Touring in support of the phenomenal Pale Emperor LP, Marilyn Manson rolled through Tulsa’s historic Brady Theater last night. Dubbed The Hell Not Hallelujah Tour, Manson’s latest trek continues his trend of scaling back on the shocking stage antics and instead just letting his music do the talking.
Reigning over the sold out crowd, the Emperor himself made a triumphant return to Oklahoma — surely one of the only states that still considers him to be a shocking individual. This isn’t a knock on Manson so much as my home state, filled with the kind of people Manson’s entire persona was designed to disturb. Indeed, he still has this pull here, with a number of protestors standing outside the venue doors telling concertgoers and passersby that they are going straight to hell for listening to this “type” of music.
Not that any of this dissuaded the few thousand individuals who had come to see the Pale Emperor in all his glory. And he more than delivered, packing a string of his biggest hits into a short but powerful set. In reality, this was the strongest show I’ve personally seen Manson deliver. His vocals were on point, and he had his followers eating out of his ghostly white hands. While there was a lot of fog, lots of flashing lights and several interesting microphone accessories (including brass knuckles and a knife), this was less a shock-fest and more a straight rock show.
The setlist was packed with fan favorites, including (obviously) The Beautiful People, Rock Is Dead, Disposable Teens and Tourniquet. There were only three songs from the new album, including show opener Deep Six, which found Manson twirling his microphone around and taunting us photographers down in the pit. I would’ve been happy to hear more material from the new album as it’s his best in years, but Manson’s never really been about the deep-cut album tracks.
He pulled out two covers for Tulsa, the Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) and Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus. The former sounded phenomenal, while the latter found Manson crawling on top of a pulpit and yelling in religion-mocking tongues. It was probably the show’s one attempt at “shock,” instead mostly humorous and sadly resulting in a subpar performance of one of his biggest songs.
Manson interacted with the crowd quite a bit, tossing out tambourines, used towels and water bottles and shaking hands with those in the first few feet of the pit. He made small talk here or there, quipping things like “You know what the best drug is?? Drugs” and other assorted one-liners. He’s a funny guy, although he spent more time singing than talking.
Manson closed the gig with Coma White, his trademark growl and the song’s haunting guitar work both rumbling out of the monitors while faux-snow fell from the ceiling. It was honestly kind of a slow, strange end to a show that had been so powerful and forceful, but it was a great performance on one of the best tracks from Mechanical Animals and the crowd didn’t seem too bummed ending the show with the track.
While he’s not the shock rocker he once was (and also no longer trying to be), Manson still puts on a hell of a show. It’s short and to the point, but it was a great look into one of the most interesting musical personas in the last few decades. Sure the arenas have gotten smaller and the albums might be selling fewer copies, but for those fans who have been with him for the long haul, Manson knows how to deliver live.
Check out some more selected photos below, followed by our full gallery: