Marilyn Manson live in Boston

WHERE: House of Blues

WHEN: January 26, 2013

The self-proclaimed AntiChrist finally returned to Boston this past Saturday night and was greeted by a nearly sold-out crowd with emphatic screams and open arms. Seeing Marilyn Manson live was not just another night at House of Blues – it was a chance to pay homage to a career that has spanned two decades and is responsible for some of the most thought-provoking music ever produced. Granted, the man is now in his early 40s, so while some expected an over-the-top extravagant affair to cap off their evening, common sense would dictate a more controlled performance and environment. But not without some theatrics, of course. 

The openers  were far from what anyone in the audience expected. The energy the Butcher Babies emitted onstage wasn’t that of your typical heavy metal band. Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey were a startling combination of killer stage presence mixed with excitable frat boy spring break mentality. When they weren’t moshing to lumbering riffs—like on “Chanel” and “Axe Wound,” they were daring female fans to take off their bras. Storming the stage like hurricanes amidst feral-wolverine guitars was like watching soldiers strolling through minefields unfazed, but the way Butcher Babies executed the action was enviable – and downright fun.

Of course, all eyes were immediately glued to Manson as he opened his set silhouetted behind a screen with “Hey, Cruel World.” He tossed around the mic stand like it was frivolous impediment as he blazed through fan favorites like “The Dope Show,” “Rock Is Dead,” and, of course, “Antichrist Superstar.”

There were plenty of notable costumes changes, from sequined fur jackets to leather masks to cardinal robes. There was attempted mindless banter from Manson (“I hate bands named after cities, but I don’t hate Boston!”). There was even fake snow and confetti falling from the ceiling. But something that was notably absent was chaos. The man who was the king of shock in the ’90s has left his legacy in far less capable hands (like those of Gaga) and doesn’t need to be terrifying to sustain his place in history; it’s already been cemented. And as his latest record, Born Villian, and live show indicate, it is his music that keeps our attention now – not anything else.

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