The world wide exclusive event! My all-time favorite band reuniting for one show! I was ecstatic from the moment I first heard about it and I still am as I think back to the event now. Like all Skinny Puppy shows, so much is happening at once that its hard to take it all in. Ill try to explain these events as best as possible but please refer to the photos as well, theyll fill in my feeble attempts of explanation. As a side note, I am sure there are things I missed entirely because of my limited human perception.
The show started with a large black curtain blocking off the entire stage (this by far was the longest set-change period of the entire show and the only one that was draped to obscure view).
The curtain begins moving, being pushed by arms and limbs from behind and then is released from above, being thrown down into the photo-pit in front of the audience barriers.
So was revealed the stage setup itself which consisted of an array of evil looking contraptions. The most prominent was a large white screen enclosure with three panels/sides. There were metal rungs forming a ladder of sorts on the structures framework and various projections played on the panels themselves. Next to this was a large bio-mechanical device consisting of a cybernetic head (resembling Ogre quite uncannily) attached to a vaguely humanoid torso. A large arm appendage with a shield or wing piece on it came out of one side, almost like a piece of anime mecha or armor. This whole unit was supported by an obelisk type base bearing arcane symbols and pentagrams. As the show began it started lurching and flailing mechanically with the music, the head twisting and leering as the arm grasped at the air and swatted unseen forces. To the right of this was a body suspended from a wire-frame gallows, naked but for a loincloth and veil draped over its head and face. To the left of the bio-mechanical beast was a weird pedestal with a metal container. The container would lift to reveal a severed head which spun violently.
To the far left was the monster known as the Drumosaurus. Whipping and beating the beast into torrents of sound was none other than Cevin Key, almost completely hidden behind the multitude of appendages and devices attatched to the metal skeleton. I havent seen Cevin play live since the Download tour in Los Angeles and I must say it is good to see him playing in person once more. A madman possessed by the music when placed behind that unit of percussion and it was spectacular to witness.
As the first song plays out we look for Ogre, but he is not visible, we can hear his voice emanating from some hidden location. Shortly we see a masked individual prowl the stage bearing a shotgun, hunting it would appear for something or someone. Not finding his prey he retreats off the stage. After a beat, an entity resembling Ogre (most notably by hairstyle) runs towards the crowd hiding his face behind his arms. At first the crowd reacts as if it is Ogre but as they cheer the masked man comes from behind and blows him away with the firearm. Blood flies from entrance and exit wounds as the Ogreling falls. Two burly men come out, kick the corpse and haul the body off stage once satisfied that it is lifeless.
It is shortly after this point that the real Ogre comes flying out onto the stage (to a tumultuous roar from the fans). Pyro fires leap up from around the stage as well as from the frame work of the panel-enclosure center stage. It's important to point out that the entire time the above has been going on (and throughout the entire show) a multitude of images are being projected on a large back screen behind everything as well as on facets of the panel-enclosure (see photos here). The imagery is constantly changing and morphing from arcane magic symbols to binary code to people being shot in the head and/or shooting themselves in the head to some very special images of Dwayne. This all causes a euphoric yet shocking sensory overload. Your brain literally spins from the level of twisted input.
Ogre was flying around the stage, leaping and sliding right into pyros and going full-tilt, personal safety be damned. He even lit his arm on fire. As "Killing Game" began, he pulled out a giant slab of raw bloody meat and began tearing it apart and lavishing it upon his body, wallowing in the bloody grime. Soon Ogre was completely covered in blood, and entrails forming a slime-like secretion.
After dissecting what seemed like 30 pounds of raw flesh he moved onto the hanging body of the wrapped man. He removed the towel from the mans head and as he was singing the "Vivisect VI" line of smash into the skull again he began punching the cadavers head, causing brains to splash out everywhere. After about three or four punches the head just came apart spilling its bloody grey contents all over the stage. Ogre went wild ripping the entire metal scaffolding from its supports and threw it and the body to the stage.
Once he had decimated the body, he turned his attentions to the panel-enclosure center stage. The unit was hinged such that Ogre could open the unit up and climb inside. Silhouettes of Ogre from within could be seen on the panels themselves and video projections that showed him trapped in the white walled room displayed on the rear walls as Ogre was tortured and tormented in the nightmare inquisition chamber. He would pop out from time to time, causing blood to squirt and splatter up the panels.
Ogre finally broke free opening the panels up. He started climbing the ladder rungs up to the top of the frame (a good twenty or more feet in the air) and continued to sing while dangling from the top bars, at times from just one ankle as he hung upside down over the stage. It was the craziest thing I've ever seen him do out of the three shows (including this one) that I've witnessed. He kept thrashing around up there until he had ripped down most of the side panels of stretched fabric and destroyed the unit and then slid back down to the stage.
The set just kept going, it was so awesome. They were hitting all my favorites. One of the highest points for me was "Grave Wisdom" which is my all-time favorite song. The track list included "Hardsethead", the only track off the Process that I recall, "Harsh Stone White" (which was mostly sung upside down twenty feet in the air), "Dig It", "Love in Vein", the aforementioned "The Killing Game" and "Vivisect VI", "The Choke", and so many more. This is going to be one hell of a CD when it comes out .
The first part of the set ended with Cevin exiting and Ogre slamming the metal gallows that held the cadaver into the stage repeatedly, producing a horrendous metal-crunching noise which they then distorted into some mind-numbing loop of industrial feedback as this subsided the duo reappeared to massive cheers and the first encore began. After they performed several more show-stopping songs each in their own right, they took a breather again (aka a quick spark) and then returned.
They finished up the second encore and the night with the coolest version of Smothered Hope ever! During the last few songs a storm cloud emitting lightning could be seen behind the stage still a ways off. As if on cue, as soon as the last song finished, the skies opened up in a torrential down poor accompanied with massive lightning flashes and thunder strikes that could only have been Dwayne adding his piece to the show for the final and third encore.
So concluded a monumental event that left everyone in a state of awe and excitement. We ran for the VIP area (that was actually covered) to reflect on the event and were waved backstage by a super energetic Cevin. "Man, I hope you guys enjoyed it half as much as I did", he says and we of course profess how much we loved it and were still trying to process all that we had seen and heard. He then commented on how perfect of a conclusion it was that Dwayne showed up which you could tell he was happy about. He related how at least three of the their albums ended with thunder strikes in the last song that were sampled during their recording sessions and that this was just so fitting an end to this event.
You could tell by Ogres expression alone, despite being burned, cut, and generally beat up that he loved the experience as well. It was so cool in every way. I have seen them twice before, once in 90 for Too Dark Park and again in 92 for the Last Rights tour and was simply blown away each time. For the record, I was blown away once again, even more so. A true multi-media experience with an edge to it like no other.
I hope this was filmed or video taped. At least everyone will get to hear it via the CD (and it sounded amazing. Every song updated and changed in new and truly Skinny Puppy ways but still true to it's original sound). All in all, I can say every fan (and anyone watching not previously acquainted with their work - let alone their live performances) walked away amazed and impressed. I can also say that from my perception, everyone who worked in and towards the performance also loved the experience and came away with a bit of the past and a bit of the future rolled up into one hell of an event.
|Click on the SP logo for more photos from the Doomsday show|