Marilyn Manson in all his strange and terrible beauty. Literally takes your breath away. The stilts are short metal affairs clamped to his enormous boots; he's wearing jock and straps in black, and a sort of impromptu bodysuit made of shredded beige pantyhose. Red makeup around the brown eye, dotted eyebrow over the blue one, wide stare in that pale oval face; all the rest unadorned bare white skin with wicked, new red gashes across his thin chest and belly. Not all prop bottles, I guess. He's mastered the stilts completely, and does the whole of WIP from their inhuman height, looking like a Spooky Tree come to life. The place is howling. It's gonna be a good night, and we're right in front.

Only one song on the stilts, then a quick dash stage left and he's back to normal height. First water bottle of the night. And it seems he's sure he's seen EVB and coyote before somewhere, but can't quite place it, and keeps lurking over to peer at them. Daisy looks a little perturbed for some reason, and stays pretty much in place for the night, frowning at his strings. Twig, however, is in full bounce. This blue dress really suits him - not only is it a great color, but sleeveless is a good style for him. The makeup is the least I've ever seen on him, looks like he put it on in reddish watercolor and it's washing off; almost nothing visible around the eyes, pale red lipstick. There's some little byplay between Twig and the Rev involving a quick underskirt grope - Twig goes obligingly to his knees but isn't asked for any further favors =). Big grin at Mr. M as he skulks away - aw cute!

Sure enough, he shatters the prop bottle on his chest and makes as if to cut, but they won't cut. Makes a convincing smash tho. It's during "Dope Hat" (return of Thee Big Hat, yeah!) that he suddenly places coyote and EVB, with a terrific comic take - nearly muffs his line and points at them with a wide-eyed NOW-I-get-it stare. They grin. --Much cross-checking between band members tonight, more than usual - it's almost as if Twig senses Daisy's not quite himself and wants to fill in. Never seen him look across at Dais and Madonna as much as tonight. It's a definite trend: they're so tight they're one crosswired unit, symbiotic, telepathic, direct as a crossbow dart.

Set is nearly all POAAF songs again, but strung together so tight and fast there's hardly a break for air, and played like the whipcrack of doom. GodDAMN, they're so good - they've nearly doubled in power and intensity. They take the best set of theirs I've ever seen (Columbus OH last tour) and reduce it to ashes. No equipment trouble (or smashing) and no Reverential tantrums; when stuff's thrown at him, even hits him, he just grimaces and throws it back, or takes a quick water break. It's as if a decision has been reached that nothing but nothing must break the focus of the show, and nothing does. And you can't break eye contact or take a song off - if they're gonna concentrate so are you. I'm hooked, giving it everything, despite getting plastered to the wall by hundreds of pressing bodies.

The nylon shreds get peeled off one by one and pitched out for souvenirs, along with more bottles, and his red guitar pick during "Down In The Park." (Was he playing that cream and brass Ibanez last tour?) A big, menacing bassline I don't quite recognize; I hear "tell me something beautiful" and realize it must be "Smells Like Children." Wish I could make out more lyrics but there must be something bad/personal in it - he's crouched and knotted on the cube screaming, wrenching the words out of his chest. Hard, tangible pain. "Tell me something beautiful, wish that I could be" ...but he is, and doesn't know it.

"Lunchbox" is the closer; encore is "Sweet Dreams" and "Misery Machine." ("Misery Machine"! Unheard in many many long sets!) I'm almost too exhausted to respond to it, but find the energy somehow - it's too enormous to ignore, the only true climax of their set, building with huge power to its triumphal, roaring apex. The Reverend stands high on the cube, arms open wide, head back, Antichrist Superstar himself. Freak Supremacy? You betcha...

Then we're out, drained, drenched. It's raining, too cold to wait by the bus, and we're too tired.
Tomorrow night.

==angelynx==
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