Nine Inch Nails & David Bowie

The following reflection was written in 2003, when I was between 25 and 26 years old.


I had a brief respite from my struggles with love in that first month of college and it was a visit to Great Woods in Mansfield, MA to see Nine Inch Nails and David Bowie. Though my car was in the shop, the trip with my Dad driving the bunch of us wasn’t as unbearable as I thought it might be. In fact, the drives to and from were basically the only time that any of us saw each other.

JonMartin took off with either Missy or Laura. I can’t remember which was there. I think it was Laura. My brother John took off with, I think it was Will. Dad and I stuck together for a small bit but eventually I ended up by myself. Our seats were on the lawn, the open field of sand that sat at the top of the pavilion. I was up near the front when the opening band was about to come on and this is where it got interesting.

You had lots of folks my Dad’s age there to see Bowie and lots of folks my age there to see NIN. There was a fucking pregnant woman roaming about the area where a mosh pit was about to form as soon as the lights went down! It was crazy. I’m glad I saw her get out of there before Prick took the stage to open the show. They played a short, blistering set and then they were off.

It was a little while before Nine Inch Nails took the stage. As I recall, they were dressed as stage hands or something… their arrival was very sudden and the lights came down very quickly and then it was a frenzy for close to an hour as Trent led them through an amazing set.

Things started to go downhill when Bowie came out for two or three songs together as NIN slowly faded off the stage and Bowie’s band came on. We did get to see Trent play saxaphone, which was cool. But, other than that the transitional part of the show was the beginning of the end.

I like David Bowie. The Bowie portion of the show could have been good if he played anything other than stuff off his new and very NIN-derivative album. I think he might have played “Man Who Sold The World” but that was it as far as old songs go.

The crowd, which had been so excited for NIN, was nearly asleep by the end of the Bowie set. My Dad had this look like those were three hours he was never getting back. I had about two tons of fucking sand in my shoes from getting tossed around in the makeshift pit up on the lawn. Jon had been in the pavilion so he was relatively unscathed. My brother and whoever he was with, they had bumped into a pit of their own and some pot smokers.

We all got into the car and Dad drove our sorry asses home. Then it was back to the task at hand — pining over a girl I shouldn’t have ever pined over. That was, after all, my specialty.