Before this cold Saturday night in December, It had been two years since Marilyn Manson headlined a show in London. During that time, Manson teased a new album, but nothing materialised. That was, until, earlier this year when he finally announced the release of his ninth album, Heaven Upside Down. It is his most visceral release since the days of Holywood, and he uses tonight as an opportunity to show that despite being crippled after a recent stage accident, he can still put on one of the most impressive live performances around.
The latest incarnation of Manson’s live band are as tight as ever, particularly drummer Gil Sharone, who hits every beat like his kit has said something to offend him. It adds a pounding fury to the new track, Revelation: 12, KILL4ME, and a thunderous blast through the violent battle cry, WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE. The completely sold out Wembley Arena greet these songs as if they were old favourites, and hang on every word Manson says.
Splitting his time between a makeshift crutch and a wheelchair, that appears more like a throne than a mobility device, Manson current ailment is incorporated into his stage show and numerous costume changes. The most bizarre is during a stirring rendition of Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), where Manson is placed on a hospital bed, simulating a what appears to be a comedown. It gets a huge response, as does the barnstorming mOBSCENE and Disposable Teens.
Never one to shy away from controversy, the lights go down, only to come back and reveal that Manson is joined on stage by his long-time friend, Johnny Depp. Given the current media backlash around Depp, Manson stands in solidarity with him as the actor plays guitar through the Bowie-esque The Dope Show. He returns towards the end of the set for cacophonous run through The Beautiful People, bringing the house down in a hail of confetti blasted from the stage.
Some could argue that Marilyn Manson’s shtick has got a bit old now, but this has been the first reinvention for the former “god of fuck” in some years. He is every bit as important and relevant as he was twenty years ago, and tonight’s performance proved that.