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Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, Ministry and Filter Get Freaky at Budweiser Stage [Photos]

Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, Ministry, and Filter brought the Freaks on Parade tour to Budweiser Stage and it was legendary!



Rob Zombie on Sep 6, 2023, photo by Mike Bax

The show of the summer (for me), Freaks on Parade (a tour package featuring Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, Ministry & Filter), touched down in Toronto this past Wednesday. In the aftermath of the C.N.E., accessing the venue remained a challenge, with everything from that event being cleared out. However, once inside the venue, patrons were treated to a bonafide spectacle. Probably the best thing about the evening was the people watching; the audience brought their a-game; fans splattered in fake blood dressed up as Alice Cooper, Chop Top from Zombie’s films, women in tight leather skirts and shiny platform pleather boots paraded about the Gardens throughout the evening, giving Cooper and Zombie something to smile about.

Things started around 6:00 pm as Filter ran through 30 minutes of material during light rainfall as fans entered their seats. Richard Patrick, Jonathan Radtke, Bobby Miller, and Elias Mallin ran through three new tracks from Filter’s recently released album The Algorithm before hitting fans with “Take a Picture” and “Hey Man Nice Shot.” After “Take a Picture,” Patrick commented that half the audience likely just realized who was performing. While it’s true that a global hit like the songs mentioned above hasn’t materialized in the past two decades, Filter has released quality songs during that time, and fans should take the time to play The Algorithm; it’s loaded with poignant themes and heavy riffs (check out “Obliteration” if you need a place to start).

Ministry went on around 7:00 pm and all but stole the evening as they rammed the audience’s ear-holes with “Thieves;” “The Missing;” “Deity;” “Stigmata;” “Supernaut (Black Sabbath);” “Burning Inside;” “N.W.O.” and “Just One Fix” before wrapping up their set with their newest single “Goddamn White Trash” from their upcoming album Hopiumforthemasses. Al Jourgensen, John Bechdel, Cesar Soto, Paul D’Amour, Roy Mayorga, and Monte Pittman sounded excellent on all tracks (aside from a short drop-out early on during their set). The band was all smiles as Ministry performed so many classic songs, and the Toronto audience (many in their late 40s to 60s sang along to the songs at the top of their lungs). I couldn’t imagine opening for Cooper and Zombie, but if I had to, I’d do it just like Ministry this evening, blast through a bunch of deep cuts, and surge the audience’s endorphins.

At 3/4s of a century in age, Alice Cooper took the stage at 8:00 pm along with Ryan Roxie, Chuck Garric, Tommy Henriksen, Glen Sobel, and recently returning axe-mistress Nita Strauss to perform a 70-minute set of selections from his vast selection of albums. Interestingly, no new songs were performed from his recently released 22nd solo album ROAD this evening. The requisite straight jackets, onstage beheadings, live pythons, crutches, and batons were used to maximum effect as Cooper and company gave the Toronto crowd an assortment of his best songs as all band members mugged it up for the crowd.

There was no shortage of things to look at for the entire set as the 50-year-plus touring musician showed Toronto why he’s the original shock-rocker and the godfather of showmanship. There were youngsters in the crowd experiencing Alice live for the first time tonight and veteran attendees who’d seen the man multiple times. Cooper still delivers a killer show. “Feed My Frankenstein” and “Poison” sounded incredible this evening—numerous photo opportunities for the fans on the floor to get everyone at center stage posing for group shots.

As a massive black tarp dropped, Rob Zombie, Piggy D., Ginger Fish, and Mike Riggs stormed the Budweiser Stage at 9:45 – Zombie and Fish elevated 20 feet above the stage on risers surrounded by massive video screens and rows of scorching pyro. At a Zombie show, it is hard to figure out where to look; all at once, you get the band members all covered in make-up and what appears to be crypt-dust; the video screens flashing half-naked women, sinister visuals, along with the assorted stage props and animatronics that take the stage throughout the show.

During “The Lords of Salem,” some foamy white substance floated down from the ceiling, making it look like snow was falling on the audience as a massive horned demon walked out on stage, its arms outstretched towards the musicians and crowd. Devilish animations and creepy filmed footage of chalky-faced cult members with runs emblazoned on their foreheads flashed on the video screens as the band gesticulated about on stage. It was a chaotic beauty, unlike anything most people in the crowd had witnessed.

This evening was the first time I’d seen Mike Riggs with Zombie in over 20 years, having recently returned to the band after John 5 headed out with Motley Crue last year. Riggs brings his signature brand of menace to Zombie’s material, and he was a marvel to behold for the entire show. Zombie stopped “Thunder Kiss ’65” after rolling the intro guitar riff for 20 seconds and asked the crowd to pocket their phones for the song, put their hands in the air, and be in the moment with the band. 99.5% of the venue complied, and the energy from the crowd was magnified significantly. Zombie’s set also went for 70 minutes, comprising 13 songs, and he did what every performer learns to do early on – left everyone wanting more. The visuals this evening were outstanding – the pyro was terrific, and the band’s performance was top-tier.

For the money, this four-pack of freakishly good bands delivered the goods to a close-to-capacity audience on one of the last hot summer nights of 2023—an epic night.

Rob Zombie Setlist Toronto:

The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition)
Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown
Feel So Numb
Well, Everybody’s Fucking in a U.F.O.
What Lurks on Channel X?
Demonoid Phenomenon
The Lords of Salem
House of 1000 Corpses
Drum Solo >> Living Dead Girl
More Human Than Human (White Zombie)
Thunder Kiss ’65 (White Zombie)
(House of 1000 Corpses re-release trailer) >> Dragula