By 1995 I was a huge fan of both Nine Inch Nails and David Bowie. When I heard that the two were going to go on tour together, I knew I needed to do whatever it took to get to the show. I loved Bowie’s then current album Outside. Trent Reznor had just scored a huge radio and MTV hit with “Closer”. What more could you ask for?
The tickets sold out quickly. I didn’t have the money on the first day they became available. I was really bummed out that I would not be able to go. But a friend of mine ended up needing to sell a ticket so I jumped on that! YAY!
Nine Inch Nails was at their absolute peak in terms of popularity while Bowie’s career had been in decline for a decade. Nails consistently drew larger crowds even though they were not headlining.
I saw the show on October 3, 1995 at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan. I still have the ticket stub somewhere and if I find it I will post it to this blog. Another industrial-metal band called Prick was actually the first band on stage. They were forgettable.
Nails put on an excellent show. It was highly energetic, engaging and even sexy. The entire floor of the Palace was a giant mosh pit. It stayed that way for the entire performance, except during the slower sections. I had never seen anything like this before and I have not since. Generation X had a lot of aggression to deal with.
Toward the end of the set they brought Bowie on stage. They performed both Bowie and Nails tracks together. These included “Hurt”, “Scary Monsters”, “Halo Spaceboy” and my favorite “Reptile”. When I saw them perform that track together I was in pure amazement. I found a bootleg(ish) concert footage of this one on YouTube
After the joint-set, Nails left the stage and Bowie’s band showed up. They started with the biggest hit of the Album, “Hearts Filthy Lesson”. I started jumping up and down and screaming, “BOWIE!!!”
There were two large signs near the ceiling on either side of the stage. The first read “Strange hand noise” and the other read “I don’t own you”. He must have been talking to the Nine Inch Nails fans because most of them started to exit the stadium. They were not there to see Bowie at all. They could not have cared less. What a sight! What a shame. All these goth-industrial-punk-whatevers were steadily streaming out of the building. I was simply shocked.
I was in the same age group as these ignorant fools but unlike them I was thrilled to get a chance to see David Bowie. How could you walk out on Bowie? That must have been a Rock ‘N Roll sin! I was livid with them.
But we stayed for Bowie and he put on a pretty good show. Maybe is was due to poor morale, but the performance was sub-par for thew likes of David Bowie. I admit that was a little disappointed that they didn’t play any of his back-catalog. Now that he has left this planet, I get to brag that I had a chance to see him live in person and that’s priceless.
[ review by Alex Velocity ]