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Zombie lives up to headliner status

Published: October 28, 2012 Updated: March 18, 2013 at 07:43 PM
An epic one-song encore of "Dragula" complete with Rob Zombie atop a smoking alien pulpit electrified the crowd.

The uninformed would ask, "Why is Marilyn Manson opening for Rob Zombie?"This is a question I asked myself as I stepped into the pit" at 98 Rock's Halloweenie Roast 2012, an all-day event at the Gary Amphitheatre co-headlined by Manson and Zombie.Thirty seconds into the Zombie set, the question is no longer relevant.Manson, for all the costume changes and theatrics, seemed more like a 43-year-old going through the motions of a corporate job he is no longer passionate about than an edgy rock star. The apathetic shtick is old and tired when the artist presenting it is old and tired.The lethargic Manson gave the 2/3 full crowd of walking dead a rundown of his hits, complete with naughty words on a screen, slasher knife microphone, confetti, smoke, satanic imagery, and numerous costume changes, including a goth pope outfit.Outside of a few diehards, the crowd seemed as bored as he did until the end of the set when his cover of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" and his hit "Beautiful People" finally brought the heavily made up crowd to its feet.Such an uninspired set did not prepare this reviewer for the evil genius of Zombie.Throwing every heavy metal, B-movie, horror film, and Halloween cliché into a blender, the hybrid Alice Cooper, Mick Jagger and demented sideshow barker, Zombie creates a spectacle as impressive as anything mainstream artists such as U2 and Coldplay give their fans.Zombie, dancing around like a man half his 46 years, has created a show as meticulous as one would expect from a respected movie director (which he is).Every offensive song chorus was put on the screen to maximize crowd participation as steampunk-inspired robots danced to hits such as "Superbeast," "Living Dead Girl," and the classic "More Human than Human."This very tough and highly intoxicated crowd of inappropriately costumed and older than expected young and middle-aged men and women could have been hard for most performers to impress. However, Zombie's highly offensive call-and-response created a menacing rapturous atmosphere highlighted by "Thunderkiss '65" before leaving the stage to his cover of "School's Out."An epic one-song encore of "Dragula" complete with Zombie atop a smoking alien pulpit left the satisfied crowd with no memory of a gloomy Manson performance.