Nine Inch Nails Wraps Up Euro Tour
LONDON - Trent Reznor, the acrid and passionate man who has
inspired teenagers across the globe to dye their hair black and hate
society, made a London crowd realize why it has been worth the
five-year wait for Nine Inch Nails' new album The Fragile.
Backed by a live band and a cavalcade of keyboards on Wednesday
night (Dec. 1), Reznor, clad all in black, confirmed his staying power
to a similarly dressed maudlin audience, despite the gap between
1994's Downward Spiral and this year's double album.
The 22-song set was unexpectedly comprised mainly of old
material, though the band opened up with a new one, "Somewhat
Damaged," as well as "Terrible Lie" and "Sin" from its 1989 debut
Pretty Hate Machine. Songs from The Fragile were scattered, as if
Reznor was uncharacteristically unsure of his new work, and elected
to stick with older songs that were sure to keep the crowd happily
However, he had nothing to worry about. The selection of new
songs, taken mostly from The Fragile's "Left Bank" disc, were some
of his best works to date. "La Mer" and "The Great Below" in
particular, accompanied by water images blasted onto a screen that
dropped down over the stage, showed that Reznor has worked hard
to fine-tune his rage over the past decade. Yet, "Starf--kers Inc.,"
which was included in the encore along with gut-wrenchers "Closer"
and "Hurt," establishing Reznor's recently polished style, made it
clear that he hasn't lost his trademark fury. Ironically, NIN didn't play
its latest single, "We're in This Together," opting instead for "The
Wretched," "The Frail," and Pretty Hate Machine favorites Down in It
and Head Like a Hole to close out the hour-and-a-half pre-encore
Reznor's second London gig in several years, like his industrial
beats, had more than one level of meaning and more than one
purpose. Not only did he return with a more intricate musical
product, but also made it clear that, at 34, he has mastered the art
of the live performance. The light show, the smoke, and the fervor of
his voice brought NIN's entire body of work to life. After a five-year
fissure in the war between his mind and soul, Reznor's comeback
made it clear: He is still hard rock's biggest anti-hero. — Harriet
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is provided courtesy Keith Duemling and Tracy Thompson from the collection previously
located at SUS.