Four months after being forced to cancel his 2017 Chicago stop on the Heaven Upside Down tour – after sustaining a broken leg during a Hammerstein Ballroom performance in New York City – Marilyn Manson returned to the Riviera Theatre for a highly-anticipated Feb. 6 concert. Adoring fans soon learned that the show was more than worth the wait as the Antichrist Superstar commanded the stage with sinister seduction and a setlist that served as an assault of industrial hits.
With a boot on his foot and the aide of a supportive Mechanical Animal, in the form of a motorized throne, Manson didn’t shy away from his injury, instead he triumphed over it and used it to his advantage throughout the almost 90-minute performance. He growled the opening lyrics of the first song of the night, “The Reflecting God,” from a seated position with the patience of a predator hunting its prey. Manson grew in strength throughout the track until he stood towering at the edge of the stage snarling, “Each thing I show you is a piece of my death,” in the faces of fans in the front row.
“This Is the New Sh*t” – nefarious party music at its finest – concluded with abstract intricacy that felt like a nod to Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. “Chicago, I missed you,” Manson said before leading his band through “Disposable Teens” on which drummer Gil Sharone annihilated the kit with an infectious rhythm that penetrated the entire venue. During “mOBSCENE,” the shock rocker’s versatile vocals were on full display as Manson effortlessly navigated between gravelly screams to melodic melodies to animalistic howls.
Fans regularly shouted out their admiration for the front man causing him to ask, “I know that you guys love me, but I have one question… would you ‘Kill4Me?’” The menacing, slinky riff of the murderous Heaven Upside Down hit proved to be irresistible leading to the unlikely combination of a rock and roll dance party and chants of “Kill, Kill, Kill.” Later, “Revelation #12,” “Tattooed in Reverse” and “SAY10” further highlighted the strength of Manson’s 2017 release.
One of the most theatrical moments of the night started with a tease of “I Don’t Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)” leading into a fearsome rendition of “The Dope Show,” with Manson draped in a regal coat visually matching the majesty of the music. The contrast of the following stripped-down take on “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” – the Eurythmics cover that first blasted Manson across the rock radio waves back in 1995 – created a haunting scene as the rocker battled for his own sanity on a hospital bed under the watch of devilish caregivers.
Earlier in the night, Amazonica got the party started with a set that included snippets of everyone from Run the Jewels to Nine Inch Nails to The Beatles, none of whom seemed to hold a candle to Manson’s captivating prowess as a songwriter in the eyes of those in attendance.
Check out photos from Marilyn Manson’s performance at The Riviera Theatre in Chicago below and click here for the latest news and tour information.
(Photos by Laurie Fanelli)