your friend kabir (email@example.com):
Wow, just...wow. I got there running down the length of the football field as Prick launched into "Communique." I love Prick. After last night, I love them more....
The whole NIN pit was amazingly sedate -- not boring, just tranquil. Lots of dumb girls with little leather backpacks, many kids, many parents. During "wish," for example, people were mad that I was flying around madly in the big open area; they "wanted to be able to stand still." Right. Whatever. The intro took me by surprise completely, just Danny and Robin walk out, and then there's Trent..."hey god" and all. In MotP, he screamed "doesn't it make you feel better?", which was a change from the usual, and I didn't really like it. The "closer" and "piggy" remixes were amazing -- little girls trying to sing along and failing.
"Burn"...wow. The whole stage was bathed in swirling pools of red and yellow; if you've ever seen the video, you know what I'm talking about. "Sanctified" was intensely slow, I guess since he hasn't played it forever. Everyone went quiet when it started; even I couldn't tell what it was until the bass line kicked in. The part where he should be reading the "letter" was all faded out and just silent. Ah well, it was amazing. "Wish," as always, had the strobe effect that makes me go all willy-nilly with respect to "wait, there was somebody next to me, and now they're totally gone."
"The becoming" was also way cool. Except that Robin was playing the guitar lick before "annie, etc." and nobody seemed to notice that he wasn't playing the right chords -- he was just playing whatever chords he could. Kinda sucked. "Eraser" was nice and drawn out, no words. Bowie shows up, sings "reptile." Whoa, total silence, as his voice gets filtered into this sort of metallic effects thing, and his eyes gleam green with the lighting. He looked like a snake.
"Hurt" -- as somebody else said, the harmonies were FUCKING amazing. I used to kind of hate seeing it live, but now it's just ...wow.
And Bowie wasn't that bad, either. :)
jody t. match (firstname.lastname@example.org):
"Hurt" brought tears to my eyes. I thought it was beautiful. I missed most of NIN at the Hershey Park show, but one of the songs I did catch was "hurt," and I can honestly say that it was worth the price of the ticket by itself.
jim stark (email@example.com):
I agree. I thought it would be awful...and for the first two seconds of the chorus, it was. Then Bowie's genius kicked in. He really is A) a skilled singer and B) a smart guy. He realized that if he belted out the chorus, it just wouldn't blend with Trent's screaming. So he backed off, found the undertone, and harmonized with Trent's angst-ridden yowl. THAT's a musician. He knew when to step up, and when to back off -- and the song took on a beautiful tone. It was really good. It was "reptile" I didn't like as much. "Scary Monsters" was fucking fabulous, however.
marc richardson (firstname.lastname@example.org):
I thought "hurt" by Trent and Bowie was one of the most incredible things I have ever heard. The only thing that has shattered my ears is hearing "hurt" everywhere when the song used to have so much meaning and emotion to it. The overplaying, videos, performance in every concert, etc., have completely destroyed any true meaning in the song. Now, with reworking and the duet, new emotions and meaning have come through where the old had died.
kyle moyer (email@example.com):
NIN played an excellent performance ... "the becoming" sounded great live, but not all that different from the studio version. "Sanctified" was very good and sounded quite different from the original. I was a bit apprehensive about hearing the remix of "piggy" live ... it was fucking incredible. It sounded better than any other version. "Burn" and "closer to god" were also very good (CTG is the only remix that I like better than the original). I must say I was impressed that the people who looked like trendy types actually knew all the songs and were not confused by CTG. They even knew the slightly altered lyrics.
The music NIN and Bowie played together was the high point of the show. It was really bizarre to see Trent playing a saxophone. I think he should have started breaking it, just because that would be something really different. The Reznor-arranged versions of the Bowie songs were really good and had that NIN-ish sound to them. "Hurt" was harmonized really well, and if it weren't for the reviews here I would never have known that it was hurt until Bowie started singing. It sounded very different. Also, was it just me or at the beginning of "reptile" did Bowie sing "she spreads her ass wide open..."?
Get ready for something shocking and revolutionary here: I stayed for the Bowie performance and actually enjoyed it. My only previous exposure to Bowie was his radio songs ("Space Oddity," "Changes," "Ziggy Stardust," etc.), none of which were played here, but I enjoyed it anyway. Just because he wasn't running around breaking things doesn't mean he "just stood there." I've been to concerts where the performers "just stood there" (last fall's Mazzy Star/Jesus and Mary Chain comes to mind), and this wasn't one of them. I think Bowie showed as much emotion as Trent, he just expressed it in different ways. And it was neat to actually sit down at a concert. The one problem I had was that Bowie's one keyboard player was really bad. Whoever said he could play better than Trent had no idea what he was talking about. My friend is a piano player, and he agreed. By the way, I liked Bowie's "Man Who Sold the World" better than Nirvana's, and I really like the Nirvana version. And if anybody heard me and my friend saying, "Isn't this a Nirvana song?" we were being sarcastic and making fun of the people who didn't hear Kurt say, "This is a David Bowie song". (We also heard "Under Pressure" while waiting in line and said, "Hey, Vanilla Ice.")
It was interesting to watch the older people who came to see Bowie. Some guy was really getting pissed as he tried to get through moshers to get to his seat. He gave me a really dirty look as I was being pushed toward him. I did try to avoid him, since he didn't want to be a part of the pit. He wasn't nearly as annoying as that big jock type who was getting pissed off whenever anyone got anywhere near him. If you don't like it, leave, asshole....
...And just so you don't think I forgot them, Prick were really good.
james salvatore (firstname.lastname@example.org):
All I have to say is Mike Garson is an excellent piano player. His style is a bit unconventional (it's been described as "cracked"), but undeniably excellent. If you get a chance, listen to some of the songs on Aladdin Sane, and you will understand what I'm saying. Glad you enjoyed the show.
harry delien (email@example.com):
...It was a great show for a while. Prick opened -- missed it (still in line at the metal detectors.) NIN was great! NIN with Bowie was strange, but really good. Bowie by himself sucked. Sorry, I consider myself a Bowie fan but his entire set, with four exceptions, was music I don't know, nor did anyone else for that matter. It was cold, and more than half the crowd left before the end of his set, no encore. It was cool when someone set fire to one of the pine trees that line the field, though. I think Trent and the boys did Bowie a favor by letting him play with them.
satish dharmaraj (firstname.lastname@example.org):
Trent was, as usual, amazing. You could tell he was really into it. Prick kicked ass ... was really, really cool.
...The crowd was really nice in the mosh. People were not obnoxious. My friend fell down twice and people helped her up both times. On the whole a very good show, although it will be a big letdown for Bowie fans (so my friends say). I thought the NIN show last year at the Arena was better (well for one, it was longer). Anyway, all of you who are yet to see the show -- I envy you.
laura valentine (email@example.com):
I liked NIN. Trent's incredible. (Edible? Hmmmmmm....) Wonderful, wonderful -- he's very good at what he does.
As for David, he was awesome. He's also gorgeous, but that's not the point. He's 48 and as edible as Trent (if not more), but that's not the point either. He's an artist, a stunning musician, and -- come ON people -- he and rock theater have been synonymous since Ziggy. And he puts on a damn good show, as well as having damn good music. ("Andy Warhol" done as hard rock? Kill me now, I'll die happy.)
It kind of troubles me that people who are "just" NIN fans aren't even really giving Bowie a chance. If he sounds good with NIN, why should he be bad without? Is it because he's old, or identified with "Let's Dance"? Well, "Joe the Lion" and "I Have Not Been to Oxford Town" and "Jump They Say" are a far cry from "China Girl" (which Iggy Pop did MUCH better in '77) and "Modern Love"....
Okay. I'm finished now. I love Trent. But I've loved David since I was 12. And I can't lie -- I'll always love David. I'm not so sure about NIN. Look me up in 20 years.
NIN were good, if you like their style. I can understand why their fans love their live shows. They didn't play anything I really recognized except for a radically different version of "closer"....
David did the usual -- came on and mumbled some lines from "Scary Monsters" while Trent played sax. "Scary Monsters" itself was well done, but they didn't have David's vocals up loud enough -- they fixed this halfway through the song. David seemed a little less energized than in previous tours I've seen, but he put on a good (not great) show. It would have helped a lot if I knew the new songs better -- I like to sing along (as do many). The version of "Andy Warhol" was radically different (and excellent!). "Joe The Lion" was also very well done -- lots of energy.
I have to give the crowd a lot of credit. Despite the cold, they stayed throughout. A good 90 percent were there at the end. After David left the stage, he got a good hand and the crowd started chanted and clapping for an encore. When the lights came on, there were a lot of boos.
It was a good show -- but I think the crowd deserved more, to be honest. They were suitably involved, and the lack of "My Death" and "Teenage Wildlife" (combined with no encore) made me feel a little let down. I know he hasn't done an encore anywhere else, but judging from the discussions we heard leaving the place, David left a lot of possible new fans feeling rather cheated.
simon nugent (firstname.lastname@example.org):
I've come straight off the plane from Washington and fallen onto my desk at work (my body still thinks it's four o' clock in the morning), and first thing I do is check the Bowie newsgroups for reviews of the October 6th show. I'm delighted to see they're universally positive. I thought it was a brilliant show (even NIN and their fans were bearable), and Bowie was in surprisingly good voice (man, he hit those notes so well). The shared Bowie/NIN set was excellent -- the version of "Scary Monsters" was better than any I've heard before (NIN going "oh-oh, oh-oh" in the background was a blast) and the second NIN song that Bowie and Trent did together was excellent as well (aaargh, liking a NIN song -- I'm melting).
One thing I found odd was the fact that not a lot of people with seat tickets were dancing. I was in Section 301, and a guy behind me nearly started a fight with me because I wouldn't sit down.... Don't you guys like to get up and bob? It was a rock'n'roll concert for god's sake, not a tea party. Luckily by the end of the show everyone was up and dancing (except for the turkey behind me) and really grooving it.
julie overturf (email@example.com):
This review is incomplete because I had to deal with a four-and-a-half-hour hellish road trip that included a bank stop, a beer run, a 20-mile traffic jam on the D.C. Beltway, use of a Chinese carryout for food and bathroom, and another 20-mile traffic jam on the westbound highway. I have yet to see an emoticon that effectively conveys how I felt walking across the parking lot about 40 minutes into NIN's set. Catching just the tail end of a NIN show is like waking up from a nightmare and discovering that someone is already engaged in the act of fucking you. (Sorry for the crude analogy, but none other fits.)
So, here's what NIN I did experience. During a really necessary stop in the bathroom, I heard "closer (the toilet flush mix)." I don't have an exact recollection of what song was playing when I finally made it to my seat, but I think it was something angry and loud from broken. "Gave up" was fast and furious, providing a thanks-I-needed-that slap in the face. Am I the only one who's getting tired of "down in it" live? Better was the hypnotic transitional video sequence. A young girl was standing with her friend at my assigned seat, because I didn't have the heart to ask her to move when we arrived. When Trent whipped out his sax, she handed me her binoculars and said "He's playing sax." When Bowie came out, she handed me the binoculars again with really wide eyes and said, "That's David Bowie." It was sweet, because we weren't that far from the stage and there was a huge screen to look at.
David was fair and beautiful and dressed in flowing white, which made a dramatic visual contrast to Trent's darkness. The "reptile" duet was a wonderful sonic contrast as well, with David's smooth voice blending perfectly with Trent's wrenching screams. "Hurt" was fresh and moving, providing a perfect moment to let the night breeze blow across your face and feel the energy of the crowd. After Trent waved goodbye, I was preparing for the mass exodus and energy letdown that everyone has been discussing on a.m.nin. It didn't happen. Maybe David reworked his set, or maybe it's just the Washington crowd, but almost everyone seemed to enjoy the performance (with the exception of some of you NINnies posting your reviews...has it ever occurred to all of you Bowie naysayers that Trent actually likes and respects David Bowie?).
One of the more magical Bowie moments occurred when a girl in the pit balanced herself on top of someone's hands in a full Jesus Christ pose. She was able to sustain the pose for a few long seconds, and David mirrored her for the duration. The person standing next to me was a knowledgeable David Bowie fan, which I am definitely not. He kept saying things like "It's Bowie Hendrix, ohmigod it's Bowie Hendrix," and "I can't believe he's playing this song, he almost never plays this song, I don't think I've ever seen him play this song live!" He was a lot of fun, and we arranged a tape swap so I can learn more about Bowie.
It's late, but I gotta write something, so you get it in snips:
Speaking as one from the pit, it was quite lively. (I was the infamous crowd stander and surfer, and the girl who mimicked David Bowie is a good friend of mine.)
john eidsness (firstname.lastname@example.org):
The show was not especially impressive, at least the bits I got to see. I have two major complaints:
1) Nissan Pavilion. NEVER go to Nissan Pavilion for ANY reason. This place is awful. No matter how good the show is, it is not worth it. I say this in complete seriousness. It is off a one-lane road in B.F.E., which is in turn off Route 66, which has been under construction for around five years and is in no way near finished. It cannot handle that much traffic. This sounds like a minor problem, but it's really, really bad.
Then you get to the parking situation. For five bucks, you get to park in a swamp. Many, many cars got stuck. One guy ended up in 12 inches of mud. (I don't know if they ever got the car out.) Then after the show, you get to try to leave. If you wanted to kill somebody there, you could poke a hole in their muffler, and they would die of carbon monoxide poisoning from idling so long. It was two hours before we even had a chance of getting out. Of course if we had any sense at all we would have left right after NIN finished, but we still would have been backed up because everybody else left after NIN played, too.
2) The show is billed wrong. It is totally a David Bowie concert -- nine inch nails is a very brief opening act, except that the bands play together for about four songs. (That was kind of neat, though....) Most people had the impression that they would get about equal time, but it was not so. If you don't like Bowie, it's not worth the cash to go.
Well, those are the big things. I think Trent may be getting bored or something; he didn't seem especially enthused. But of course, I didn't get there in time to see anything. I been done wrong by the demons at Nissan Pavilion.... The Nissan is a huge fiasco. It should not be.
Oh, and David Bowie is about a million years old.
The crowd was completely high. If you are 110 percent strung-out, stay out of the pit. It's a huge burden trying to keep people from dying in there.
bonnie p. (email@example.com):
Bowie was FANTASTIC tonight. He finally took back the stage from NIN. In Camden, I have to admit it was close to being a NIN show. Tonight the set list was slightly different, more upbeat -- he was wearing the outfit from the HFL video and looked very smashing. His stage presence was awesome and voice in good shape, although at the end when he said goodnight you could hear he was a little hoarse (though that didn't stop him from smoking on stage). He was smoking in more ways than one, though....
Tonight's show dropped "Jump They Say" and "My Death" (a fan's song, but a downer). He took control of the duets with Trent, also: "Scary Monsters" was raving mad, as was "Hallo Spaceboy" (I love that song). He did several songs from Outside but mixed them up better with older stuff and performed them more upbeat and with more animation. Everyone roared for "Under Pressure".... He also spoke a little bit more and moved close to the front of the stage. Danced quite a bit, too.
The crowd was definitely pro-Bowie and no one left. The response was good, and people seemed more comfortable with the Outside material. Toward the end of the set people started to sit down (I think because it is exhausting to stand for two and a half hours without a break), but then all got up for "Under Pressure" and remained up for the end of the set. The sound was great at Nissan Pavilion, and this show was hands-down superior to the one at Camden two weeks ago. I think he has been listening to some of the criticism early in the tour and responded with wonderfulness.
It also helped that they had at least one video screen up and running. Being able to see Bowie perform up close makes a big difference, and a great cheer went up when the screen came on.
wally mealiea (firstname.lastname@example.org):
I thought it was a great show. Only downside: Neither performer played that long -- under an hour and a half each. The NIN set was great. Trent seemed pretty pumped up -- he even threw a guitar! This was the first time I'd seen NIN, and I was impressed with both the music and the light show.
1) If you can go to this show -- do it. If you were just thinking about it before, or not so sure -- go! This is THE show not to miss. Excellent, excellent, EXCELLENT!
2) I have no idea what all the NINnies on this group were bitching about at their shows -- NIN rocked, Bowie rocked, the whole damn show was great. GO!
3) Thank you to whoever had tickets in Section 300 and never showed -- they were great seats!
4) Don't go to the Nissan Pavilion unless you plan on spending all day -- and night -- literally inching along in traffic. We spent more time getting to and from the concert than we did at the actual show. Traffic was horrible. I'll never go there again.
Prick started promptly at 7:30 -- which was unfortunate because there was hardly anybody in the audience. About half-filled, I guess. They were good -- sounded exactly like their CD -- but the video screens weren't on, so we couldn't see them except as little tiny people on the stage. No stage design, just black.
More and more people showed up all the time. Question: Where the hell are all of you during the day? I have NEVER seen so many punks and goths in the D.C. area for any show or occasion. It was great!
And then the lights went down, and a cheer went up from the crowd, smoke billowed from the stage -- and the show REALLY began.
The video screens still weren't working, so I missed out on what was going on. The Pavilion is not the place for a NIN show -- you have to be down in front to appreciate the music/noise/energy level. Needs one big huge mosh pit for everyone to rock together, instead of standing politely at your seat trying to show your enthusiasm. By song #3, the video screen started working -- one of them. Better than nothing.... NIN was GREAT. "Piggy" and "burn" were my favorites; watching the confused crowd reaction at "closer to god" also was great. This is my first time for seeing NIN, but Trent seemed to be putting everything into it -- jumping around, sweating up a storm, screaming, screaming, screaming...the man gets into his work! It was wonderful.
And then "eraser" starts, and the light go down, and projected onto the stage is what looks like white noise -- just floating dots. Changes to bees. Changes to maggots. Back to dots. I can see that people are moving all over the stage.
And then the lone cry from a saxophone -- and no reaction from the crowd! It seemed to me that very few people realized it was Trent playing sax. When the lights finally did come up, the video camera was focused on him -- but he was hiding in the shadows, so we only saw a figure.
Hauntingly beautiful sax. And then...and then, "Scary Monsters," and the crowd ERUPTS! The energy level was high before, now it just broke through the roof -- the Thin White Duke and NIN sharing the same stage! Bowie was the absolute contrast of Trent -- all in flowing white, hair poofed back -- with Trent in black with hair plastered to his face from sweat. The best parts of the show were when they were on stage together. I loved the duets -- WONDERFUL!
NIN left, and Bowie's band is on now -- his guitarist is really talented. I wish they had played more that I recognized. What he played was good -- but I didn't know it. I didn't buy the new CD until yesterday, which I should have done as soon as it came out.
And I saw NO crowd exodus -- the pit was packed for NIN, it remained packed for Bowie.
Highlights of Bowie: "Man Who Sold the World" -- the lights went out onto the crowd in the pit. One lone woman was sitting on someone's shoulders right in front of Bowie. She stretched out her arms like a crucifix, so Bowie did, too. For about a minute they mimicked each other...and then she fell into the crowd.
"Under Pressure" was vibrating.The crowd had seemed to be relaxing a bit, sitting down, enjoying the music and the show. This got everybody back up on their feet and rocking again. The bald, black female bass player did a great job on the duet -- the song really revitalized the crowd.
And at 11:00 it was over. It was great. I wish I could have been in the pit for NIN -- need that kind of crowd involvement for that music -- but I loved the show.
I had a good time -- can't you tell?
David gave a commanding performance and proved why NIN was the warm-up band. (NIN was very good, too, however.) Bowie did not come out with a slew of hits, but he mesmerized the audience with excellent singing, varied stage movements, and reams of passion in every song. His voice never sounded better to me. I hope the smoking does no damage to it. The sound system was crystalline. The band was top-notch (but I admit that it's a relief when Reeves turns it down once in a while). David made an excellent move when he began the show with "Look Back In Anger." It was a powerful anthemic version that allowed him to immediately take command of the stage after Trent left. "Hallo Spaceboy" was booming, incredible. In fact, the entire first half of the show was non-stop power and excellence....
Clearly, David showed most vigor on the Outside stuff. The only slump in the show, I felt, was "Breaking Glass," which came off in a tired way. I also wasn't thrilled with the "Sold The World" remix. But these are nitpicks. I can't say there was anything wrong with the show. It was top-notch every step of the way, and I was damn sorry when it was over. The crowd was wowed. The best thing about Bowie was that he had the most passion and bounce that I've seen since "Serious Moonlight." He was doing all the shuffles, mimes, gestures, poses, sashays, and theatrical movements that have made him one of the greatest rockers of the last 25 years. I have to believe this show is picking up steam as it goes along -- the kinks clearly are being worked out. Bowie is finding the song arrangement that best suits him and the show. Those of you who have not seen the show are in for a treat. Bowie is on his best "live show" roll in more than a decade. Enjoy.
The Washington Post didn't even run a review until the Wednesday paper (following a Friday concert). But this is what really pissed me off:
The evening started with a series of collaborations between Bowie and Nine Inch Nails, with Bowie and NIN singer Trent Reznor pairing up on "Hurt" and other NIN songs. But Bowie's vocals sounded too slick and too smooth by half on that kind of angst-ridden material.Obviously Rob "Hi, I just had a frontal lobotomy" Pegoraro decided that the concert didn't start until after he arrived, no matter what 20,000 other people said. NIN's set -- this was BEFORE you dragged your sorry ass into the show, Rob -- was outstanding. Prick was quite good, too, but didn't even get one sentence. (I'll bet Rob was still picking his butt watching Entertainment Tonight when they hit the stage.)
It's amazing to me that the Post consistently gives half-, full-, and even two-page treatment to every piece-of-shit Broadway musical that pops through D.C. on its way to boring thousands of New Yorkers, yet gives back-of-a-manicured-hand dismissal to one of the most influential icons of alternative rock and nearly ignores one of the geniuses of today's musical genres.
It's got great comics pages, though. Three of 'em!