Marilyn Manson sure knows how to make an entrance. Last night before a sold out crowd at House of Blues, he started the show dancing behind a giant illuminated scrim. His lanky silhouette resembled that of some kind of fiendish ghoul as he defiantly twisted the microphone stand above his head and gyrated as if he were possessed. Dressed in a tight fitting leather outfit and wearing what looked like a gas mask, Manson, who sounded rather hoarse throughout the entire concert (we were told he was suffering from the flu), looked quite menacing once the curtain dropped and he launched into the industrial strength “Hey Cruel World.” But as much as he put his all into the first half of the show, the songs just didn’t connect. Even “No Reflection,” the catchy, Goth-inspired single from his latest album, Born Villain, fell flat. Manson also furiously pumped his fist during “Slo-Mo-Tion,” but the song came off as generic industrial rock.
Changing from a red bishop outfit to a black bib that made him look like he stepped out of a Saw film and at one point singing from the top of a giant pulpit, Manson delivered a spectacle that hit home even when the songs didn’t. Clearly inspired to be back in Cleveland, he referred to growing up in the area and at one point introduced his dad, who was sitting in the balcony (his father was later spotted hanging out in the House of Blues Foundation Room after the concert), Manson really turned it on for the 80-minute concert’s finale. He put on a bright white jacket and shades for “Dope Show” and added a Goth spin to Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” before delivering his cover of the Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” with all the intensity of the studio version, which was one of his first commercial hits. The concert’s finale, “Beautiful People,” came off as the glorious anti-anthem that it is and culminated with a burst of confetti that fell from the ceiling.