Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson Offer Contrasting Sets in Austin (SHOW REVIEW)

The Twins of Evil 2018 tour, featuring Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie, was an example of duality on many levels. The two industrial metal heavyweights, who arrived in Austin’s Circuit of the America’s venue during the dog days of a Texas summer on August 17, served as a stark example of how a rockstar can age gracefully, and how that process can go terribly awry. Manson and Zombie are two artists whose careers are inexorably linked together for many reasons, but unfortunately, while both are on their last chapters, only one is doing it with dignity.

Deadly Apples served as an early opener for the mega-lineup, bringing a Canadian-metal aesthetic to the crowd, whom eagerly lapped up the doom metal. The quartet had an understated but magnetic performance that seemed to be a perfect precursor, but the next act would fall off instead.

To give Manson some credit, he reigned as one of the most electrifying performers for nearly a quarter century – so the bar he set will sit far higher than most other artist’s pinnacles. However, Manson is currently in a terrifying state. The music is secondary to his physical health, which is at a level that makes him extremely hard to watch. Manson struggled to stand up through the entire set, leaning on props, and barely able to muster energy to get through choruses

While Manson got through the Austin set and trotted out the crowd-pleasers like “Disposable Teens”, “Antichrist Superstar”, and “The Beautiful People”, he would not get through his next tour date in Houston, where he would collapse four songs in due to ‘heat poisoning’. He also had to cancel an earlier Toronto date in a similar fashion. Hospitalized after a piece of scaffolding fell on him while performing last year, he may be struggling with chronic pain and/or pain medication. Whatever the issue may be, it is up to those closest to him to try and rescue this icon who is unequivocally stuck in a free-fall.

Rob Zombie stepped into a crowd that needed revving, and he got right to work with openers “Meet the Creeper”, “Superbeast”, and “Everybodys Fucking In A UFO.” With a live show that mimics an acid trip on a carnival ride, Rob Zombie had no problem keeping audience eyes onstage. Zombie worked the stage like a gymnast, showcasing antics that would break a much younger man.

“Living Dead Girl” was a highlight of the show but the epoch of the set happened during “More Human Than Human”. Halfway through his set, Zombie taunted the Texas weather, saying, “Everybody keeps complaining how hot it is here. But this ain’t shit.” And then proceeded to run another half-marathon around the stage.

Zombie covered The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” and Alice Cooper’s “Schools Out” and then busted out the White Zombie hit “Thunder Kiss 65.” During the show, Zombie brought out Austin actor Danny Trejo and his wife, Sheri Moon, to promote his upcoming film 3 From Hell. Rob Zombie may be still a cowboy riding through hell, but he should take a moment to realize that his touring mate may need to slow down.

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