Featuring a gigantic leering Satan in the middle through whose mouth the singer made his grand entrance and upon whom sat drummer John Tempesta, and blasts of fire that could be felt 50 feet back, Rob Zombie’s ultra-expensive set is very much in the mode of his music and subjects — gore movies and horror. Sticking mainly to his solo stuff, the dreadlocked and bearded Zombie (with his bassist and guitarist similarly decked out as ugly bikers from hell) growled and yowled through 75 minutes of modern rock on the very heavy side, with detuned guitars, barked and chanted choruses and lots to distract the eyes — two dancers who changed from angelic sylphs to cheerleaders to light-bearing dominatrices, sepulchers that stalked the stage and, during one number, a gigantic robot with glowing red eyes. Oh, Alice Cooper, what hast thou wrought?
Cerebral it wasn’t, but it was entertaining. Although Zombie, touring to promote his 2001 Geffen release “The Sinister Urge,” brought the house lights up one time too many and pattered away about very little between songs with aimless raps, it was a well-paced gig. Zombie also broke out footage of his film “House of a Thousand Corpses” while the band played the title song, which bore more than a slight resemblance to Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus.”
For all the bravado and chest-thumping, however, the two most wildly received songs were White Zombie oldies, “More Human Than Human” and “Thunderkiss 65.” Musically, the guitar and bass played a kind of dull hum over and around the loudest and most prominent features of the newer songs, the looped and sampled backup parts.
Zombie paid respect to punk pioneers the Ramones during one rap (Ramones guitarist Johnny Ramone was in the house) and greater respect to British counterparts the Damned by letting them open. Playing good old speedy punk, the Damned sounded positively tame as toast by comparison but was hilarious as hell onstage, the polar opposite of the deadly serious Zombie. The Damned also busted out a triumvirate of their oldies, “New Rose,” “Neat, Neat, Neat” and “Smash It Up,” for a cadre of aged punks in the pit gamely pogoing. Ah, memories!