care if you say we can’t be together. I don’t care if you think I’m the most
evil, unnatural creature walking on earth. You can think whatever you want, go
whatever you want. I’m going to just go on loving you, even if it’s hopeless.”
― Richelle Mead, The
Tin Machine was announced to the press in May 1989, released their debut album, and went on a brief promotional tour in the US and Europe. It’s a shame that said tour was so brief, as it was the band at the peak of its promise–playing small clubs, burning through (and to be fair, greatly elongating) songs, with Bowie in strong voice and delighted about the racket he was making.
Setlists were the entire Tin Machine album (barring “Video Crime,” for whatever reason), the occasional cover (”Maggie’s Farm,” “Shakin’ All Over”) and new compositions (Hunt Sales’ “Sorry” and “Now,” which became ”Outside” years later). Not a single “David Bowie” song was played. Openers varied, but the closer was always “Under the God.” And no encores.
There was a sense of spontaneity about the tour—tickets often weren’t announced until the day of the show and the band would pile into a single car to be taken to gigs.
Bowie, 5 July 1989: “We still regard ourselves first and foremost as a live band. The songs are almost secondary…a vehicle to work on, to improvise on.” Here’s a document of much of it.
(Most clips are courtesy of the invaluable “David Bowie Tin Machine” YouTube account.)