by Isaac Josephson and Ari Bendersky / Rolling Stone
20th September 1997
Miller Genuine Draft’s third and final Blind Date concert took place Friday night at Chicago’s historic Vic Theatre with one of the world’s biggest techno acts, The Chemical Brothers, warming up the stage for the legendary David Bowie.
A small group of lucky music fans (and Miller patrons) were flown in from around the continent and taken under a veil of secrecy in buses to the venue for an evening of good food, plenty of flowing Miller products and of course, great music.
At 8:30 p.m., a black curtain displaying a single illuminated question mark parted, and the Chemical Brothers kicked off the night.
Straight from Manchester, England, the Brothers were in town to “work it out” for a group of about 900 people in a theater that normally holds 1,400. For nearly an hour they threw out intense block rockin’ beatsaccompanied by wild, swirling lights and crazy looping images flashing across a screen draped behind the pair.
After spinning discs and mixing grooves with loud, heart-pounding bass beats, the duo threw up their hands to a hyped-up crowd and waved good-bye, setting the stage for the Thin White Duke.
Following a short set break, Bowie made his entrance to the punchy sounds of “Jean Genie.” Acoustic guitar in hand, he rocked the popular 1973 tune to a neat closure and announced with an honest grin slapped across his face: “We’re going to do some old songs, and some young songs.” For the next hour and a half, the show was just that — an even mixture of classic Bowie tunes and drum ‘n bass selections from his latest release, Earthling.
Primed by the Chemical Brothers’ mind-blowing show, the audience accepted Bowie’s electronic efforts, but were clearly more ecstatic when they caught the first bass steps to “Under Pressure,” and the signature guitar riffs in the classic classic rock tune “All the Young Dudes” (produced and written by Bowie, but originally recorded by Mott the Hoople). Still, the gut-wrenching rendition of “I’m Afraid of Americans” and the harrowing and heartfelt “Battle for Britain,” both from Earthling, showed that Bowie only grows more soulful with time.
During the night, Bowie pulled out two Velvet Underground covers — “I’m Waiting for the Man,” and “White Light/White Heat.” He also ripped through “Man Who Sold the World,” the title track off his 1970 release later reincarnated on Nirvana’s final album, In Utero.
The show closed out Miller’s Blind Date concert series, which kicked off in Los Angeles on June 4 with Bush and Veruca Salt. Show No. 2 had surprised Miller guests watching the Foo Fighters and Supergrass at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium.