What a night at the Warfield! It all started with finding a great parking spot literally around the corner from the entrance to the Warfield. Then, upon picking up my tickets at will-call, I was given a pair of VIP passes with reserved seats at the back of the floor. How cool is that? I knew there was a pair of tickets waiting for me, but a VIP pass?
Walking into the venue at around 8.30pm, I was a little surprised to see the place only about half full. But by the time Manson and Co. took the stage, the Warfield was most likely about 75-80% full. Not a sold-out show, but impressive considering the lack of radio friendly hits from the new album so far.
The opening band, September Mourning, was pretty impressive as far as openers go. It was the first I had heard of them, and they played more traditional hard rock, but with a female lead singer who was very nice on the eyes. It was one of the few recent opening bands that I wasn't constantly looking at my watch to see how much longer they might be on. This time, it was a short 35 minute set, and with another 30 minute set-change, a curtain came down over the stage and the fog machine started to spew. We knew that within minutes, Manson would be taking the stage to blast us away.
For those of you new to Manson, the 'shock-rocker' has been around since the early-mid 90's getting his/their big start under the guidance of Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails.) Since then, the two bands have parted ways in some respects, but have retained some of the same musicians that were so crucial to both NIN and Manson's success.
Jordie White, who was a founding member of Marilyn Manson and their bassist and/or guitarist took a brief break a few years ago from Manson to tour with Nine Inch Nails as the live bassist. He's since returned to Manson to play lead guitar and it was nice to see him back onstage next to Manson where he belongs.
In addition to Jordie, Manson picked up the talents of multi-instrumentalist Chris Vrenna on keyboards. Chris was a founding member of Nine Inch Nails and who continued for nearly 10 years with NIN before leaving to write/perform his own music under the name "Tweaker". If you haven't already, definitely check out his stuff. And in addition to his keyboard duties, Vrenna is an incredibly talented studio engineer and again helping Manson write and record their next album while on the current tour. Chris has got to be one of the busiest guys in the music industry these days.
You can learn more about his background and his studio rig in this video here:
Back to the concert, the show will not disappoint if you're into Manson. One thing to take note, if you're going to head into the pit, you're going to get wet as Manson loves to spray/spit water out to all in the front of the pit. You'll also be treated to a number of costume changes and overall, just belligerent rock. You've been warned. As above, here's another video I shot using my Sony Cybershot. Enjoy.
And lastly a picture of Chris Vrenna and I:
Yeah, I know this concert wasn't a Bay Area show, but if you're a frequent visitor, you'll know that I'm a big fan of Nine Inch Nails. Luckily for me, this show at New York City's Bowery Ballroom coincided with a trip I had already planned back to Philadelphia -- which is only a 2 hour drive from NYC. Plus, I was one of the lucky few to be able to get a pair of tickets to this venue which only holds approx 500 people. The Bowery Ballroom was even smaller than the Cabazon Key Club in Morongo, CA which was previously the smallest venue that I've been able to see NIN.
The Bowery Ballroom show was the first show on the current, and supposedly last leg of the 'Wave Goodbye' tour. Trent Reznor, the main artist behind NIN, has openly said that this will be the last set of shows indefinitely. Who knows how long he'll stay away from touring, but there wasn't anyway I was going to miss this tiny club show in NYC.
Friends told me that I was crazy for going to the show. You see, the main reason I was back in Philly was to ride in a charity bike ride for the Lance Armstrong Foundation -- the Philadelphia Livestrong Challenge -- which was a 100-mile ride that started at 7.30am on Sunday morning. We were also told that due to the size of the event this year, we should plan on arriving at the start by 6am. So in a nutshell, I was assuming that the NIN show in NYC would end around midnight. With a two-hour drive back to Philly, that would give me a solid 3 hours of sleep before having to get on a bike to ride for approximately 6 hours.
But again, if you've read my previous NIN posts, you'll already know I'm a bit of a NIN-nut. Long story short, I wasn't going to miss NIN play at the Bowery and I wasn't going to drop out of the charity ride either.
I was luke-warm on catching the opening band, Health, so I opted to skip them in exchange for meeting up with an old friend who I hadn't seen in roughly 10 years and get some drinks. After a couple of hours of catching up, I headed over to the Bowery just about 15 minutes prior to NIN's set-time of 9.15pm. I camped out towards the right-rear section of the floor and waited patiently for the house lights to dim.
At just about 20 minutes after 9, Trent walked out to center stage as the house lights just started to dim and launched into 'Somewhat Damaged'. The rest of the setlist is below that I copy/pasted from the boards on nin.com. Overall, the mix of songs was just fantastic. As an example, playing the bombastic "March of the Pigs" which was then followed by the beautifully quiet "Something I Can Never Have" which featured Justin Meldal-Johnsen on an upright string bass. Later in the show, they performed "Gave Up" (another heavy song) followed by "La Mer", again another very quiet and beautiful instrumental song. Each of the NIN albums over the past 20 years seemed to be equally represented. As you can see below, Trent even joked before "Down In It" that this song was one of the first to spawn the rock-rap genre 20 years ago as the first single off the first Nine Inch Nails album, Pretty Hate Machine.
The videos below hopefully not only capture the audio from the show, but the energy from the crowd which was just intense! All were shot from my Sony Cybershot DSC-W100 camera which has an annoying auto-focus feature which usually gets tripped up by the stage lights and my jerky holding of the camera. But the audio has always impressed me.
"Down In It" - The video gets sharper about midway into the song.
"Something I Can Never Have" - Again, the picture quality improves as the video goes on. This is such a powerful song as you can tell from what seems to be the entire crowd singing along with Trent. Definitely one of my favorites.
"Last" - again, one of my favorites and off a truly incredible album, Broken.
Next up, I'll be heading down to LA for their second-to-last show on tour at the Wiltern Theater. I'm also on the lookout for an extra ticket to the very last show at the Echoplex, so if you have one, I'd be glad to take it off your hands and buy you a few drinks!
Stay tuned for a review of the Wiltern show and hopefully another for the Echoplex!
Setlist from the Bowery Ballroom:
2.The Beginning Of The End
6.March Of The Pigs
7.Something I Can Never Have
9.Meet Your Master
10.Banged And Blown Through
12. Gave Up
13. La Mer
15. Gone, Still
16. The Downward Spiral
20. Down In It
22. The Hand That Feeds
23. Head Like a Hole
--- encore ---
25. The Good Soldier
26. Dead Souls
27. In This Twilight