Vince and I saw Ministry’s (alleged) farewell tour last night, which is to say, we went to see Meshuggah (who ruled – Vince’ll have a review up a little later I think), and then we decided to stick around for Ministry, who just happened to be the headliners.

There were two distinct crowds at this show, and after Meshuggah concluded their set, suddenly all the long haired dudes with big beards split and the venue was suddenly overflowing with what we might call, for lack of a better term, hipsters, yuppies, and good old fashioned bridge n’ tunnel trash. Ministry took an unbearably long amount of time to set up, mostly, I think, because they perform from behind a chain-link fence that had to be installed (Is Al Jourgensen saying we’re all prisoners of the band, or that the band are prisoners of us all? HE’S SO DEEP!!!). Then the lights dimmed and some intro music started and I thought “Oh, swell. The band is finally gonna come out and play some music now.”

Then the intro music kept going.

And going.

And going.

Seriously, this intro was so long that it’s still happening right now. I’m still standing here, typing this review as the intro music plays, waiting for the band to come out. “Wow,” a friend of ours jokes, “live they sound exactly the same as they do on the CD!” Yes, they’ve decided to go ahead and just play an entire song from the CD over the PA system for their “intro.” And it’s not a short song, either. Another friend wonders aloud why they’ve kept the crowd waiting for so long if they’re not even on stage for the first fifteen hours of their show.

Oh-kay! The band has finally gone on now. They open with “Let’s Go” from The Last Sucker, and suddenly I’m reminded why I never really like Ministry that much: for each song, they find a cool riff, and then just play it over and over and over and over again. Sometimes they find a second cool riff and then play that for too long as a kind of bridge between bouts of playing the original cool riff. Even stoned or drunk, this shit can get real old, real fast. Add to that the fact that Jourgensen, as a performer, strives to be very, um, theatrical, which I usually dig, but, really, he’s not that good at being theatrical. He just kind of comes off like the David Cross character on Arrested Development.

Above, I’ve posted Ministry’s video for “Just One Fix.” It’s a song I generally like, and when I was a young man, I found the video, with its weird William S. Burroughs cameo and kid endless puking, to be genuinely disturbing. It’s how I’d like to remember Ministry – not the way we (allegedly) said “farewell” to them last night.


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