In the vein of the album themes and imagery revolving around Manson's conception of life as a movie, the live counterpart of 'The High End of Low' reflects this theatricality by simulating each song in the live tour as a different "act". Replete with movie stage-sound lights illuminating Manson onstage, the veil of "backstage"/"onstage" has been lifted to portray this cinematic effect ; Manson reapplies his makeup front-and-center onstage, stagehands assist with wardrobe changes in full view of the audience, and the final and most potent illustration of this concept is that prior to each song's commencement afterwards, a stagehand emerges and signifies that each new act has begun by use of a clapperboard in front of Manson. As if to convey the filmic mantra of "lights. camera. action." and the song begins.
Click thumbnails above for each act of the 2009 tour.
|Left ; still shot from the film High and Low and right ; Manson's face in the grid - the final shot in the album artwork for The High End of Low. A visual
homage to the film in which one aspect of the album's title was named after. See also The High End Of Low section on The NACHTKABARETT.
My choice of the first single would have been “Four Rusted Horses” ‘cause I think that represents the record the most, and that’s what I’m gonna open the tour with. I give that away right now, for you.
As explored thoroughly within the Arma-Goddamn-MotherFuckin-geddon section of The NACHTKABARETT, werewolves are a recurrent theme throughout The High End of Low. Specifically aimed as evocations of such films as Brotherhood of the Wolf and Igmar Bergman's Hour of the Wolf. The live show of the album was no exception and carried over such references to both the stage / wardrobe imagery as well as the tour merchandise.
|Left; film poster of The Brotherhood of the Wolf. Right; Manson wearing the tricorne hat within the album artwork for The High End of Low.|
|Left; Manson's three-cornered chapka in frontal view forms a perfect triangle, evoking a pyramidal hat embroidered with the All-Seeing Eye / Eye of Horus which is worn by Aleister Crowley (right) on a picture which was posthumously used to adorn the cover on later editions of "The Eye In Triangle" by Israel Regardie, which contains certain occult ritual quotes which Manson imbibes within the album's lyrics.|
|Left; "Nothing Zip" hoodie sweatshirt being sold during The High End Of Low tour depicting a wolf's head with sharp fangs and a shock symbol arrow.|
Both above and below ; still frames from the 1978 film, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band depicting the fictitious Beatles facsimile band playing amidst $ banners, atop a stage made of stacked coins & bills, and a giant fascistic neon dollar sign. Notably the film also features the obvious Marilyn Manson inspiration, Alice Cooper, and was loosely based on the Beatles' (whom Manson has cited as a love and influence since the band's inception) groundbreaking 1966 album of the same title.
Yet another High End Of Low correlation to the movie, aside from the obvious $ banner allusion, also contained with Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart's Club Band the film, is the above deathlike $ appropriation which corresponds to a Marilyn Manson t-shirt design which emerged just prior to the release of The High End Of Low. Seemingly a most influential movie for Manson, in the long term, as the additional inclusion of another neon sign within the film bears upon it a phrase which is deceptively reminiscent of Manson's opening mantra to Irresponsible Hate Anthem, the introductory song to 1996's Antichrist Svperstar.
"There’s nothing more fascist now than money. Everyone knows that."
We hate love / We love hateIrresponsible Hate Anthem
|Left/center; Marilyn Manson's two $ logo variations used within The High End Of Low era and tour. Right; early cover album art by The Swans, circa 1986. Noteworthy is that The Swans' former member and producer, Roli Mosimann, was originally taken on to produce Portrait Of An American Family in 1994, in the hopes that he would bring out a darker element within the band's sound. For a full examination of the occult and fascist imagery, and all the possible allusions behind this symbol and its variations, visit the Arma-Goddamn-Motherfuckin-Geddon & Pretty As A $ article on The NACHTKABARETT.|
When I see you in the sun you're as pretty as a swastikaPretty as a ($)
$wa$tika | stage light projections of revolving $$ sonnenrads moving in turn from the ($) banners in the background to the stage speaker
grids mentioned above, and on Marilyn Manson himself donning his infamous SS visor hat ornated with a Totenkopf.
|Backstage pass stickers from the tour emblazoned with a variation of Manson's infamous $ logo. Note the hidden Death's Head on the left pass, from which the 2003 Grotesk Burlesk mouse eared logo was derived, and the triangular shape of the second which also evokes the manner in which the Nazis categorized and interned concentration camp prisoners.|
fuck, eat, kill, etc.Arma...Geddon
When I say, "et cetera," it is the most important part of the song. I've seen on the news, stories about death, rape, murder and they tack on the 'et cetera.,' which shocks and amuses me. Such terrible things have become mundane and reduced people to 'etc.,'. I got 'et cetera' tattooed on my wrist. If I cut my wrist, I would cut through 'etc.,' which is triply ironic.
|Two shots of Marilyn Manson Manson wearing his "Hell, ETC." jacket and tricorn hat, and turning his back on the audience.
Note that "Hell, ETC." would later become the title of Marilyn Manson's 2010 European art exhibition.
We tested ourselves making [Antichrist Superstar], we put ourselves through all kinds of experiments with sleep deprivation, we created devices, isolation chambers, things unmentionnable even on television, with narcotics and all sorts of sex and pain, and we learned so much from it.
A new stage theatric was revealed within the first European leg of The High End Of Low tour. During Great Big White World Manson performed within a white lightbox in reflection of the "whited out" Hollywood hollowness and isolation lyricized within the song. The entirety of the song was sung behind the semi transparent sheet, removed from the audience. (Note that 'If I Was Your Vampire', which also deals with a similar lovelorn isolation, was alternately performed with this theatrical device on early dates of the tour.
Because it's a great big white world / and we are drained of our coloursGreat Big White World
A visually thematic correspondence to Pink Floyd's live stage show of The Wall, in which a literal wall was built up between the band and the audience until it completely separated both from each other. The climax of the song (again similar to The Wall) was Manson cutting himself free, through the white veil with his knife mic. Being the opening track to Mechanical Animals (which additionally closes with Coma White) and setting the thematic tone for the record which explores this very concept in full.
|Still frames from the Director's cut version of Arma-Goddamn-Motherfuckin-Geddon, in which naked girls can be seen following eachother in a similar isolation box and pressing their hands and intimate parts against its organic wall which creates ghostly shapes much like the Wight Spider from The High End Of Low.|
|Left; another frame from Arma...Geddon. Right; 'Odalisque', a 1998 installation by Turkish feminist artist Canan Şenol, Brooklyn Museum.|
David Lynch has been an influence of Marilyn Manson since the band's inception, from visual imagery to lyrical allusions (Wrapped in Plastic for example). His bizarre and modern day surrealist imagery made him one of Manson's first candidates for assuming the directorial role of the filmic version of Holy Wood. Various evocations to elements of his films are prevalent throughout Manson's body of work and have made a reappearance within the live performance of The High End of Low as yet another manner of donning film references.
|Still frames of Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet after maniacally applying rouge lipstick and beating his victim, Kyle MacLachlan, mercilessly.|
if you touch me I'll be smearedLeave A Scar
|Still frame of Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet inebriating himself on an oxygen tank, and Manson prior to performing The Dope Show imbibing the same.|
|Marilyn Manson in The Nobodies video, 2001, depicting a similar evocation of the above scene from Blue Velvet.|
Hanging from the doorway is a large plastic sheet; the sort in which you bury a corpse. "It is very conspicuously something you wrap bodies in," he agrees.
|"She's dead. Wrapped in plastic." The line opening the series Twin Peaks, and which the Marilyn Manson song "Wrapped In Plastic" acually refers to. Left; a 1995 promo shot by Richard Kern, in adequation with this particular song. Right; 2009 shot by Delaney Bishop for The High End Of Low.|
|Left ; still frame of Blue Velvet depicting usage of a flood light as an impromptu microphone. Right ; Marilyn Manson in the Sweet Dreams video
paying homage in the signature manner which he has done so since 1995 during live performances of Sweet Dreams.
|Left; Manson on a picture by Andrew Stuart which was posted in his Facebook 'Live Images' album, holding a neon attached to his microphone and illuminating his head during Sweet Dreams instead of the traditional flood light. On a few dates it was associated with a white ghostly veil (right) to fit the aesthetics of the era, offering an interesting play of lights, shadows and transparencies, and implementing the phantomatic allusions in The High End Of Low lyrics and imagery...|
|Left; Manson in leather gloves and phantomatic veil while performing Sweet dreams during the San Bernardino concert on July 12th.
Right; a picture from the Sweet Dreams video shooting swith Manson similarly donning a wedding veil.
We can't haunt this home / home anymoreWight Spider
|Left; Manson hiding from his crime scene behind veil of curtains in the "Running To The Edge Of The World" video. Right; an asphyxiated, phantomatic Manson with red gloves in a promo shot by Delaney Bishop with an interesting play on transparency which also serves as a background of MarilynManson.com's video section.|
|Left; loading screen from 2009 MarilynManson.com. Right; Still frame from Lost Highway, another possible reference to Lynch during the era.|
|Four Rusted Horses live, Manson as the dark reverend performing his Johnny Cash-esque soliloquy replete with a burning Bible under a black snow,
a performance which was initiated during the European leg of the tour, while 'We're From America' became the opening title of each concert in America.
I can see the coffin shining through my tinted windowFour Rusted Horses
|Grave projections which envelope the band throughout the song's performance, an allusion used previously by Manson on the Holy Wood era minisite TheDeathSong.com in 2000 (below). A similar configuration was used during 'The Love Song' performance on some of the Rape Of The World venues.|
Left ; The Alchemist | Alejandro Jodorowsky in 'The Holy Mountain', one of Manson and the band's admitted favorite, highly influential film. Right ; Twiggy Ramirez on the 2008 'Rape Of The World' tour in his "witch's" guise stage outfit, evoking 'The Alchemist' Alejandro Jodorowsky in the film 'The Holy Mountain'.
See also the Twiggy Ramirez, Jeordie White & Base Tendencies article on The NACHTKABARETT.
Marilyn Manson, live on The High End of Low tour and a still frame from Phantom Of The Paradise ; a recurrent visual reference, namely via Manson's asymmetrical makeup, iron teeth and knife microphone which are all featured within the film.
"I'll tell you what, there are a bunch of shitty motherfuckers that did kill Rock'n'Roll, but we just made it like a zombie, and Rock is... Un-FUCKing-Dead!..."
|Left; film poster of "Phantom Of The Paradise". Right; Manson wearing a variation of the asymetric "Undead"
makeup from the movie, which he has also been seen wearing at a Korean date of the 2008 Rape Of The World tour.
|Left; Winslow Leach's metal teeth in Phantom Of The Paradise. Right; still frame from 'This Is The New (S)hit' with a closeup on Manson's metal grill
which he's worn since the Golden Age Of Grotesque era's Tainted Love video, and which re-surfaced during the High End Of Low.
|Left; Still frame from 'Arma...Geddon'. Center; Manson wearing black teeth on a 1994 live picture. Right; detail from a 2009 promo shot from YRB, July 2009.|
|Left; still frame from "Phantom Of The Paradise". Center; American Psycho, another inspiration behind the butcher knife, and a book Manson admittedly is a long-time fan of (as evident given several of his birthday gifts displayed on his Myspace). Right; "Armageddon Shirt" design from early May 2009.|
We might play "If I Was Your Vampire" because I think it's the song that's the most confident on [Eat Me, Drink Me], even though it's first on the CD, because it was written last."
|"You press the knife against your heart." Manson performing 'If I Was Your Vampire' with 2007/08 Rape Of The World candelabra decor intact.|
I am so all-american, I'd sell you suicideIrresponsible Hate Anthem
|Left; the infamous shock American Flag from 1997's Dead To The World tour which had been resurrected during the Rape Of The World tour, finds a new meaning with Manson's recent identification with his country in 'We're From America', the track that opens the whole American leg of the tour. Right; Marilyn Manson in Seattle, wrapped in the American flag by his assistants during 'Irresponsible Hate Anthem'.|
cause I am the all-American antichrist...Rock 'N' Roll Nigger
|Left; Andy Gerold, live bassist for The High End Of Low, in front of Manson's US flag parody. Right; Manson wrapped in the star-spangled banner and donning his SS helmet from the Arma...Geddon video and promo shots of The High End Of Low, during another US performance of 'Irresponsible Hate Anthem'.|
"I hate the fact that so many people have fucked the country up, fucked up my personal life and I allowed it to happen. So in a way, I feel a bit like America as a whole feels, but in no way does that make me a tree-hugging patriotic freedom rocker."
|Iggy Pop similarly wearing a Wermacht helmet on the cover of his 1996 album 'Naughty Little Doggy', and during a 1977 live performance in New York in support of his landmark album The Idiot.|
|Manson holding the American flag and wearing the SS helmet on the album's artwork, which also reveals his infamous Heart of Tursas tattoo.
Visit the Arma...Geddon / Pretty as a $ and "Degenerate" art and fascism sections on The NACHTKABARETT for more on this helmet.
and I'm a country you don't ever, ever, ever, ever, ever want to visit againI Want To Kill You Like They Do In The Movies
|Salute Flag T-Shirt depicting an ironic upside down America flag with a figure mock saluting and bearing the the $ swastika as an armband.|
|Razor blades ; the quintessential instruments of creating art upon the flesh and serving a certain white Colombian delicacy.|
|Still frames from 'Running To The Edge Of The World' : the razor blade evoking the song 'Leave A Scar'
and The High End Of Low's inception, and a "big bottle of big, big pills" which directly echoes the lyrics of 'Devour'.
|Still frames from (s)AINT, Manson drawing cocaine lines on the Holy Bible with a razor blade, before slipping into self mutilation
as detailed in our Doppelherz article, thus becoming a "canvas that bleeds", "a painting that's still wet", "a fucking work of art".
C l i c k T o P l a y
"I'm thinking I'd like to try me some of that cocaine..."
A tongue-in-cheek filmic reference, as a satire on the 'high' end of low, a sample from the mockumentary Walk Hard : The Dewey Cox Story. As a parody of the biopic genre which came of popularity in the mid 2000's, the film is itself a satire and comedic amalgamation on the series of movies released circa this time period which idealistically chronicled the lives of such bands, public figures and performers such as Johnny Cash and Ray Charles (the respective biopics of each which were part inspiration for Walk Hard).
Following petty and derisive comments made in the press by so-called "journalists", aka drone bloggers for hire, the following sample was played in a distorted manner preceding Manson performing The Dope Show, which he reapplied his makeup, imbibes pills, alcohol and an oxygen tank as a deliberately satirical "fuck you" to members of the press who had dismissively reviewed the landmark High End of Low. Additionaly, several samples from Smells Like Children are played before certain songs, including the infamous 'Fuck Frankie' track, plunging the audience into more "old school" Manson.
"We don't believe in credibility, because we know that we're fucking incredible"
|Left; "Spread Eagle" 2009 tour shirt, reproducing the Nazi "Reichsadler", the swastika substituted with Manson's Double Cross, which is also formed by the tour dates on the back and reappears as a dark fleet-like oblique pattern on both sides (for more details visit the Arma...Geddon/Pretty as a ($) and "Degenerate" Art & Fascism pages). Right; The Double Cross of Celebritarianism as it surfaced in 2005, the reunion of High and Low.|
"We’ve started doing ‘Dried Up, Tied Up And Dead To The World’ again, and I get to play guitar on – and I’ve just got to the point where I can play it better than I ever have before"
|Left; Manson playing on ‘Dried Up, Tied Up And Dead To The World’. Right; Manson & Twiggy earlier in the tour, exchanging roles on ‘Rock'n'Roll Nigger’.|
"all dried up, tied up forever...all fu€ked up and dead to the world. (Mood: nostalgic)"
|Left; Manson & Twiggy in Brno. Right; "my pick is ridickulous", posted October 27th on Manson's Myspace mobile photos album.|
"What's better than going to see marilyn Manson and Slayer? Answer that and I'll fight you."
Left; "the prince and the king". Right; "The world spreads its legs...". Both posted on Myspace a few days after the Pomona show, on August 29th |
together with the autographed Bible picture below, the second caption being directly quoted from the Antichrist Svperstar song 'Little Horn'.
A few days after the Mayhem Fest co-headlined by Slayer & Marilyn Manson, Kerry King joins the band onstage for a satanic rendition of "Irresponsible Hate Anthem" and "Little Horn" during the Pomona show on August 25th, an experience repeated from two February dates of the Rape Of The World 2008 tour, and which was immortalized on camera by Manson's assistant Steve / Camets as posted on his Youtube channel two days after (watch video).
|Left; "who should you be mad at first? or should you go read a different book?", customized Bible offered to Kerry King as posted in Manson's 'Mobile Uploads' Myspace album on August 29th. Right; "Mr Manson invents the peentagram (The latest artwork from the mind of the genius that is.. Marilyn Manson)." Another backstage artistic intervention, this time in Europe for the opening band esOterica, as documented in their video journal as posted on December 17th, 2009.|
Marilyn Manson has also been using a pair of laser gloves at the recent gigs. “I’ve always liked taking pictures and making film clips of things like that, so when I finished recording the album it was something that I’d picked up and wearing around the house – I have smoke machines in my house – and I just think it really remind me of all the times when I used to get laser pointers pointed at me and think ‘I’m gonna be killed’.”
As the show comes to fruitition, new performances and variations are elaborated and progressively see a range of new artifacts surface, such as a pair of Freddy Krueger-esque laser hand gloves used during the Cruci-Fiction In Space performance which would open each show during the tour's last European leg starting November 11th, in a thick blue foggy atmosphere. Echoing the song's title, the performance acts as an inversion of some depictions of Christ's ascension or sanctified characters, with light beams coming out of his fingertips except it's those of an Anti-Christ about to explode. The inversion directly echoes the 'Neon Christ' from The High End Of Low's imagery.
Completing the vast range of light evocations, the lasers are a way for Manson to project himself onto the whole audience, literally touching each spectator and having them experience how it feels to have a firearm pointed at them, similarly like the believer is touched and by a priest to share in Christ's crucifixion via transubstantiation. The beams are both directed by and towards him, a prolongation of his digits which defines a space and can also be seen as a cutting device, following razor blade, the knife and the clapperboard.
|Left; still frame from the "Arma..Geddon Director's Cut video which surfaced in August 2009, in which Manson was already wearing the same laser gloves eveloped in blueish fog (note how that particular frame relates to the High And Low-themed grid picture from the album's artwork.|
Right; an early promo shot from the era, presumably taken by Evan Rachel Wood, and bearing a similar evocation.
"I wrote all the lyrics on the wall of my room. It wasn't to be decorative, it was one of those things, like it's the last thing that someone sees before they put them somewhere else. I think it looks good. And if anyone wants to come into this room and fornicate with me, I think they are a keeper... and when I say keeper, I mean kidnapping."
During the last European leg of the tour, a new background projection surfaced, a giant version of Manson's bedroom wall on which he reportedly wrote the album's lyrics, with the red/blue dichotomy present in most of the era's imagery. The result is reminiscent of the numerous references to Carroll's Alice present in Eat Me, Drink Me (and Phantasmagoria), but this time applied to Manson's own introspection in the album brought up with a touch of Pink Floyd.
but I can't sleep until I devour youDevour
I can't sleep until I devour you
An insomniac Manson wearing lightened goggles alike to the headlights of a car during the performance of Devour, his favourite song to sing live during the tour according to a November 2009 interview in Metal Hammer, searches his way in the abyssal depths of his vast re-created interiors, in perfect continuity with the introspective nature of The High End Of Low, its lyrics and imagery.
"We’ve been playing a lot of different songs from a lot of different eras. Tracks off ‘Antichrist Superstar’ and ‘Holywood’ like ‘Coma Black’ and ‘Coma White’."
|"This was never my world / you took the angel away / I'd kill myself to make everybody pay..." Manson holding a bunch of black balloons in a white heavenly light while chanting the chorus of Coma Black directly after his performance of Coma White. A breathtaking combination initiated during the 2008 leg of the Rape Of The World tour, which announces Manson's intention of playing more songs from the Triptych's albums, and was improved on November 29th in Toulouse with the use of these symbols of lost innocence, possibly a new allusion to Fritz Lang's "M", which Manson then releases upwards in a heartbreaking scream and hellish firy lighting. Black and White, Rise and Fall, High and Low, Heaven and Hell, the circle of allusions is complete.|
"I want to transfer my domestic surroundings on stage. I want to blur the line between my art and my personal life on stage."
|Manson at the Barcelona show, singing to his inanimate victim under the spotlight through his infamous knife microphone. Right; "no white cotton panties|
that aren't soaked and stained red." a photo of the setlist uploaded on Manson's Myspace on the day following the performance, and a pretty conceptual
representation of sex murder, captioned with lyrics from 'Into the fire' which also appeared on the bedroom wall projection above.
The tour takes an unexpectedly gruesome turn at the December 4th venue in Barcelona, when a small bed confining the realistic, bloody corpse of Evan is brought on stage behind Manson, who alternately gather from the blood in the hollow of his hand, soils his white shirt and the tip of his knife microphone and reaches out to the audience with his opened bloodied hand in disorientated comings and goings between the public and his young deceased victim.
An ingenious live adaptation of the startling recent video for the same song, combined with Rudy Coby's outstanding creativity in a previous evisceration of of Evan Rachel Wood onstage, and a whole new dimension to the use of Manson's knife microphone in this ritual bloodbath. The director and main protagonist orchestrates The End of his own Movie, The High End Of Low, as well as the end of his inner torments as was revealed one day prior in a Metal Hammer interview.
|Scenes from the song's video : Manson wearing the same white shirt & black tie, and his victim played by the talented Kelly Polk.|
"Severely sadist. Basically, it's murder, sex, death, the end."
|Right; Manson in an early promo shot of the High End Of Low era, in the shadow of his own bedroom with an unidentified victim lying behind him on the bed. Left; a much more explicit scene of sex murder back during a 1995 promo shot by Richard Kern for Portrait Of An American Family.|
|Left; The day I wrote "Devour", a picture which surfaced on Manson's Myspace on December 20, 2009 (read more on the inception of Devour and The High End Of Low). Right; Marilyn Manson performing Devour in Paris on December 21st, the capital of romance, with a pink rose in his hand along with his microphone.|
At the last venue of the tour in Paris, on December 21st, Manson could be seen brandishing a pale pink rose and singing into it during his performance of Devour, an allusion to the song's lyrics which also echoes the related picture above unveiled one day prior, before offering it to Evan on the side of the stage during the first refrain, which acted somehow as an alternate end to Manson's own Movie, breaking the cycle of his self-repeating pain. According to rumour, Manson proposed to Evan during the same night, which was made public 18 days after on January 8th, 2010. See also the Les Fleurs du Mal section on The NACHTKABARETT for more on Manson's use of Floriography throughout his career.
You're a flower that's withering, I can't feel your thorns in my hand
This is no embrace / your buried deep
|"You're a flower that's withering, I can't feel your thorns in my hand..." Manson frenetically shaking the fragile flower from the tips of his fingers as an apropos reenactment of his own lyrics and the ephemerality in them. Note the pink color, which somehow relates to Evan's recent Myspace identity : Lenore Pink.|
And I'll love you, if you let me
and I'll love you, if you wont make me stop