First, I need to preface this post by explaining that I have NOT always been a Nine Inch Nails fan. For the first 7 years of their (his) career, I was not a fan, in the least. As a matter of fact, I was almost an "opponent", rather than a "proponent". It wasn't until 1995 or 1996 that I began falling in love with the song "Head Like a Hole", from the album PRETTY HATE MACHINE. Whether it was due to the angst ridden nature of the song, and my often "bad days" that I would have, while a Winder Dairy milkman, that made me "associate" with the music... or another influence... that was when it became a "guilty pleasure" for me. While an employee of Tom Tom Music, I ended up getting a copy of PRETTY HATE MACHINE from a customer, that sold it to me for cheap, because it was too scratched up to sell in the store. I really began liking that album. Even then, I considered myself a fair weathered fan, and really only a fan of the first album.
There was an infamous incident that occurred at a NIN show, back in 1994, where Marilyn Manson (the then mostly unknown "shock rocker") was slated to open for NIN, and they were removed from the bill, at the last moment, due to a Delta Center (the venue where the show was held) scout, who went to see the concert in Vegas, and reported to venue owner, Larry H. Miller, that the show was near pornographic, and very disturbing. I thought it was funny, at the time, and really was amused by the irony that they let the "Jim Rose Circus Sideshow" keep their slot, Jim Rose who was known for his carnival sideshow antics, like eating lightbulbs, swordswallowing, among other things. But, the truly ironic part, is that Jim Rose had an entertainer named Mr. Lifto, who would lift various heavy objects from any number of his 26 body piercings, and yes, my friends... that includes his...umm...Little Lifto... that didn't lift no more, if you get my point. Although that feat was done behind a sheet, using just shadows (and it may have been exorcised from that particular performance), it would definitely fall under the near pornographic category. Anyhow, to sum up the story, during the NIN set, Marilyn Manson came out on stage, with a Book of Mormon, and began tearing pages out of the book, which is regarded as sacred scripture (in addition to the Holy Bible) to LDS (Mormon) people. This antic created an enormous amount of controversy, and kept Marily Manson out of Salt Lake for several years.
Fast forward to 1999, when The Fragile came out. This was a groundbreaking NIN record, that was two complete discs, and was a thematic piece, that dealt a lot with Trent Reznor's personal feelings. It was an incredible record, and it really made me appreciate his talents, both as a songwriter, and as a musician... since Trent really IS Nine Inch Nails, and performs most of the instruments during the recording process.
Tiffany and I went and saw the "Fragility Tour 2000", and we were blown away by the raw emotion that Trent Reznor is capable of. I must confess, I am a bit envious of Trent. When interviewed, he is one of the most calm, soft spoken individuals that you will ever hear. It is when he is on stage, that he is known for his angst ridden performances. Apparently that is the reason why he is so calm. He loved the fact that he was paid to get all his anger out, all in the course of two hours.
Regardless, at that point I had come out of the closet. I was no longer a closet NIN fan. I purchased future releases, and although I still don't consider myself a fanatic, I am fully appreciative of the work and talents of Trent Reznor.
Anyhow, several months ago, I was privileged to win two tickets to this year's NIN tour. We missed them during their last one or two Salt Lake performances (I can't remember how many it's been), but were happy to be seeing them again.
So, last night, it was our second opportunity to experience a NIN concert. This show was being touted by Trent, as a mind blowing experience. The last time we saw them, it was a near mind blowing experience. His lighting, during the 2000 tour, was done by the same gentleman that did the PINK FLOYD "PULSE TOUR" of 1994. That was actually the reason why I purchased tickets for that show. I was sitting on the fence, until I saw that the same guy was doing the light show. Anyhow, going into our show last night, I knew that they had set the bar high, with their previous shows.
First, I will mention that the show was opened by a band called DEER HUNTER. I researched this band on LAST.FM, and saw that one of the members of YEAH YEAH YEAHS (an Indie Rock band) compared a Deer Hunter show to a "religious experience". I was excited to see them. We only got to see a few of their songs, because of the walk into the venue, but I really enjoyed them. They are really an Ambient, Post Rock band, that does instrumental and vocal performances, and really create a wall of sound with their guitars. Most of the people around me were belly aching about their sounds. They definitely weren't the best band for the Industrial crowd, that's for sure... although NIN is progressively becoming more Indie Rock and less Industrial.
And then NIN took the stage. I was all geared up for one of the most mind blowing light shows that I had ever seen... and it wasn't. At least for the first few numbers. But then, they began a small series of songs from the "GHOST" album, the agressive 2 disc (4 e.p.) instrumental album, featuring mostly Ambient music. During this set, there were three curtains of LED lights that came down in the front, middle and rear of the set. The band was encased in the middle, behind the first screen of lights, and in front of the middle screen. What we saw next, was something I have NEVER seen in a live show. There were three seperate images displayed on the three screens, that created a 3D effect that was mindblowing. Each song featured a different experience with the three screens, including one that was nothing but TV static, with a round circle appearing wherever Trent happened to be. It was astonishing.
AND, Trent was even utilizing a mini Moog synthesizer... and marimbas? Yes, marimbas.
After a set that reached over two hours in length, Trent came out and thanked the crowd for being "the real deal". He had said that they arrived late, and when he had a chance to glimpse through the curtains, to see the back end of the venue free of people. Yes, it was smallest crowd at a NIN show (in Salt Lake), with the exception of the first few years, where he played in clubs. BUT, the crowd was loud, and very appreciative. It was truly heartfelt, his comments. When he first saw the crowd, he said, "Ah, f***, noone came out." Although there were still thousands of people, you would have never known it wasn't sold out, by the sound. There was plenty of energy, and it turned out to be one of the best shows I have seen. Between his energy, his devotion to his art, and his ability to command a show, Trent Reznor is an artist, in nearly every aspect of what he does. Really, he should have been on my "best front men" list...
Oh, and a p.s. to this post... I forgot to mention that we were treated with the incredibly powerful drumming of Josh Freese... one of the greatest living drummers, as part of the NIN tour. Good times!
Now playing: Deer Hunter - Like New