Marilyn Manson

Reading Festival 2005 review

published: Thu 1st Sep 2005

Friday 26th to Sunday 28th August 2005
Richfield Avenue, Reading, Berkshire, England MAP
£125 for weekend (including camping) - SOLD OUT, £60 any day
daily capacity: 55000
last updated: Tue 9th Aug 2005

I’m still smarting from the fact that because the main stage sets were running twenty minutes early I left British Sea Power before the bear to stand in the crowd at the main stage.

I realised as soon as I got there I was too early. The sun was still in the sky and sunset was at least twenty minutes away. But the numbers around me, meant I could never get back to BSP and return to such a prime location to watch my first ever MM gig.

Even when the large black cloth was put across the stage, the sun was not yet set, so I knew I had some time to wait. So as I stood there I wondered what I expected. I’d been a Goth once a long time ago and expected something along the lines of Fields of the Nephilim with Andrew Eldritch but I wasn’t expecting such a stage show!

Sunset and a chandelier swinging hunched Manson swaggers out from behind a wall of smoke seconds after the curtain falls. He’s recounting Charlie and The Chocolate Factory tho I’ve no idea why and the rest of the band have creeped out to reveal a motley crowd of cross dressers and freaks, nice start I’m thinking.

Marilyn, stands beside a bass player dressed as Elric and breaks into ‘Disposable Teens’ and the crowd are clearly fans. (Actually there’s an awful lot of very attractive Goth girls in the audience) Marilyn spits the lyrics out – he appears to spit a lot, before I realise he somehow gargles and sings before gushing water, which he drinks from a bottle beside the amps – clever.

He asks us if we want to ‘Be Obscene’ more crowd frenzy and he breaks into the song, with ‘BE OBSCENE’ flashing behind him. There’s some nice guitar work hidden in amongst the song, and the keyboard hanging on chains from a gallows is a nice touch. The two rather large women who decide to take that opportunity to flash their breasts however are not.

‘Tourniquet’ has Marilyn return to the stage on stilts, rather impressive and it’s only then I realise that infact he’s quite tall. His frame looks a bit too bulky on stilts and despite not listening to his songs much I’m surprised at how well his songs are crafted to appeal to the Goth audience. My estimations of him are rising all the time.

As a large inflatable bondage woman makes her way through the crowd, and more girls expose themselves, Marilyn delivers ‘Reach Out and Touch Me’ I’m on familiar territory here as I always wrote MM off for having merely a bunch of decent covers. He certainly Goths it to the hilt and the crowd love a good sing along.

‘Great Big White World’ is wedged between this and another cover of ‘Tainted Love’ while visions of girls kissing each other (in the audience?) get played on the screens and get huge cheers. As the last note dies away Marilyn speaks to us saying he considers this his third visit to Reading, his best. Before spitting out the word Fight, and it’s emblazoned behind him on the big screen during the song. I get distracted by a girl in front of us teaching the young boy on the shoulders of his dad behind us, how to make the sign of the devil. Once he’s learnt it he throws his hands in the air throughout the gig whilst his father watches oblivious. Heh.

It rains glitter from the sky like snow and the stage is full of green smoke, as Manson now wearing a bizarre black Sou’Wester lopes out to the microphone to yell/sing ‘The Nobodies’ He follows it up with ‘The Dope Show’ as the word DRUGS flashes behind him and we’re all singing and dancing along to that one.

For ‘Rock is Dead’ red streamers spill from the top of the stage out over the pit and there’s some more clever guitar and synth moments. Before the stage is left empty and still. Suddenly Marilyn returns with a portable spot light to snarl out a fantastic cover of ‘Sweet Dreams’ and it’s a fantastic version, possibly matching the Eurythmics. Okay so he does a lot of covers, but he does do them rather well.

Marilyn marches to the front of the stage, cocks his wrecked made up face and eluding to his last ever UK appearance live, says “England, once and for all, how does it feel to be one of the beautiful?” and then sings ‘The Beautiful People’ which is his best received song of the night. We briefly see a chorus of the fetish wear girls on the screens but they never appear properly on stage. Shame that.

We wait for the encore as a huge pulpit is placed on stage with the lightning flash emblem on it and more emblems appear on the screen behind it. The lights flash on as a spot concentrates on a now suited MM who preaches ‘Antichrist Superstar.’ And then…. That’s it it’s all over. We’re expecting more but instead we get ‘Suicide is Painless’ over the speakers and the crowd changes from one of scantily clad Goth girls to blokes calling for Eddie!

He’s been around for a decade and I see him on his last UK gig ever (supposedly), he’s a fantastic posturing showman. It’s a slick and entertaining show, with plenty of covers for the novice and a few well-known tunes. A classy final ever performance.
review by: Scott Williams

Friday 26th to Sunday 28th August 2005
Richfield Avenue, Reading, Berkshire, England MAP
£125 for weekend (including camping) - SOLD OUT, £60 any day
daily capacity: 55000
last updated: Tue 9th Aug 2005


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