The 10th Anniversary of the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards

On the evening of September 9, 1999, I was to be found in my friend Jon Martin’s basement apartment watching the MTV Video Music Awards. I had been waiting like a giddy school girl in knee-highs for the first ever VMA performance by my favorite band of all time, Nine Inch Nails. The band had already released to radio two tracks from their forthcoming album, The Fragile, and I (like most people) had been expecting to hear one of those tracks. What we got instead was the album’s title cut, which was filled with weird little rhythmic tics that, at the time, not having heard the record yet, I couldn’t be sure were intentional.

Anyway, I was psyched to see NIN perform, but that was only one of the amazing sights to behold that night. We also got Kid Rock, Run D.M.C., and Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith performing a medley of their hits, and Britney and Justin before they hated each other, and, of course, Ricky Martin, whose performance I (mercifully) couldn’t find on YouTube. And it was all hosted by Chris Rock!

Remember when the VMAs used to be awesome, or at least awesomely bad? They’re just frighteningly mediocre nowadays, aren’t they? I long for 9/9/99 on this wannabe day, 09/09/09. How about you?