Last week, I finally got to cross another entry off my concert Bucket List: Rob Zombie. I actually can’t believe it’s taken me this long to see him. He’s come round a couple of times in the last few years and something always got in the way, so when I heard about this one, I put it on my calendar.
But, I actually kind of drug my heels on buying a ticket. I’m nothing if not a procrastinator, but it paid off in the end. I snagged one for general admission (the concrete area directly in front of the stage) for $75 online and actually printed it off just minutes before heading out the door to drive to the show. I thought the website said it started at 7:30, so my plan was to arrive at least an hour and a half early to try and make my way up front. I’ve become spoiled in recent years when I kind of followed Nine Inch Nails all over the southeast with my friend Donna, standing pretty much right at the rail for every show.
Unfortunately, I got held up and couldn’t arrive as early as I would have liked. I was worried when I drove up at about 6:50 and saw three massive lines stretching pretty far, and one really short one, comprised of maybe 10 or 12 people. At first I assumed that must have been for VIP passes or something, so I avoided it. Then I figured, what the hell? The worst that could happen was I’d sneak into the back of it, get kicked out, and have to get to the back of one of the other massive lines. It kind of didn’t matter if that happened now or later, because getting into one of those other lines meant that I didn’t have a snowball’s chance of getting anywhere close to the stage anyway.
So, I snuck on into the back of the short one, clinging to my George Constanza-esque belief that if you just act like you belong somewhere, people will believe you. After all, it’s not a lie, if you believe it.
Guess what, it paid off.
All the lines opened at the same time, and it turns out, it didn’t matter which one you were standing in. As long as your ticket was valid, you got through, so I skipped my happy ass on down to the 2nd row, surrounded by people wearing VIP passes, which allowed them to get in a tad earlier. It also meant they paid something like $200 a ticket. Suckers.
The tickets actually said 8:00, but Zombie and the band didn’t actually hit the stage till well after 9:00. First, we had to endure quite possibly one of the worst DJ’s I’ve ever heard. I don’t want to be a snob about it, but I’ve been DJ’ing radio and clubs for over 15 years, and after three songs, I just wanted to hop on stage and show him how it was done. He came out wearing a mask and ran around the stage while “DJ’ing”. The quotations mean that he basically just hit “PLAY” a bunch of times on his laptop while we all put up with song after song of mediocre cock rock.
After getting boo’d off the stage, he finally lifted his mask a couple times, flipped off the crowd, and ran off. Turns out, he was actually Ginger Fish, Rob Zombie’s drummer (formerly of Marilyn Manson)! So, we waited the requisite setup time for the stage to get sorted. You’ve been to shows. You know how it is. As the mics were being put into place and the set decorations were being raised, I took this picture.
I love his setup and this got me totally amped for what was about to happen. John 5 (also formerly of Marilyn Manson), hit the stage first, wearing a cool gas mask. I’d include a picture, but all the ones I took came out blurry. But I did snag this one of Rob himself when he came to the mic.
They opened with “Teenage Nosferatu Pussy”, which honestly wasn’t one I was familiar with. Right away, I noticed how much fun the bassist was. He seriously played up to the crowd and you could tell how much he enjoyed it. I wish I’d taken more pics of him, but you will see a couple more later on.
They then went on to “Superbeast”, followed by “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine”. Yes, the James Brown song. Didn’t see that one coming. It was the first of several unexpected covers they would do that night. You’ll see Rob doing his “Sex Machine” strut here. And yes, that’s Ginger Fish in the back, doing a much better job as a drummer than a DJ.
A couple of more shots as they played a couple more songs, including “More Human Than Human”. It was during that song that THE COOLEST THING EVER HAPPENED. I didn’t get a picture of it because it was one of those moments where I could experience it as it was meant to be experienced, through you know, living, or I could be one of these idiots who experience the best moments of life through a tiny rectangle.
I mentioned earlier that I was incredibly close to the stage (obviously, from these pictures). During the song, Zombie comes down to the wooden barricade between the crowd and the stage, walks along the barricade, and gets right in the faces of the first two rows. As he made his way toward me, everyone around me was holding up their hands for him to hold. He grabbed the hands of the guy next to me, then put his face right into mine as he belted out the song. I tried to get the hand-hold, but the best I was managed to do was awkwardly grab his leg and pat him on the back as he went on by.
Still, I grabbed Rob Zombie’s leg as he screamed “More Human Than Human” into my face!
You guys, John 5 has the coolest guitars. He swapped his guitars as much as they swapped out wardrobes. It think these were taken during “Sick Bubble-Gum”
Further evidence. You can’t see it too well in this pic, but do you see that purple-ish, lit up rectangle on the guitar, right behind the strings? That was actually a screen that was playing The Haunted World of El Superbeasto. I kid you not. He held it up to the crowd and showed it off a bit as the movie played on this guitar, as Rob made his way to the NEW, AWESOME SKELETON MIC STAND, seen here:
Why a new AWESOME SKELETON MIC STAND? Because it was time for “House of 1000 Corpses”, one of my favorite tracks! I had no idea they ever played that one live. It was one of the major highlights of the show, but the best was yet to come. After this, the timeline gets a little fuzzy for me, but here are a few more pics covering the next couple of songs:
And then came the one I was waiting for. It was around this time that a massive black cloud started to form just to the left of the crowd. It really looked like a huge storm was about to open up. Rob talked to the crowd a little, mentioning that if it rained enough, they’d have to cancel the show. He then called to the crowd for requests. Of course, people yelled out a bunch of titles, and he singled out one guy who was just to the right of where I was standing. I can’t remember the song that was requested, but when he motioned to John 5 to start playing it, John 5 started playing and singing “Jessie’s Girl”. For a minute, I honestly thought they’d go all the way with it. But, Rob stopped him and said something like, “We don’t have a lot of time! Play the damn song!” And that was when I heard the opening guitar bit I’d been waiting all night to hear. The one song I would have shown up to hear, even if it was the only song they’d play that night – “Thunderkiss ’65!”
And man, did they not disappoint. They got about 3/4 of the way when John 5 and Ginger Fish stretched it out into an extended guitar solo, seen above. They finished up and that was pretty much the end of the song. Rob then took to the stage again and gave a cool little speech, talking about how much of a fan of The Ramones he was back in the day. He then said something along the lines of, “Most of you never saw The Ramones live, but if you had, it would have sounded something like this.” Then they fucking played “Blitzkrieg Bop!” And not just that. At the end, they seamlessly transitioned right back into a reprise of “Thunderkiss ’65!” It was the best way ever to present my favorite Rob Zombie track. Time to leave the stage.
Actually, no. Time for the first encore and another costume change. Rob came back out in this America themed getup, complete with star spangled top hat, and played “The Star Spangled Banner” and “We’re an American Band”, yes the Grand Funk Railroad song. Didn’t see that one coming either. They then left the stage for a second time.
Encore 2! They came back out with another costume change and played “What Lurks on Channel X” and “The Lords of Salem”. I thought for sure when they walked off after that, it was all over. Nope.
Encore 3!… “Dragula!” As it started up and the crowd cheered, Rob announced it would be the last song. After it was over, all four of them lined up at the front of the stage, took a bow, and that was that. Here is the last pic I took, as Rob walked off, saying his final goodbyes.
I only had two complaints: 1) My friend Cyndi, who I thought would be going with me, wasn’t able to make it, and 2) They didn’t play “American Witch”, which I was really looking forward to hearing. But, if you’d like the full set list, here you go:
1. Teenage Nosferatu Pussy
3. Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine (James Brown cover)
4. Living Dead Girl
5. Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown
6. Drum Solo
7. More Human than Human
8. Sick Bubble-Gum
9. House of 1000 Corpses
10. Meet the Creepr
11. Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy)
12. Jessie’s GIrl (Rick Springfield cover – snippet)
13. Thunder Kiss ’65
14. Guitar Solo
15. Blitzkrieg Bop (Ramones cover) (Followed by “Thunder Kiss ’65” reprise)
16. The Star-Spangled Banner (John Stafford Smith cover)
17. We’re an American Band (Grand Funk Railroad cover)
18. What Lies on Channel X?
19. The Lords of Salem
It was a seriously SOLID show. I can’t recommend seeing them enough, whether you’re a fan of horror, sci-fi, or just damn good rock and roll. Between the theatrics, the interplay with the crowd, and the tightness of their playing, these guys seriously know how to put on a performance. I’ll even forgive Ginger Fish for that Dj’ing thing.