What the hell happened to Marilyn Manson onstage?

The Internet is filled with stories about Marilyn Manson’s apparently meltdown during a show in Huntington, New York, on Thursday night (February 15).

Things started well enough but after a couple of songs, he started ranting incoherently while his confused band vamped in the background. Then he dropped the mic and walked off.

The NME had this fan’s take:

“Manson came out with a bang but the whole thing deteriorated very quickly. A couple songs in, he went into a conversation with the crowd about how much we loved him (or not). Asked for cheering and the usual rock star ego stuff.”

“I think we all started to realise something was wrong. Once he was temporarily satisfied, it didn’t improve. They would start songs only to screech them to a halt a minute in. There were very drawn out versions of songs where Manson mostly rambled on about our lack of love and other bizarre things. After an hour and fifteen minutes of this, he threw his microphone and left the stage. House lights came on a couple minutes later. I don’t think they completed more than 4 songs.

“It was the strangest, saddest and worst concert I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a lot.”

The whole story here.

Naturally, the whole thing hit social media.

I wish I could say last nights show was amazing, but it was just awful. Manson came out with a bang but the whole thing deteriorated very quickly. A couple songs in, he went into a conversation with the crowd about how much we loved him (or not). Asked for cheering and the usual rock star ego stuff. That’s fine, and everyone did their best to scream as long as we could. But once it got to be 10 minutes of begging for adoration and no music, I think we all started to realize something was wrong. Once he was temporarily satisfied, it didn’t improve. They would start songs only to screech them to a halt a minute in. There were very drawn out versions of songs where Manson mostly rambled on about our lack of love and other bizarre things. After an hour and fifteen minutes of this, he threw his microphone and left the stage. House lights came on a couple minutes later. I don’t think they completed more than 4 songs. ▪ It’s clear he was under the influence of something. Which, let’s be honest, is not that strange for a rock star. But this was something different. He couldn’t seem to pull it together to deliver a performance even mediocre at best. It was distressing to see an artist you care about in such a bad state. Many people were yelling “Fuck you!”, chanting and booing, especially at the end. But I wasn’t angry. I was sad and bewildered. He seemed desperately in need of emotional and physical care. I know he’s been hit with a bunch of personal losses within a few months, so it is easy to see how that could be affecting him (though I can’t speak for how he really feels inside, of course). Maybe it was a one-time bad night. We all have those sometimes. But if not, I really hope he gets help because what I witnessed was not good. It was the strangest, saddest and worst concert I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a lot. #marilynmanson

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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