Ministry at the Fonda Theatre, Los Angeles
Ministry ended their North American tour with two home shows at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, on December 20th and 21st, and I had the pleasure to attend and capture the second one.
Before the music started we got enough time to get a glimpse of the stage filled with a bunch of props, mostly colorful cubes representing TVs, and Al Jourgensen’s mic stand in a form of an illuminated cross harboring 3 different microphones. Meanwhile there was documentary footage shown on the projector screen behind it. The music started slow with all band members coming out one by one. For the first half of the show the band played songs from their latest album, “Amerikkkant”, which came out this year. The music sounded powerful and angry, just what you would expect from Ministry, filled with political and other relevant topics, and accompanied by extra visuals on the projector screen and rather ominous lighting.
The second half of the set started with Uncle Al thanking everyone for being patient with his political rants and announcing that they were about to play some really old stuff, which they did. They played 4 songs, “Rape & Honey”, “Missing”, “Deity” and “Stigmata” from their 1988 album “The Land of Rape and Honey”, also some songs from the 1989 album “The Mind is a Terrible Thing”, “Psalms 69” and “Rantology”. They finished the set with a beautiful acoustic version of “Every Day Is Halloween” played with guest musicians, including Dave Navarro. Must admit that seeing acoustic guitars and hearing Al Jourgensen sing clean in that setting was an unexpected, but a precious treat.
Now some details. It is a common practice that after the first 3 songs all the photographers are asked to leave the photo pit, yet some places, like the Fonda Theatre, allow to shoot from the crowd. By now I’m very used to it, just like shooting literally from mosh pits while people are bumping into my back and flying over my head. However, I had to give up at a certain point, because the crowd during the show went insane and it was neither safe nor possible to take any pictures. And the mosh pit was putting to shame some of the most brutal extreme metal shows I’ve attended. And the other thing that made the show extra special was that at a certain point the audience was given actual lighters to hold during the songs, and it was both, nostalgic and old school, but also very warm and beautiful. And this is exactly what makes a show great, details, good music, and community. And when it all comes together and you can really feel the experience even if you haven’t been following the band for very long.
Show’s Set List:
- Twilight Zone
- Victims of a Clown
- TV 4 / Chan
- We’re Tired of It
- Game Over
- Rape & Honey
- Just One Fix
- So What
- Every Day is Halloween