Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson at the Darien Center in Darien Lake, NY

The tour no one thought could happen again, is happening again. Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson have teamed up for a 2018 rendition of their Twins of Evil tour. This time around, it seems, cooler heads are prevailing and the tour is much more a tag-team of horror-show heavy metal than the 2012 incarnation, where both Zombie and Manson seemed intent on proving who was bigger. I’ll take this version of it every day of the week, as it comes off much more as an all-for-one metal show, including a killer Manson/Zombie collaboration of the Beatles “Helter Skelter” towards the end of the evening.

This tour is billed as a co-headliner, but they did bring along a Canadian metal band, Deadly Apples to opening the evening up.  Fronted by Alex Martel, the Quebec outfit kicked off the night with a screaming set of tracks including some of their better-known songs “Further” and “Self-Infected Oppression.” This was a very fitting selection for the tour, and the crowd seemed to get right into it.

 

Marilyn Manson took the stage shortly after 8pm and kicked off his set with “Cruci-Fiction in Space” off of 2000’s “Holy Wood" album. He spent the first song wondering the stage in a subdued by mysterious pace through fog and deep red lights. Things cranked up a notch during “Angel With the Scabbed Wings” and went pedal to the metal with “This Is the New Shit.”

Manson’s entire set was somewhat of a greatest-hits from his earlier years, drawing almost entirely from 1995’s “Smells Like Children” EP through 2000’s “Holy Wood,” with few exceptions. A major highlight of the evening was, unsurprisingly, Manson’s rendition of “The Beautiful People,” as he spent most of the song leaning over the barrier and into the crowd to sing-along with the fans among the front of the pit. He did this for the duration of the anthem, as he went from one side of the crowd to the other.

One of this summer’s biggest metal tunes is Manson’s new cover of “Cry Little Sister,” a cover of Gerard McMann’s song famous from the 1987 film “The Lost Boys.” As a huge fan of the movie, it was great to see someone cover this song, and even better to witness Manson perform it live.

I’ve always enjoyed seeing Marilyn Manson perform live. Overall, he’s built up a reputation of really delivering a high-powered performance in his concerts over the last several years. This evening did nothing to disprove that. I can’t wait to catch him again, and maybe see a full headliner with a bigger setlist.

Rob Zombie’s band wasted no time as they hit the stage with a thunderous one-two punch of “Meet the Creeper” and “Superbeast” to get their set started. As is typical fashion, the entire band each had their own creepy stage presence in full-form. Rob Zombie appeared with his signature top hat and jacked with frills whose length is only matched by Zombie’s own hair. Guitarist John 5 appeared with a mask reminiscent of a porcelain doll, which he later removed to show facial makeup just as creepy. Bassist Piggy D wore a bat-looking type of mask through most of the performance and drummer Ginger Fish played with his standard white and black face paint.

A Zombie show has always been (and continues to be) a full-throttle creep show experience. Like Manson, the only thing really missing here was a deeper setlist, as both acts have a large enough catalog to pick from now, there’s always something left off the table. In recent years, Rob Zombie has leaned much more in favor of his solo material, drawing only a select few songs from his days in White Zombie. This tour featured standout White Zombie hits “More Human Than Human” and Thunder Kiss ’65.” About mid-set, Zombie broke into the self-titled track from his 2003 film “House of 1,000 Corpses” as John 5 re-appeared on set dressed as Captain Spaulding, the infamous evil clown character from the movie. Later in the set, Marilyn Manson joined Zombie on stage for a moment that’s become one of the biggest highlights of the tour, as they performed The Beatles “Helter Skelter.” As I mentioned earlier, this moment (and the previous release of the studio collaboration) has been a huge step forward for this pair during the tour. Zombie closed out the night with “Dragula” another hit from his debut solo album.

This was, without a doubt, one of the top pairings to grace the stage this summer. I’m sure I’m not along in hoping that this could become a pairing that we’re fortunate to see every few years going forward. I’ll be certain to catch this show every chance I can!