15 years ago David Bowie & Trent Reznor thought it would be a great idea if they did a tour together. It wasn’t. I saw the tour in Las Vegas, and unfortunately NIN opened for Bowie, so half of the arena left when Trent did. I felt embarrassed for Bowie, though I stayed as he was who I’d come for. I’ve read over the years that Vegas was no fluke. Peeps were walking out everywhere, which would explain why this fantastic pro-shot footage has remained vaulted for the last 15 years. It’s too bad; it’s excellent!
I sort of attended out of obligation to the past and to my girlfriend at the time. NIN were played out for me even though they were riding the peak of their success at that time. I loved “Pretty Hate Machine” but “Broken” left me wanting more tunes and less rage, so by the time “The Downward Spiral” rolled around, i couldn’t be bothered. Bowie on the other hand had me excited when he announced he was collaborating with Brian Eno again, after years apart! These 2 were responsible for the “Berlin Trilogy” of albums that are still revered in most quarters. However, what they produced was the underwhelming, and slightly embarrassing “1.Outside“, which was really just 3 songs with some nonsense in between in the trendy NIN mold of the times. Yawn… You’ll notice there has yet to be an “2.Outside” even though they’d recorded enough material for 3 albums.
That being said, the show was actually really quite good as well as unique. Typically it would have gone like this: NIN play their set, then have the lights come up while some DJ ironically spins Blue Oyster Cult or something, then lights down, opening chords to Jean Genie… However, what they did was segue into each others’ sets. So Bowie comes on stage to sing a song with Trent, meanwhile the musicians behind them are swapping out. They get to NIN’s epic “Hurt” and it’s mostly Bowie’s band onstage so that Trent is now singing with them. The song ends, Trent waves goodbye, then, opening chords to Jean Genie… I’ve not seen anything like it since, but it’s a great idea I think.
Well, that version “Hurt” is pretty good, but we all know which version is best, right?