Alice Cooper & Picture Me Broken School Marilyn Manson in Rock N Roll at Stage AE

Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson swooped into Pittsburgh with openers Picture Me Broken on the Masters of Madness Tour at Stage AE on Sunday night June 23, 2013.  One night after Kenny Chesney made an absolute mess of the Northside at Heinz Field, the goth mob took over and showed how it’s truly done.  With a crowd of roughly 4000 in a place that holds 5500 at most, it was a pretty tight fit of fans who came to see a theatrical show from two legends of rock and take a peek at some newcomers trying to make their mark.

Alice Cooper’s set was exactly what his fans have come to expect time and time again, a broadway spectacle of horrific proportions.  With such classic hits as “Poison”, “No More Mr. Nice Guy”. and “Billion Dollar Babies” the night got off to an amazing start of pure rock in your face roll in the classic sense.

Cooper’s three guitarists, the beautiful and talented Orianthi Panagaris, Tommy Henriksen,  and Ryan Roxie as well as bassist Chuck Garric and drummer Glen Sobel all helped Cooper put together a set full of surprises for the uninitiated.  The band did a ten minute long instrumental  as Cooper did a costume change and came back for “Welcome to My Nightmare” and “Go to Hell” to set off the second half of the set.   This is when the Alice Cooper that is the true showman came out to play.

With a lab coat marked in blood and a Frankenstein-like table, Cooper went into “Feed My Frankenstein” complete with sparks flying and a giant Frankenstein hitting the stage to boot.  He then went into his old theatrics from his stage shows that many of us remember from his television appearances in the 1970’s with his trademark straight jacket and decapitation via guillotine.  Alice Cooper showed that he surely still knows how to put on a great show and rock with the best of them.  Incredibly gracious, generous, and intelligent, Cooper brings an intelligent blend of theatrical rock and roll to life, thus why he has lasted in the business as long as he has and kept the flame burning.

Highlights: “I’m Eighteen”, “Billion Dollar Babies”, “No More Mr. Nice Guy”

Marilyn Manson on the other hand could learn a thing or two from his shock rocker godfather.  This was the fourth time that I have witnessed Manson in his career from the very early stages until now.  Although the theatrics are certainly well intact, the true emotion and talent that was once aflame in Marilyn seems snuffed out.

At a time when Manson’s career is not exactly peaking, it seems he goes out of his way to act like he is a prima donna.  Of the ten press photographers at the show, only three were allowed to take pictures and only for one song as opposed to the usual three.  Strange to refuse PR when you could use it most.  Manson also accidentally hit a fan with a microphone that came loose and smashed the guy in the forehead.  The fan, whom I spoke with personally, had a large welt and was bleeding from the forehead and should have sought medical attention.  The problem is he has no insurance.  All he wanted though was to meet Manson.  A lawyer who witnessed the event suggested otherwise.  Alas, Manson refused a meeting and only offered up a signed set list and a used $50 microphone.  When did you stop caring Manson?  What happened to that guy who I liked so much on the “Bowling For Columbine” documentary?

Manson’s set had some good moments but those moments were somewhat heavily reliant on his props.  “Sweet Dreams” was accentuated by Manson in stilts and crutches as well as a mouthpiece reminiscent of the video that somewhat obstructed his singing. Marilyn shouted more than sang his way through the chorus and seemed more content at being a freak show than a rock star.  “Dope Show” was one of the better songs as he donned a partial fur and stuck to writhing around on stage and faking fellatio with his guitar player.  Oh, Manson.  The snot rockets heaved at the crowd were a bit much.  Not sure any fan was very excited to come home and never wash their t-shirt because your boogers hit their cotton.  A giant chair came out at one point prompting Manson to start singing/quoting his hero Willy Wonka and the wondrous boat ride scene, “There’s no earthly way of knowing which direction we are going…” and he took an opportunity to sing on the chair standing up and laying on it.  Manson has all the qualities to remain a star like Cooper if he quits acting the fool and goes back to his roots.  Bring back the old Manson and chill your ego a bit and maybe, just maybe, you can keep your career alive well into your sixties and still enjoy it.  But then again, if you talk to the headliner, Alice only lives on stage, and there is no separation of the Manson persona is there? And that may just be the key.

The openers for the evening were Picture Me Broken from L.A.  If you read this website at all you know that I’ve been telling you for a year and a half that Brooklyn and crew (Shaun Foist, Jimmy Strimpel and Dante Phoenix)are poised to break out and make huge waves in the industry.  They certainly made a massive impression on the Pittsburgh crowd who for the most part had not caught them the last few time they were in town supporting other bands.  The band went through material on their first LP Wide Awake and their new EP Corrupt Me as well as their awesome cover of Heart’s “Crazy On You”.  I talked to Brooklyn just a few weeks before the show and she was totally up for the challenge of getting the crowd warmed up for two legends.  The band was firing on all cylinders and made a ton of fans at the show proven by the massive numbers of people who lined up for the meet and greet signings that happened after their set and Manson’s set.  With incredibly versatile and strong vocals and a punky pop metal style that can fit in with so many genres, Picture Me Broken will soon be headlining shows themselves and becoming household names if they have anything to say about it.  For our previous articles on PMB check out… and

Highlights: “Torture”, “Crazy On You”, “Skin and Bones”

All photos ©2013 AWelding and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

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