April 2000

Nine Inch Nails Begin Tour In The Dark

Industrial-rock band takes to stage for first time in five years.

It had been five years since Nine Inch Nails toured the United States, but at their kickoff show in Cleveland on Wednesday, they decided to make fans wait just a bit longer.

The industrial band played the first song of the set, "Somewhat Damaged" (RealAudio excerpt), shrouded entirely by a black curtain covering the stage.

"It was just a little more suspense," said Bryan Carney, an 18-year-old fan from Cleveland. "A lot of people were there who'd been waiting for five years. There was so much energy."

The show at Cleveland State University's Convocation Center lasted about two hours. It launched a 10-week tour that continues into June, with its second stop Friday, outside Detroit.

An otherwise plain stage featured three video screens of varying sizes that moved throughout the show, concert-goers said. The screens showed short films of such things as flowing water during "La Mer," a song that featured band mastermind Trent Reznor on keyboards.

"It was what I call the typical fantastic Nine Inch Nails show, with phenomenal sound and phenomenal lighting," Marty Bechtold, the venue's general manager, said. "The lighting had that great industrial feel and went along with the beat of the music."

Dubbed Fragility v2.0, the outing is Reznor's first attempt to bring the music of last year's The Fragile to U.S. concert audiences. While the double CD was praised by critics for its sonic textures and Reznor's unusual tenderness, music buyers have been slow to embrace it.

The band honored its past by playing such modern-rock hits as "Head Like a Hole" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Closer," but some fans said they were just as impressed by new work, such as "The Frail" and "The Great Below."

"The new songs sounded great live, better than I expected," Mike Woellert, 23, of Cleveland said. "The songs definitely sounded different. They weren't as electronically driven."

Senior Writer Chris Nelson reports:

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Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails
This article is provided courtesy Keith Duemling and Tracy Thompson from the collection previously located at SUS.