As far as commercial suicide goes, it doesn’t get more adventurous than a 48 year old Englishmen going out on tour with an industrial band, that being Nine Inch Nails, for a small tour of the United States. You see, at the time, this tour left a lot of people scratching their heads. It was not only an odd mix to many (I loved the idea at the time and still do) but it was the beginning in some respects of Bowie’s appreciation and respect campaign from not only NIN but the likes of Alice In Chains, Blur, Radiohead and other fresh bands happily dipping their hats to Bowie.
Some people mistakenly took this recording of the full show as a soundboard which it clearly isn’t. What it is though, is a high quality audience recording of the full set from the Blockbuster Sony Music Entertainment Centre in Camden, New Jersey that was played on Friday September 22 1995. Around this time, Coolio’s Gangsters Paradise and Michael Jackson’s You Are Not Alone were topping the charts so you can understand why the NIN/Bowie combination was a relief for anyone looking to escape the mainstream.
Starting off with Terrible Lie, Trent Reznor and his band deliver a fantastic set that grows in stature as the evening wears on. This was also just the fifth show of some twenty seven set out for the US leg of the Outside Tour which comes through as well due to the freshness that you feel in both sets.
As Sanctify closes and moves into Subterraneans, a brave opening choice by Bowie may I say, the mood changes as Bowie’s stage presence becomes apparent. From here we go on a wild ride as both Reznor and Bowie share the stage to play no less than five numbers together. This alone is enough to confirm these shows as some of the bravest in Bowie’s career. It was still only a few years since the Never Let Me Down/Tin Machine period had drawn to a close so for Bowie, he was still on the outer yet, with these new and exciting concerts, he was heading back to the cutting edge again.
Overall, I doubt Bowie has ever come out with a better setlist? There are no real hits, just a collection of brilliant new songs for the time along with some reworkings of his more obscure numbers including The Man Who Sold The World and Andy Warhol. The Outside material is sublime and the only shame from this show is that he didn’t play at least a few more numbers from 1. Outside.
There is a vast array of shows available from this leg of the Outside Tour. I suggest you track down as many as you can because each recording is an incredible gaze through the looking glass into one of Bowie’s most creative and eccentric career moves. You simply won’t be disappointed!
Terrible Lie/March Of The Pigs/The Becoming/Piggy/Burn/Closer/Wish/AWarm Place/Down In It/Sanctify/Subterraneans/Scary Monsters/Reptile/Hallo Spaceboy/Hurt/The Hearts Filthy Lesson/I’m Deranged/I Have Not Been To Oxford Town/We Prick You/The Voyeur Of Utter Destruction/A Small Plot Of Land/Breaking Glass/Andy Warhol/The Man Who Sold The World/Outside/Teenage Wildlife/My Death/Jump They Say/Nite Flights