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Concert Reviews:
Smashing Pumpkins, Marilyn Manson party like it's 1995 at DTE

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Thursday, August 6, 2015

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson looked like strange musical bedfellows on paper, especially to join forces for a summer concert tour.

But the differences that made the pairing seem so odd turned out to be more of a complement than a collision on Wednesday night, Aug. 5, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre.

The two acts each had their heydays during the 90s and certainly have some crossover of fans from the album rock world. But Manson's theatricality and socio-political provocation is a decidedly different creature than Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan's take on pompy, epic rock. Back to back they made sense together, and each group managed to hold on to the other's fans -- at least until deep into the Pumpkins' closing set.

Manson was clearly the more entertaining of the two, hands down, filling its 75-minute performance with tried-and-true totems from the past two-decades -- the macabre-looking stilts for a cover of Eurythmics "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)," the church-style pulpit during Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" -- after which frontman Manson declared, "I was born to preach the gospel. I sure do love my job!" -- the demagogue podium and burning bible for "Antichrist Superstar," plus plenty of confetti and costume changes. Manson dedicated a pounding rendition of "Third Day of a Seven Day Binge" to Corgan, who was watching side stage in a gray hoodie, while "Cake and Sodomy" was an old school treat amidst favorites such as "The Dope Show, "Rock is Dead" and "The Beautiful People."

Manson also made a few references to his 2001 arrest at DTE (then Pine Knob) for fourth degree criminal sexual misconduct after rubbing himself against a security guard. He noted a few times that he was "an exonerated sex offender," and with guards in the security pit sporting white ponchos to guard against any secretions from the stage, Manson promised, "You will get no (penis) from me tonight." And for the encore of "Coma White" he sported his own white poncho as he strutted around the stage.

Corgan and the Pumpkins answered with a more straightforward, bare-bones setting for their encoreless 17-song, 90-minute performance. While last time through town, in 2012 at the Palace of Auburn Hills, the group tested fans by playing its then-new album "Oceania" in its entirety, this time the Pumpkins came to please. With some white fabric strips hanging above it, the group started with a blast of hits "Cherub Rock," "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" and "Tonite Tonite," soldiering through much of that opening as a trio while guitarist Jeff Schroeder's amplifier was repaired. But the group didn't lose stride or composure and kept things moving until Schroeder was able to return, ripping into his solo on "Ava Adore,"

Fortified by returned co-founder Jimmy Chamberlin's definitive drum work, the Pumpkins's first-ever all-male lineup to play the metro area had some new material to offer from last year's "Monuments To An Elegy," cherry-picking tracks such as "Drum + Fife," "One and All (We Are)" and "Run2Me," all testaments to the sturdy songcraft that's the group's, and Corgan's, stock in trade. There were also some welcome deep digs into the group's 24-year catalog, including a roaring "Mayonaise" and aficionado favorites such as "Thru the Eyes of Ruby," "The Everlasting Gaze" and "the Crying Tree of Mercury."

A clearly ebullient Corgan played a solo acoustic version of "Disarm" and was joined by Schroeder for Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide." And while sated fans began leaving during the latter portion of the Pumpkins' set, particularly after "1979," those who stuck around were graced with "United States," the group's requisite face-melting electric opus found Corgan indulging in a bit of the "Star Spangled Banner" on his guitar along with plenty of feedback that had DTE fans holding their ears and smiling at the same time.

So while Manson may have declared that "Rock and Roll is Dead," but both group's proved themselves very much alive and still vital on Wednesday

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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