Bring the Superbeast Home with Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International Live
By FW Staff
What does a platinum selling recording artist who’s also a visual genius do to keep his rabid fan base frothing at the mouth while he’s in the midst of writing and directing a feature film as well as putting the finishing touches on the next studio album?
Two words: Live. Album.
The art of the live rock album was perfected by KISS in the mid-seventies with KISS ALIVE and KISS ALIVE II but has always had one major flaw: rock shows are as much a visual experience as an auditory one. The aforementioned KISS albums are two of the very few that have ever been able to translate the live experience successfully with audio only.
Now add to that elite few ~ or rather put at the top of that elite list ~ the modern incarnation of the “greatest spectacle in rock” for capturing the seemingly uncapturable essence of his live performance.
Rob Zombie’s live shows are nothing short of extravagantly brilliant, with LED walls playing horror movies, pyrotechnics that not only light up the night but literally heat it up as well, live action creatures directly from RZ’s twisted mind that appear out of nowhere only to disappear back from whence they came, and unrivaled theatricality from the master and his band. It would be difficult, to say the least, to believe, never mind fully appreciate (and in our circle, remain in awe of year after year) this level of grandiose visuals if one had never experienced a Rob Zombie show, but then again, live albums are rarely released to win over new fans…
No…live albums are released for the diehard existing fans, and that is part of what makes them so special. They are for us, the longtime fans who can play any of the tracks off the latest live Zombie album Spookshow International Live and be transported instantly back to whichever venue on whichever night the master of the macabre executed a peerless stage spectacle in our humble presence. None of the songs is one we merely recognize, it’s one that has become a welcome, indelible part of our personal live concert history and with the first note is able to evoke all the details of each time we got to experience it played live.
The opening dirge of “Teenage Nosferatu Pussy” floods our brains with the image of the monster-clad members of Zombie’s band stalking the stage with a purpose at which we could only guess, while “More Human Than Human” reminds us of the juggernaut that started it all, White Zombie. Visions of giant beach balls pummeling the crowd ~ and band, for that matter ~ dance through our heads when “Sick Bubblegum” begins and the walls can barely contain the finale, “Dragula,” as images of the iconic Munsters’ drag racer, the song’s namesake, careen through our minds and souls.
Spookshow International Live offers every “hit” that contributed to Zombie’s incomparably unique and complex musical career/reputation thus far and also gives us a thundering drum solo by skin master Ginger Fish set to, of all things, the mighty James Brown’s calling card “I Feel Good.”
Essentially, the nearly 1 hour and 20 minute album is Rob Zombie at his finest: “100% live. No overdubs – no fixes. It is what it is!!” While the imagery may be lost to some, those of us fortunate enough to have beheld the Superbeast at work at every possible opportunity can sit back, close our eyes, and remember the nightmares…and how much we love them and their creator…and look forward to what the master has in store for us next.