Gruesome Twosome Tour Review 3/3: Rob Zombie

After a nearly 40 minute intermission that consisted of watching the hilarity that is the average concert attendee and talking about how awesome Alice Cooper was, it was time for the headliner of the show, the one and only Rob Zombie. We were getting pretty excited in the moments before this set as we saw the drums being wheeled around to center stage, the screens were set up and there were horribly terrifying props lined flush with the drum set that ran the length of the stage that were fully equipped with the ability to shoot sparks out of the sides and full on flames from the top. It was time to rock and roll.

The black curtain had been draped over the front of the stage and Bach’s Toccata & Fugue was piped through the sound system so loud it was actually rather frightening. Erin and I joked, of course, because that is the song that plays when a hockey player gets put into the penalty box on one of my old hockey video games. What a cool way to open your show…only…it wasn’t really the opening to the show…it was the opening to the opening of the show, which was a little weird, but cool nonetheless, Sawdust in the Blood being the opening musical number that starts Rob’s set.

Rob Zombie in Knoxville
Zombie in Knoxville before the show (not my photo)

I prepared for American Witch but was instead treated to Call of the Zombie, which is super cool considering I really wasn’t expecting to hear that. The band was revealed behind the curtain and we were exposed to 4 nasty looking dudes rocking out much harder than expected. Joey Jordison of Slipknot pounded on the drums like a man gone mad while John 5 was vocally silent for the most part, but incredibly outgoing with his movements and interaction with the crowd (not to mention his amazing guitar playing ability, playing a large portion of the show either behind his head, above his head or with his tongue). Piggy D just kinda chilled out in his corner, moving around several times but going unnoticed for the most part, which was a little bit of a letdown considering how big of a fan I am of his other acts, but I didn’t know what to expect and figure he’s probably like that all of the time. Bummer.

A couple other cool non-staples that made its way into the set list were Scum of the Earth and Meet the Creeper, each proving to be a lot of fun. Otherwise, Rob ran through the standards like Living Dead Girl, Never Gonna Stop and Superbeast as well as a few of the old White Zombie tracks, Thunderkiss ’65 and More Human Than Human, and knocking out several tracks from his latest album, Hellbilly Deluxe 2: Noble Jackals, Penny Dreadfuls and the Systematic Dehumanization of Cool like What, Sick Bubblegum, Werewolf Women of the SS and Mars Needs Women.

Rob rocked for just over an hour, though it should be noted that he didn’t play as many songs as Alice did, mostly because his set consisted of a lot of talk and 4 “encores” (Werewolf Women of the SS, Dragula, Sick Bubblegum and the closer that I’ll get to shortly). The set also included an incredible drum solo from Joey Jordison and an at least 5 minute guitar solo from John 5 that was played just before the final 3rd of Thunderkiss ’65 and while Rob ran through the floor audience with a spot light, haphazardly shining it on random people. We were also told during Mars Needs Women that that portion of the show was being recorded for the music video, which I thought was super cool. As I told Erin, we’ll have to watch it when it comes out so we cannot see ourselves.

Zombie's Band
John 5, Zombie, Piggy D and Jordison, Knoxville--(not mine)

Rob’s fourth and final encore, which came only moments after a ton of morons started leaving, was a revamped version of the first song we heard that night, Alice Cooper’s School’s Out, which was an incredible homage to the opening act and was actually much better in many aspects.

Rob’s show was incredibly visually stunning just like Alice’s only with a different approach. Rob puts a lot of his efforts into pyrotechnics, a goofy (yet my favorite) robot character that’s half costume-half puppet, some crazy robot that shined a green laser at the audience and randomly shot out smoke from a pipe and an awesome video show that took place behind the band that included clips from Rob’s movies, classic horror flicks, naked women and for some reason a whole lot of Anime (is that supposed to be capitalized?). Rob’s live show really brings across a feeling and experience that’s just as strongly influenced by science fiction as it is horror, and I sometimes forget that.

Now I have to gripe about a couple of things. First of all, I was highly disappointed that I wasn’t able to see Rob’s wife Sherri Moon Zombie in the flesh. I’ve always known her to be a live dancer at his shows and was hoping to get to sneak a peak at her half-naked body on stage but was denied that privilege. I’ll also say that while I understand that he has a new record out and the songs he picked from the new record to play live were some of the best tracks on it, I hated that those new songs were probably responsible for pushing off a lot of the old White Zombie tracks like Black Sunshine, I Zombie and Electric Head pt. 2 from the setlist. I also really wanted to hear American Witch and Foxy Foxy but was denied.

I’ll say, though, that Rob’s show was truly amazing. I was told that he wasn’t very good live because he wears himself out, which became slightly evident towards the end of the show, but for the most part he rocked the house with no problem whatsoever. I also thought it was cool that the band had taken on a theme again, all dressing like the living dead and each wearing some kind of face paint, which was something I thought was so key to Zombie’s image, especially when the first Hellbilly album came out, so the look really pulled the group together and pushed the show over the top, even donning identical Nazi uniforms during Werewolf Women of the SS.

In conclusion to part 3 of my 3 part review of the Gruesome Twosome Tour stop in Knoxville, I’ll have to say that even though the bill said Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie, a ton of credit has to go to both men’s backing bands. I had no idea who any of the guys were in the Coop’s band, but they were all incredibly talented and made their talents known throughout the show. Rob’s band was a supergroup of horror metal gods, so it goes without saying that the talent was endless, even though a lot of reviewers think that John 5 and Joey Jordison are wasting their talent playing Rob’s songs. I have to disagree and say that their presence was definitely felt and I absolutely cannot wait to go see Rob again. Man, I love living in Knoxville!

Rob performing More Human Than Human in Knoxville, May 18, 2010 (video courtesy of chill247)

Rob performing Living Dead Girl in Knoxville, May 18, 2010 (video courtesy of tabby312)

Rob performing Sick Bubblegum in Knoxville, May 18, 2010 (video once again courtesy of chill247)

Enjoy today’s haiku:

My concert review
was longer than most of my
dumb college reports

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