Halloween Hootenanny – Live At The Family Arena

The Gruesome Twosome and their Halloween Hootenanny show come to St. Charles, Missouri in horrific fashion. It’s definitely a scary costume clad crowd.  You feel as though you’re sitting in the end zone at an Oakland Raider game or on Bourbon St. for Halloween.  It was an unusually warm autumn night at the Family Arena but there was nothing “family” about this concert.   The Murderdolls, Alice Cooper, and Rob “Mother Fucking” Zombie brought their freak show to the Midwest so that all of us evil rock fans could enjoy a night of mayhem.  If you’re asking what’s up with the MF in Rob Zombie’s name, then you’ve obviously never been to a Zombie concert.

Dressed up as a cross between Klingons and KISS, the Murderdolls opened up this demonic festival and they didn’t disappoint.  While promoting their new album Women & Children Last, former Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison is pulling double duty for the night.  He plays guitar for Murderdolls and drums for Rob Zombie.  Tommy Clufetos was the former drummer for Rob Zombie but left after Ozzy Osbourne unscrupulously lured him away.  Rob is quoted as saying “the greatest thing to happen was (Tommy) hitting the road and Joey coming in and replacing him because it is always great to replace somebody with a better drummer.”   The fans agree, Rob.   Wednesday 13 is the lead vocalist for Murderdolls and half way through his show he says: “For those of you just arriving…we are not Bon Jovi, we are the Murderdolls.” He then follows up by belting out another horror punk metal tune.   Although they have had limited success in the U.S., their initial album Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls and their singles have charted well in the UK and Japan.  For an opening act these guys rocked.

Alice Cooper was next to take the stage.  As the roadies set up behind the skull clad curtain you could see the old fogies in the crowd getting excited.  Could this 62 (yes 62) year old man still rock?  After opening with “School’s Out” the answer is yes he can…but he needs a ton of lavish costumes, props, and death scenes to do it.   Throughout the night Alice gets his head lopped off by a guillotine, crushed by an iron maiden, stabbed to death with a giant syringe, beaten to death by sexy Goth Nurse Rozetta (played by his daughter), and hung from the gallows.  You can’t help but be amazed by the energy of this senior citizen as he bellows out hit after hit during his theatrical performance.  His energy even translated to the pit for some heavy moshing during “No More Mr. Nice Guy.”  Alice ends the night with “I’m Eighteen,” almost daring Rob Zombie to top him.

Rob starts the night with his composition “Sawdust in the Blood” written for the show Band of Brothers which leads in to his rockin’ tune “Jesus Frankenstein” from Hellbilly Deluxe 2. The venue becomes violent and security has its hands full for the rest of the evening.  The 45 year old rock star appears from a 20 foot tall evil robot dressed in skeletal uniform complete with his giant skeleton hand.  His 18 song setlist seemed to fly by.   The most surprising thing of the night was how cool and mellow Rob actually is.  The musician, film director, screen writer, and film producer’s personality and intelligence is evident throughout the show.  He tells us early in the night that we are the smallest venue of the tour but we sure are loud.

Prior to Rob covering the first White Zombie song of the night, there was a young man in the pit who kept holding his prosthetic leg in the air.  Mr. Zombie notices the man and promptly tells him that he better put that leg back on.  He also includes that he is going to need that leg because it’s going to get ugly down there.  That’s when the crowd begins to hear “More Human Than Human” and everybody goes crazy.  Rob wails out a few more heavy tunes before he engages the crowd further.  He starts egging the women on and telling them that the Jonas Brother fans give it up easier than them.  One girl in the front sitting on her man’s shoulders starts taunting the band by beginning to lift her shirt.  Guitarist John 5 begins to dare her by pulling out his cell phone to take a pic.  Apparently Rob was right about the Jonas fans because this girl didn’t come through but the giant screens on stage lit up with porn and the band began “Pussy Liquor.”

Following “Pussy Liquor,” Mr. Zombie is about to slug out a couple more White Zombie covers until guess who shows up -  Mr. Prosthetic Leg.  He starts waving his leg in the air and Rob is completely befuddled.  He asks the man, “What, do you want to give me your leg?  You know what?  Just give me the damn thing because you are obviously not responsible enough to be trusted with your own limbs.”  Rob then jokingly takes the man’s leg on stage briefly before returning it.  Good thing the man had his leg back because the pit becomes maniacal during “Super-Charger Heaven” and “Thunder Kiss ’65.”

At this point Alice Cooper joins the stage to sing “School’s Out” with Rob.  The crowd loved the camaraderie and respect between the two and the tune sounded great.  The night begins to come to a close as Rob belts out a couple more songs and comes out for his encore of “House of 1000 Corpses.”  It is now just past the city mandated curfew of 11:00 pm for concerts so the show must come to a close unless you are Rob “MF” Zombie.  He and the band arrive back on stage and Rob tells us that “this song is going to cost us a lot of money so I hope you enjoy it.  If it was up to us we’d play all night.”  He appropriately  leaves us with “Never Gonna Stop (The Red Red Kroovy).”

The Director of Operations at the Family Arena could not be reached for comment on the amount of the fine Rob Zombie had to pay for playing past the city’s curfew.  No matter how large or how little the fine was Mr. Zombie, we, the smallest venue, are now your largest fans.

By Tom Sorcabal