There was nary a parent in the 90s that wasn’t aware of Marilyn Manson. Violent lyrics paired with chilling visuals was the main way he attracted fans then (and still to this day to an extent) and after Columbine, the storm rained down on him as one of the “causes.” Fast forward to this day and Manson still remains popular among the Hot Topic visiting crowd, but his influence in the music world and over teens is a little more diminished than it once was…that or the invasion of other similar bands like Slipknot and Mudvayne just took the heat off of him. Although Manson continues to release original albums, it’s his older material that he’s most known for and this concert from the last performance of his “Holy Wood” tour in 2002 features a wealth of it, including some of the bigger songs that made people take notice of his music.
“Guns, God And Government – Live In L.A.” was filmed on the last night of the world tour in support of the “Holy Wood” album. When originally released on DVD in 2002, the visual footage of “Guns, God And Government” was taken from numerous concerts around the world during the tour, set to the audio soundtrack from the Los Angeles show. Now for the first time, this Blu-ray presents the original high-definition L.A. footage and soundtrack together as a cohesive concert film. The spectacular staging, the costumes, the lighting and the charismatic presence of Marilyn Manson himself combine to make this the ultimate live Marilyn Manson release.
After reviewing easy listening, classical rock, and blues music from Eagle Rock’s catalog, I finally stumble upon a title in which it’s an artist I actually know of. Of course it’d be an artist of Marilyn Manson’s caliber, but I’ve actually been a bit of a fan of his music for some time now. You can blame The Matrix for getting me into his styling of music; it’s unique and at the same time it sounds like every other overly violent metal band out there. But at the same time his lyrics aren’t all just screaming nonsense; they do have a message, as coated in explicit content as it often is. It’s a shame that when he tries to truly experiment with his sound and lyrics the masses turn against him (i.e., the Eat Me, Drink Me album).
But that’s the current day Manson. Back in 2002 was probably the last time Manson was both in the media still as a violent influence on the youth and also making music that sounded most like his earlier stuff. This concert is a prime example of what fans see in him and his music—it’s flamboyant, vulgar, full of explicit imagery and just a hell of a lot of fun to listen to. Granted some of his material is a little bit too touchy even for me, but when he sticks to relatively metal focused songs such as “The Beautiful People” and “Rock is Dead”…that tends to be when I enjoy him the most.
I have to say that I’ve never actually seen Manson in concert. I’ve seen his strange music videos and browse the occasional YouTube clip of some cell-phone shot camera footage, but I never actually sat down to watch a full performance from start to finish. I have to say I’m actually mildly disturbed by what the concert included here showed off. And by disturbed I mean really just didn’t need to see a thin, white dude in assless chaps singing and spitting water over the stage and people for 103 minutes.
But…that’s part of who Manson is. His fans eat it up and it’s clear from the shots of the crowd that they’re having the time of their life watching him rant and rave on stage through his music. It’s very much a play and show for Manson; there are costumes, set pieces and props for him to throw around during the show. And then when he gets bored with that he’ll just plow into his band mates and cause them to miss a chord or two on the song. But hey, it’s cool. It’s Manson…he just does that kind of stuff.
Track list includes:
01) Irresponsible Hate Anthem
02) The Reflecting God
03) Great Big White World
04) Disposable Teens
05) The Fight Song
06) The Nobodies
07) Rock Is Dead
08) The Dope Show
09) Crucifiction In Space
10) Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)
11) The Love Song
12) Antichrist Superstar
13) The Beautiful People
14) Astonishing Panorama Of Endtimes
Through the fifteen song set list there’s plenty of crotch grabbing and strange hand gestures to witness, as well as Manson dressing up as a pope, who I assume to be Hitler and occasionally walking around and looking like a genuine zombie. His visage is certainly disturbing, but at the same time it’s such a fantastic performance to behold—it’s shocking as hell, sure, but at the same time it’s got to make you wonder how much of it Manson is buying into himself and how much he’s just parodying culture and the various forms of hypocrisy that he’s seen over the years, be in religion, politics or family life.
Also “Lunchbox” may be the one of the strangest songs to end a concert on.
Eagle Rock Entertainment brings Guns, God And Government – Live In L.A. to Blu-ray in a standard Elite Blu-ray case. A booklet inside contains information and photos from the concert as well as information about the group, while the menu system for the disc lays out everything in a nice and tidy fashion. There is a sole extra, ported over from the 2002 DVD release.
Video arrives in the form of an AVC encoded 1080i transfer. Being a fairly modern production there’s plenty of detail squeezed in and out of this transfer. There’s enough detail to see the texture of the paint that is smeared over Manson for the entirety of the concert, but at the same time there are various stage effects that translate poorly. A blast of confetti introduces one of the songs and the compression and blocking that swarms around it as it fly’s around on screen is rather ugly. Aside from that, however, for a seven year old concert that was filmed before Blu-ray was even a copyrighted term this looks pretty good.
Audio arrives in three mixes, as usual: LPCM Stereo, DD5.1, DTS-HD MA 5.1. As can be expected, especially since this is still a fairly recently performed concert, the DTS-HD MA track reigns supreme over the other two. Not that they sound bad, but the DTS track definitely has a more robust spread with a stronger presence in the surrounds and with the LFE output. The amount of bass that Manson and Co. put out on this concert is simply mind boggling and when you combine that with the clarity of the DTS-HD mix, you end up with some genuinely chest pounding LFE.
The aforementioned extra, The Death Parade (29:27) is defined as “an all access, no holds barred film of life on the road with Marilyn Manson featuring cameo appearances by Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne and Eminem among others.” There are plenty of breasts, some gore and odd cameos by the aforementioned Osbourne’s and Eminem, but overall it’s a fair companion piece. Not much more you could add.
I’d be interested in seeing further Manson concerts, just to see if they’ve changed any. A precursory glance on YouTube seems to say that they’ve only gotten more obscene. Recommended for fans—those squeamish of Manson, however, should stay far, far away.
Guns, God And Government – Live In L.A. is now available on Blu-ray.