After years of sloppy gigs and a run of 00s albums derided as mediocre, the rewriting of Marilyn Manson’s career is well underway. Following 2015’s bluesy, sleaze-oozing The Pale Emperor album and a return to his raw, punky roots with new album Heaven Upside Down, he’s currently on triumphant form. As such, Wembley Arena is packed to the rafters with thousands of fans not only hankering to hear the classics but also hungry for new material.
Two months ago, the Goth Father was crushed when two large gun props fell on him during a show in New York, breaking his leg in two places and forcing him to cancel nine US shows. Tonight, though, bloodshot opener Revelation #12 kicks off proceedings and Marilyn Manson appears through thick smoke, gliding and spinning across the stage in a pointy, goth AF wheelchair. “I’m kinda crippled right now but we’re still gonna have a show,” he drawls, assuaging any fears that injury will mean a half-assed, watered-down performance. On the contrary, an early salvo of serrated early material – This Is The New Shit, Disposable Teens and mOBSCENE – prove that he doesn’t even need to be standing up to send 12,500 people absolutely batty. Instead, in typical Manson style, he builds his incapacitation into the theatrics. During a visceral Great Big White World he jerks psychotically on a gurney like a violent patient undergoing electroshock therapy, while two guys in surgical masks and doctor’s scrubs help him manoeuvre into different positions and outfits after each song.
Manson, of course, revels in the roleplay, but the constant pauses mean the pacing does suffer tonight, especially early in the set. That said, his raspy screams on WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE sound revitalised and potent, while the primal buzzsaw riffs of SAY10 are totally at ease next to The Dope Show and The Beautiful People, which feature a surprise cameo by Hollywood BFF Johnny Depp. The Nobodies, played for the first time in 10 years on this tour, accompanied by falling snow makes for a blazing finale. It all ends rather abruptly after only an hour and 15 minutes, but as Manson hobbles offstage you feel he’s spent every conceivable drop of sweat and energy. Tonight is proof there’s plenty of life in the God Of Fuck yet.