.

Nine Inch Nails and David Bowie Team Up in Jersey

The titans of weird duet, while Bowie skirts the hits

Nine Inch Nails and David Bowie Team Up in Jersey.
Ke.Mazur/WireImage
November 2, 1995

Nine Inch Nails/David Bowie
Camden, N.J.
Blockbuster-Sony Music Entertainment Center
Sept. 22, 1995

Forget the theory that artists are locked in an Oedipal struggle to kill their creative fathers. Nirvana played with the Meat Puppets, Pearl Jam backed up Neil Young, and now Nine Inch Nails have teamed up with David Bowie. It's apparent that this collaboration has reinvigorated both artists.

Nine Inch Nails opened to a crowd dominated by their young fans. If Reznor was weary, of touring, he didn't show it. The introspective studio Wunderkind who once stalked the stage like a caged animal has evolved into a confident band leader, taking NIN through a relentless, exhilarating survey of his career. The group has been reimagined as a stripped-down post-punk ensemble, supplanting drum machines with two drummers and de-emphasizing synthesizers for guitars. After barreling through a set that included a ferocious version of "Terrible Lie" and a funky, cut-up take on "Closer," the band drifted into an atmospheric instrumental as Reznor picked up a saxophone to play a surprisingly accomplished solo.

They were soon joined by Bowie for a collaboration that was the high point of the show. Bowie's Martian lounge-singer croon vied with Reznor's blood-curdling caterwaul as Bowie's "Scary Monsters" segued into NIN's "Reptile." A blistering version of "Hallo Spaceboy" (from Bowie's new album, Outside) followed, with three drummers pounding away furiously. Reznor and Bowie continued to trade lines on the haunting "Hurt" before NIN left the stage.

Bowie then launched into an extended set of songs from Outside. Although these dark, difficult songs are arguably his best work since the '70s, they were unfamiliar to the audience and not immediately accessible. Moreover, in a bid to put the eager-to-please Let's Dance era behind him, Bowie studiously avoided playing his hits in favor of more obscure songs like "Andy Warhol," "Joe the Lion" and "Breaking Glass." Even though "The Man Who Sold the World" was familiar because of Nirvana's cover, Bowie's reinterpretation of it as an elegiac tribute rendered it barely recognizable. Yet while probably few knew Jacques Brel's "My Death," Bowie sang the song (which he used to perform during his Ziggy Stardust days) with such gut-wrenching emotion that he had the audience cheering in spite of himself.

This story is from the November 2nd, 1995 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Ke.Mazur/WireImage
Nine Inch Nails and David Bowie Team Up in Jersey.
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com