Ministry and My Uncle The Wolf - It's been nice having you around, Al.
Before we get to Ministry’s bye bye tour, this review starts off with an open letter to all non-Dutch bands and artists.
No, it is not cool to talk about weed on stage in Holland. We are not impressed, trust Metalrage.com on this one. And furthermore; it's equally silly to smoke a pound of hash before climbing on stage. Weed has been 'legal' in The Netherlands for decades, and no one really cares that it's a status symbol in your country. A lot of people might even tell you that you're a pathetic dork for bragging about 'stuff' when you're past your thirties. You see, in The Netherlands marijuana is a teenage sin, and after that, for most of us it becomes an occasional habit. Every time we see you tourists and touring artists going ballistic over that silly green plant, it makes us laugh. It's just weed. Grow up.
And if you're in a band that is painstakingly trying to sound like Down, our advice is: get off stage, get sober and get back home, find an own identity and come back without the boring comments on pot. You're about the millionth artist that did so, and at the same time the millionth that made an ass of himself. Oh by the way, My Uncle The Wolf is boring and the singer needs to get some lessons in singing. Or stay off the weed, that shit robs you off your ambition as Samuel L Jackson once said.
With the departure of Ministry, the musical landscape has lost another legendary and eccentric old fuck. And don't take this the wrong way: old fuck is a compliment in this respect. Kind of like the recently deceased George Carlin described it. "Who's that?" "That's Al, he's the old fuck." It's meant in the most endearing way.
Everybody loves an old fuck. Especially when he's witty and has a sharp mind. And just like Carlin, Al Jourgenson definitely fits that description. Years of alcohol and drug consumption have turned him from an 80's electro hippie into a possessed weirdo that has no trouble making about sixty records a year. Most old fucks stay at home and record a country record, reflecting on the lives they've lead. Not Al, he thought it was time to make three full length albums to tell you the world is fucked, coming to an end and there's only one guy to blame: George Bush. Exhausted as he'd become with the ranting, he called it a day as far as Ministry is concerned. Farting in the face of everyone - Mr. Jourgenson doesn't give a shit what you think - he released a cover album as the final effort. And completely understating the phenomena he almost singlehandedly created, he named his farewell tour the 'CU LAtour'. It's cheesy, it's corny, he doesn't care.
That much had become clear about ten minutes in to the show, as the fences kept them far away from the crowd, and the set list resembled, no almost duplicated the ones we heard the last five years. 90% Bush loathing, 10% classics. He doesn't care about you, folks.
And that's great. For two reasons: A. The show Ministry put on the last years is amazing. It's a compilation of the most relentless music the man has created, complimented with indoctrinating messages on huge screens next to and behind the stage. A collage of marching soldiers, repeating 9-11 attack footage, victims of war and explosions. It's kind of like Oliver Stone's epic nihilistic film Natural Born Killers has come to life and with the thundering drums and hypnotic samples rupturing your eardrums, you're standing in the middle of it.
Reason B is that the fact Jourgenson doesn't care for best of shows with crowd-pleasing set lists, makes about 80% of his charm. It's not a middle finger as much as a characteristic stroke. Maybe it's him stroking himself, but still it leaves us with the memory of Jourgenson going out in a blaze of his own personality. He can build as many fences around himself as he wants to, it doesn't change anything. Everyone loves the old fuck, especially if he doesn't give a fuck about you. It's been nice having you around, Al.