(Copyright 1999. The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

May 31, 1999

--- Concert Review ---

Fans shock more than Manson

The Tattoo

There was fire. There was glitter. There was obscenity.
And, of course, there was Marilyn Manson.
I was in the audience of the band's recent New Haven
concert for a reason different than that of the masses. I
wanted to see what the big deal was. I've wondered if
they were really worth all of the attention and parental
I would have to say that this was no ordinary concert.
In fact I don't think it was about the music at all. It
was an all-out performance. And the star of the show
was obviously Manson himself.

He had more costume changes than I could keep track
of. Manson's getups included a cop outfit, a silver pair
of pants and shirt over a black thong, and a top with
spikes sticking out about two feet from his shoulders.

 But the most memorable were massive metal stilts on
his legs and long poles attached to his arms to match.
He wandered around the stage resembling some sort of

There were almost as many props as there were
costumes. They had everything their reputation
implied, from a flaming cross to a stage-sized sign
made of light bulbs stating only the word "DRUGS."

They also delivered their well-known massive flags
bearing  satanic symbols and a podium where Manson
could speak.
And what concert would be complete without the
band's followers. Everywhere you looked were the so-
called "Mansonites," with their band t-shirts, hair dye,
vinyl clothes, fishnets and make-up.
Beyond the aesthetics of the evening was the way
Manson conducted himself.

Everything I had heard about happened. He did act
crudely and swear profusely. 
He pulled down his pants and exposed his thong. He
humped the stage and his guitarist. And he wiped
himself with a t-shirt a fan had thrown.
In addition to all that, the things he said were meant to
get a rise out of the fans and offend the world. 

He talked about dreams of a world full of drugs, and
how God wished that his name be spelled D-R-U-G-S
instead of G-O-D. 

In an attempt to humiliate the security guards and
police present, he swore at them, insulted them, and
yelled "Iím talking to you!," followed by obscenities
when he was ignored.

When one policeman shook hands with him, he told
the audience he had just masturbated into that hand.
I anticipated all of this. I wasn't disturbed, or even
surprised, because it is all part of the image
surrounding Manson. These things are the stereotypical
part of the show. And I was well aware they would
happen before going.
The thing that I wasn't aware of was the way the fans
acted. They seemed as though they really believed that
Manson cared about them. They cheered and screamed
"I love you" throughout every song.
They sang, "I don't got the drugs but the drugs got
me," and pointed to themselves.

The crowd chanted with him, saying, "We hate love.
We love hate."

They even screamed and threw up their arms in unison
under his command. It looked like they were
worshiping Hitler. 

To me, this was the disturbing part. This was the point
where I sympathized with all of the people against

It was the fact that they looked and acted like they'd
do anything for him that made me wonder how deep-
rooted it really was.
I figure that a lot of these kids were looking for
someone to follow. They needed a leader and he
stepped up. But it doesn't make it any easier to

This isn't the same as other bands and their fans. They
don't just like the music. They transform a huge chunk
of their identity into being a follower. And, to blindly
make a statement like "we love hate" is pretty scary.
To bring the evening to a close, Manson lit the drum
set on fire. He didn't bother to wait until the drummer
had gotten up, or even stopped playing.
My Marilyn Manson concert experience has shown me
that parents should be outraged.

But I'm not sure they are outraged for the right
reasons. They should be shocked by their children's 
behavior, not by Manson's. 

There are always going to be people who push the
boundaries of freedom of speech. And that is how it
should be. We all ought to be challenging our
supposed rights. Otherwise we can never be sure that
we are as free as we think we are.
Thus, the problem does not lie in Marilyn Manson
screaming about sex, drugs and Satan. The problem is
the children cheering along.
"We hate love. We love hate."

Just think about that.