Rob Zombie Live: Delightfully Raunchy Thrills Galore TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park
Updated: Sep 24, 2021
Wow. Holy crap. Amazing. Mind blowing. Those are the words that pop into my mind as I attempt to describe seeing Rob Zombie live for the first time. I was first introduced to Rob Zombie back in the White Zombie days by my future brother-in-law, and I was taken in by the heavy beats, crazy guitar and bass licks, raunchy lyrics, and creep show references. Even though over 30 years have passed since then, Rob Zombie’s music is still powerful and thrilling.
I’ve wanted to cover a Zombie show since I first started concert photography (thank you for inspiring me, Rob Fenn), so I was absolutely stoked to be approved for Friday’s show. I was also a bit intimidated because the stage and risers were awfully high, I knew the lighting would be difficult, and there were a lot of first-rate photographers, videographers, and big, burly security guards in the pit with me. But I knew it would be a killer concert and I was down for the challenge.
The crowd was already amped after Chevelle’s smoking hot set. After Chevelle’s gear was whisked away, I could see that the stage setup itself was fairly simple, with huge video screens, lighted risers, and custom mic stands. Guitarist John 5, bassist Piggy D , and drummer Ginger Fish took the stage first, striding in dramatically to excited cheers. Bedlam broke out when Rob Zombie took the stage, wearing his signature (vegan) fringe pants and jacket. His unmistakable voice, incredible energy, and powerful – no, make that masterful – stage presence made it hard to concentrate on anyone else.
The 15-song setlist began with “The Triumph of King Freak” from his newly released LP, “The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy” and ended with a cover of the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter.”
• During “House of 10,000 Corpses” huge balloons were released into the crowd, contrasting weirdly with the gory video clips on the screens
• Zombie teasing the audience with the intro to “Thunderkiss65,” then saying, “If I’m gonna play this song for the 10,000th time, you had better f****** motivate me!”
• Several costume changes
• The announcement that the show was officially sold out
• Cover of The Ramone’s song, “Blitzkreig Bop,” with a reprise of Thunderkiss ’65.
• “Dragula” encore
Throughout it all, all four musicians were clearly doing what they love. Zombie is a master showman, and his presence was intense and mesmerizing. The grins on Piggy D’s and Ginger Fish’s faces were almost constant as they slammed through the set. John 5’s regal stances belied the difficulty of his killer riffs.
Side note: I saw John 5’s solo act a couple years ago at The Vogue Theater in Indianapolis, and although it was technically brilliant, he didn’t appear to have nearly as much fun as he did on stage with Rob Zombie. It was cool to see him smile and interact with this audience, who just ate it up.
Although I wouldn’t recommend this show for children due to the graphic nudity, profanity, and violent content, I did see some kids there, along with other people of all ages and walks of life. And every single one of them was having a fantastic time. You just never know who’s a closet Zombie fan!
For upcoming tour dates, merch, music, videos, and films, go to https://robzombie.com/
Follow Zombie’s Instagram for updates on his newest film, a reboot of the classic 60s sitcom, “The Munsters.”https://www.instagram.com/robzombieofficial/