Review: Idaho Press-Tribune

Musicians Trade Barbs
by Chereen Myers

Courtney Love, Marilyn Manson use insults to entertain at Idaho Center concert.

There was no friction outside of the Idaho Center during Sunday night’s Marilyn Manson/Hole show.

Instead, the war of words went on inside the building.

Manson and Hole’s Courtney Love went at each other like a warped version of Sonny and Cher, each taking shots during their performances.

Love made the first move when her band took the stage before Marilyn Manson.

First she told the crowd Manson is a homosexual. Then she took a swing at his fiance, actress Rose McGowan. Love suggested that the couple’s engagement was a farce.

“Rose is a front. But it’s OK to be gay.”

Love took on several personas during her hourlong performance. She was Courtney, the Hollywood actress, preening and posing for the audience with outstretched arms. She was Courtney, the temperamental rock star, shouting at an audience member for throwing something on stage.

“I can have you thrown out of here right now,” she said, after promising to walk offstage if another object was thrown.

But Love, who has called Seattle her home, was also a kindred spirit to her Northwest audience.

“This is our first time here, and I love you guys,” Love gushed.

Then she bent down and gave one of her guitars to a female audience member.

Of course, the Love fest ended when Manson took the stage.

Manson entered the stage on a large cross. The cross, decorated in a pastel stained glass motiff, slowly raised to an upright position with Manson outstretched in a Christ-like pose.

It was an elaborate entrance for an equally elaborate stage, filled with gothic backdrops and brilliant lighting.

When Manson spoke for the first time, it was to seek revenge for Love’s earlier quips.

“Who was stupid enough to let a mom come up here and play for an hour?” Manson growled.

And so it started.

The back and forth jabs seemed almost choreographed. Love took shots at Manson’s musicianship, telling the crowd her band was the only one on the tour that didn’t use tapes or special sound effects. Manson later told the audience it was funny Love would criticize his band for being fake, when she has spent a million dollars on plastic surgery.

Some fans were turned off by the banter.

Nampa resident Jessica Braley, 22, said she thought Hole outperformed Manson. And although Love made plenty of jabs at Manson, Braley thought they were well deserved.

“I didn’t like the way he made fun of Hole,” she said.

John Wilson, 21, Cascade, said he was frustrated by Manson’s excessive theatrics.

“He’s just trying too hard,” Wilson said.

But he thought concerns about Manson’s evil persona had been exaggerated and wondered if it made the show a bigger draw for the curious.

“I don’t think a band will turn you into a Satan worshipper,” Wilson said. “If you’re that weak, you should go home and lock yourself in your room.”

It was a different scene from Manson’s last stop in Canyon County, when the show was delayed because of a bomb threat. Christians showed up to protest that show in 1996, and remained outside to pray and sing. But Sunday’s concert lacked noisy opposition.

Nampa police Sgt. Chris Klein said about 30 Christians were gathering quietly on Ridgecrest Road, which overlooks the Idaho Center. The only suggestion of opposition was a small red flier that circulated among concertgoers. It was titled Marilyn Manson’s Day and invited readers to let God into their lives.

Idaho Center officials were pleased with the event’s smooth flow. Assistant Director Peter Jackson said there were no unusual problems associated with the concert.

Beer and wine sales were limited to outside the arena, however. Fans who wanted alcohol (and were old enough to buy it) were ushered outdoors to purchase and drink a beverage. It was a compromise designed to accommodate advertisements that promised beer and wine sales at the venue, Jackson said. Organizers had originally planned to drop alcohol sales because of the predictably younger audience that would attend the concert.

Sunday’s show was more about the spectacle of the event rather than the music.

It is easily one of the most significant rock tours of the year, and about 4,200 curious fans showed up Sunday to see what would happen. They draped themselves in black clothes and painted their faces in grim designs. And they rushed to their seats when the lights dimmed to see what would happen next.

No matter how onlookers feel about Manson or Love, one thing’s for sure: They know how to put on a show.