I’ve said in the past that Big Sandy Superstore Arena knows how to host a rock show, and they do. But I’m not sure they, or the city of Huntington, West Virginia, has recovered from the all-out metal onslaught they witnessed when Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson unleashed Hell! This was only the third stop on the Twins of Evil: Hell Never Dies Tour, and if what I witnessed on this night is any indication of the Hell that’s going to be raised on this tour, the rest of the venues are in trouble!
What am I going to say about Marilyn Manson that hasn’t already been said over the years? Not much. He’s sold millions of albums, been protested against, Grammy-nominated, had number one albums, considered a cultural/pop icon, an honorary priest in the Church of Satan, and a TV & movie star. He’s been making music since 1989, and after all this time, the man can still rock with the best of them. That fact was on full display tonight in Huntington!
Manson’s set list played out like a greatest hits album that covered most of his biggest songs, and these crazed fans ate it up! He started his set off with “Angel With the Scabbed Wings,” high on top of two platforms, descending the stairs down to the stage, telling the crowd between songs that his mother was from West Virginia. He talked to the crowd throughout the set, and seemed to be enjoying himself, and the crowd fed off of that.
They, the assembled masses of rock fans, were here to be entertained, and Marilyn Manson was about to do just that! He went straight into “This Is the New Shit” and “Rock Is Dead,” changing costumes to match the era that the songs were released, which made for an exceptional set of songs – like watching a history of Marilyn Manson onstage, performed by the man himself. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” the Eurythmics cover, saw Manson on stilts working back and forth across the stage asking the crowd to light the arena up with cell phones, and they did! It was a sight I won’t soon forget. He ended the night with an epic rendition of “The Beautiful People” along the rail, singing with his fans.
Rob Zombie, a lot like Marilyn Manson before him tonight, has had much written about him over the years, so chances are I’m not going to write anything that hasn’t already been said. So, with that in mind, I’m just going to tell you about an absolutely stupendous night of rock n’ roll that Mr. Zombie bestowed upon the metalheads that filled up The Big Sandy Superstore Arena. Not that he needed any help in this department, but he had the West Virginia crowd right where he wanted them before he even set foot on stage. How, you ask? I’ll tell you.
The lights went out, which anyone that’s ever been to a concert knows that means it’s showtime. But the stage didn’t explode into light and sound right away, instead “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver started playing over the sound system. I don’t know that everyone in the arena was singing, but from where I was standing it sure sounded like they were. That was a nice touch! Like I said, he didn’t need any help with this crowd. They were already more than ready for Zombie, but that song sure didn’t hurt!
Now it was time for the stage to explode in sound and light, and man did it ever! He opened the night with “Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown.” Let me say that if you’ve never seen Rob Zombie in concert, you have really missed out. He is in constant motion, and is a lot of fun to photograph because of that. But for this first song tonight, he was about as stationary as I’ve seen him. That didn’t last long!
The next three songs “Superbeast,” “Living Dead Girl,” and “More Human Than Human” saw Zombie, John 5 (guitar), and Piggy D (bass) in a whirlwind of motion back and forth across the stage, leaping from riser to riser. Much like Manson’s set before him, Zombie played a lot of his fans’ favorite songs, but he did sneak a few lesser known tracks in like “In the Age of the Consecrated Vampire We All Get High” and “Demonoid Phenomenon,” then finished the set with “Thunder Kiss ‘65” (White Zombie) and “Helter Skelter,” The Beatles cover that he recorded with Manson last year.
But Zombie and the band weren’t really finished with Huntington yet! The freshly released trailer for Rob Zombie’s newest movie 3 From Hell played on the big video screen, then the band tore into “Dragula,” “Sick Bubblegum,” and closed the night out with a killer cover of Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re an American Band.” This was a rock n’ roll spectacle put on by two of the best in the business. Do not miss the Twins of Evil: Hell Never Dies Tour 2019!
Just a note about the venue: I’ve mentioned several times about how well the Big Sandy Superstore Arena handles rock shows, and they do a great job. Anyone who’s ever been to a full-blown rock/metal show knows the fans can, and do, get rowdy. Tonight was no exception to that rule about rowdy fans. What few issues I saw or knew about were handled professionally. Big Sandy Superstore Arena is a professionally run venue with a friendly, helpful staff that I hope to be shooting and attending shows at for a long time!