West Valley City • Just what would it take to get banned in Utah these days?
Realizing that Marilyn Manson was not allowed to take the stage twice in the 1990s in Salt Lake City for being too controversial, it seems as though we've become so accustomed to f-bombs, the mocking of religion and crotch-grabbing performers that we just shrug.
And such was the case Monday night as the Twins of Evil Rob Zombie and Manson himself closed out the outdoor concert season at the USANA Amphitheater.
It's not that there's really much new here. Manson's hour-long set was just a cruder version of what Alice Cooper has been doing since the '60s. Costumes designed to shock, such as Manson dressed in the Pope's robes, just elicit chuckles. Spitting on stage brings cheers from adoring fans. And, when Manson sticks his middle finger in the air, many in the audience feel obliged to return the favor.
I guess we all should be shocked. That's the whole point of much of what passes for entertainment today. Count me as a cynic. The props, including American flags, pink boas, video screen nudity, tributes to the Manson Family, fire breathing monsters, a gigantic lighted sign reading, "Drugs," mixed with a bass cranked up so loud that sitting down rewarded fans with a free massage and shouted and screamed lyrics that are virtually impossible to understand all seem like flash without substance.
Even the names Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson, for crying out loud might have shocked at one time. Now, they're just funny.
Of course, the whole point of a concert is entertainment. Give Zombie and Manson credit for at least doing that. They both put on quite a show.
Zombie's set didn't vary much from the one he played a year ago here. But that didn't make it any less impressive from a purely entertainment standpoint.
He uses animatronic robots on stage, makes wonderful use of old monster movie video and animation, and enough fire to make an arsonist proud.
He said that since the band couldn't play here on Halloween, this would serve as a Zombie Halloween. With all the monsters on stage and screen, that was an apt statement.
Songs such as "Jesus Frankenstein," "Superbeast," "Meet the Creeper," "Living Dead Girl," "More Human Than Human," "Mars Needs Women," and "Sick Bubble-Gum" served as mostly gross out fun.
And at least there were times with Zombie when you could actually hear the lyrics, which wasn't the case with Manson who was drowned out most of the time by his band
Manson, who is a much bigger man in person than I expected, started things off with hits such as "Disposable Teens," "mObscene," "The Dope Show," and "The Beautiful People."
He was in fine form, changing costumes and sets on almost every song, spitting and strutting across the stage. There was fake snow falling from the rafters, a few references to not being allowed to play in Salt Lake City and lots and lots of f-bombs.
What surprised me was how much I liked a couple of his newest songs, especially "Slo-Mo-Tion," which seemed as good as his old stuff.
Fans came for the music spectacle at a concert designed to kick off the Halloween season. Most left happy, though I imagine few were shocked.
With • Rob Zombie.
When • Reviewed Monday.
Where • USANA Amphitheater, West Valley City.