This was my first time to see Skinny Puppy live. The venue was The World in Pittsburgh's Strip District. The World was only open for about a year, but another club called Rosebud had occupied that space for many years prior. Otto Von Schirach opened the show with an interesting set in his usual style of intense beats and distorted vocals mixed with his unique sense of humor. Unfortunately his set was cut short due to problems with a wire connected to his equipment.
Skinny Puppy's show started with a nature film played on the large screen behind the stage that seemed too long as my anticipation was building. Finally, cEvin Key, William Morrison and Justin Bennett came onto the stage and started into Epilogue which ran straight into Downsizer. Still no Ogre. He was heard singing but he was not seen. Then I'mmortal started and Ogre came running onto the stage at full speed in his bandaged bird-like costume. As he went by me, I felt something cold hit my face, I looked down at my clothes and realized I was hit with stage blood which Ogre had apparently covered himself in backstage. This wouldn't be the last time fake blood would splash on me during the evening, a price any fan pays for being in the front of a Skinny Puppy concert. I couldn't have asked for a better set list. After a few songs from The Greater Wrong of the Right they went into a set full of the best songs from their long career beginning with Crucible from The Process. God's Gift (Maggot) had Ogre making use of more stage blood. During VX Gas Attack he had a gas mask filled with green slime (which also made it's way onto me). Hardset Head had the audience going crazy, there was a massive push from the back when it started and I was momentarily smashed against the metal barrier separating the audience from the stage. Hexonexonx was a nice surprise and it featured "George W. Bush" and "Dick Chaney" beheading Ogre. Before leaving the stage they each held up four fingers for four more years to which the audience responded by holding up one finger back at them. Towards the end of the show Ogre wrapped the stage (and William Morrison) in police line tape.
The encore was Convulsion and Blue Serge. I knew going in other cities on the tour got three songs for the encore, so I was a little disappointed in that. Other than the stage blood and green slime which washed off easily another souvenir I left with was a piece of the police line tape which is proudly displayed on a wall in my home.
This is the best concert I have ever witnessed, not only because of the music, but also because of the total stage production which is what sets Skinny Puppy apart from all other bands. I have so many memories from that night. The heart shaped memorial to Dwayne Goettel on the front of cEvin Keys's synth rack. Ogre making eye contact with me as I sang along with Crucible. One humorous moment came during Empte when Ogre tried to take off his costume while singing and it got tangled in the mic cord. A roadie had to come out and assist him in getting untangled.
Skinny Puppy has yet to return to Pittsburgh. If they ever do come back I will be there, hopefully once again in the front row.