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Marilyn Manson @ The Paramount, Huntington, New York, USA

in Thursday, 15 February 2018 at The Paramount
by Kyle Scott

The night started out so promising.

The line to get in wrapped around half a block. We stood patiently, knowing that we were at least fifteen minutes early before the opening act was to appear. We had time, no worries. As to be expected, there were goths, a lot of them - black hair, eyeliner and lipstick, with many sporting MANSON shirts. The Paramount has received a lot of big name metal acts over the last couple of years, and metalheads on the island have flocked to the intimate, small-town venue; easier to get to than traveling all the way out to the city, and it’s been huge for injecting some life into the local music scene!

Everyone was excited to get in, taking pictures of the long line ahead. We went through security, and headed upstairs to where the main stage was. At eight, a woman with bleach-blonde hair, wearing a studded leather jacket and ubiquitous headphones stood in front of the drawn curtain, a single spotlight centered on her countenance as she stood behind a DJ booth with the word AMAZONICA emblazoned on the front of it. She played remixes and mashups of classic Metal and Grunge songs for half an hour, to mixed reception from the audience. Some threw their horns up and cheered when they recognized a few - including “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, “Intergalactic”, “Head Like a Hole”, “Come to Daddy”, even “Killing In the Name Of”. I felt bad because she was clearly into it, grooving to the dropped beats, gesturing for us to join in, encouraging us to get jumping, but either everyone on the floor were saving their energy for Manson, or they just weren’t feeling it like she was. After she packed up, the real waiting began.

Everyone on the floor clamored to get as close as they could to the stage. We were so psyched to get to this moment. We were promised a show months before, but after suffering a serious on-stage accident in NYC, Manson was hospitalized, and we were forced to wait until February.

After nine ‘o clock, and with no sign of Manson yet, we started getting visibly anxious. Fans were checking their phones for the time and craning necks fruitlessly towards any activity behind the drawn curtain. We could understand a half hour to set up a stage and do a sound check, but to wait almost a full hour seemed a bit much. But this was Manson, we told ourselves, we knew it would be good. His crew must have some particularly cumbersome props to assemble or something. Surely, our patience will be rewarded.

The energy was a slow but steady build until you could feel it in every nerve fiber as we pressed closer to the front, knowing we could go no further (a few still tried). At around 9:25, no one took their eyes off the stage. When the lights finally dimmed after a few more minutes of waiting for signs of activity, a girl whom I had just met grabbed my hand in excitement, both of us giddy, bouncing up and down with glee like the silly fan girls that we were (it was both of our first times seeing Manson live).

Finally, the curtains drew back, revealing the God of Fuck himself rising from a red throne flanked by two giant .50 caliber pistols. Manson was aided to the mic by a stagehand dressed in surgical scrubs. Everyone up front (including me) lost their shit. Horns filled the air as we all cheered, the tension in the room finally coming to an explosive head. But it was all premature (every bit of phrasing intended).

You see, Manson was a bit of a tease the whole night. Whether or not he got off on that is anyone’s guess. With the way he demanded we profess our love to him in increasingly louder declarations, each one falling short of his standards. Each time he demanded we show our love, we screamed, we held up our devil horns, a girl behind me aggravated my budding tinnitus with the way she yelled “We love youuu!!!” close to my ear. But still, Manson refused to sing another note until every last person in the theatre told him they loved him. Half of the floor tried chanting our love, but Manson just dismissed our efforts as “lukewarm”. Predictably, fans got a little testy after a few minutes of this, and began screaming and chanting “Fuck you!”, instead. Manson remained fairly calm, threatening to leave if we kept that up (joke’s on us, I guess).

Besides that, the show started out strong! The floor went nuts during “Deep Six” and “This Is the New Shit”. I was in serious danger of getting too close to the mosh pit as the audience pressed up against one another. I think after “Disposable Teens”, and Manson wanting us to profess just how much we loved him, he took a second to sit down and explained, “I’m just tryin’ to have a moment with you guys, because tomorrow, we may not fucking be here…” The crowd cheered. “W-what are you… That’s nothing to cheer about!” He said, indignantly. No one seemed to care, and they continued.

Moving on, I thought “Revelation 12” brought the most energy to the whole show, with all of us screaming the chorus as loud as we could. Then, the band disappeared for a bit, and Manson returned with a lit cigarette (joint?) in his hand. This was the point when the show started winding down and we became increasingly unrested. “Saturnalia” went on for an uncomfortable seven minutes, with Manson spending most of the time playing the same riff over and over, bullshitting with guitarists Paul Wiley and Jaun Alderete, and drummer Gil Sharone.

“Lunchbox” was no different. I think by that point, Manson was just as fed up with us as we were with him, and he wasn’t pleased with us singing “WOW!! Pow, pow, pow!” when urged. He gave us several chances to try and get it right, but either the timing was off, not enough people were joining in, or the audience were just so beyond done with his shit. Eventually, Manson walked off without saying ‘Goodnight’, dropped his mic, pushing aside a stagehand as he exited. The band finished the song, then went offstage to join him, leaving us bewildered and more than a little pissed off. Then the lights slowly came back on, and Manson’s outro song played; a cover of Johnny Cash’s “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” (an excellent cover, if I’m being honest).

This has to be a rouse, we thought. The show wasn’t supposed to end until eleven, he has to come back. Then the curtain fell, and the crowd descended into harsh boos. No “mOBSCENE”? “The Dope Show”? “The Beautiful People”? “Sweet Dreams”?! It couldn’t be finished already! But it was. We only accepted Manson wasn’t coming back when venue security came onto the floor to tell us that he was already on his bus, and we needed to get going. Now we were livid. But what could we do besides maybe demanding a refund? We left. Fans started commenting about how fucked up he looked, how poorly he performed, how it wasn’t like his previous shows at all, etc. As we left the theatre, I heard a girl complain, “Only FIVE songs?!”. None of it seemed fair.

I asked a friend of mine who went to his Boston show a couple days ago if his set was anything like ours, and he said Manson’s set was the best he’d ever seen! That he looked like he was in his prime. And to hear about how his set in New Jersey was apparently “Amazing” the very night after the Paramount just makes the whole situation even more shitty. I have a huge problem saying it was the audience’s fault for not being enthusiastic enough. We were all enthusiastic to be there! I’ve seen plenty of energetic crowds at this venue. We’ve given warm welcomes to ANTHRAX, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, AGAINST ME!, AMON AMARTH, etc. I’ve seen us do Walls of Death, circle pits, I’ve ducked from tons of incoming crowd surfers; no one can say we don’t know how to make a band feel at home when they come to our town! It’s wonderful to see the crowd interact with each other at the Paramount. I think I’ve made more Metal friends there than at any venue in the city! I have no clue why Manson disliked us. From where I was standing in the crowd, we were electric.

I still loved what I heard at the show, and I thought Manson put a lot of energy in the beginning of the set. I don’t give a shit about a refund, I just think it’s a damn shame that everyone had to leave disappointed that night.

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Edited 30 January 2023

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