LIVE: Nine Inch Nails
Scary Trent Reznor caught in the act
Maple Leaf Gardens
Friday, April 28, 2000
Reviewer: Erin Cardiff
"Trent, you are MY GOD!" It was the second time Trent Reznor had
ventured into the crowd and left his mic behind. A random fan had gotten
a hold of it that was what he would have screamed. A capacity crowd at
Maple Leaf Gardens heard it. The only question was whether or not they
It was a difficult possibility to ignore, as Reznor took the stage
outfitted in black from head to toe including the eyeshadow, with the
occasional white splash across his sleeveless jacket. It was tough to
decide if you were walking into a haunted house or out of a scene from
the Bible. The attractive force was blatantly obvious, as a truly
magnetic charm and charisma flowed from Reznor. Of course, those are not
words mentioned too often in connection with Trent Reznor.
Witnessing an actual Nine Inch Nails show puts the myth of Reznor into
an entirely different perspective. So much emphasis is placed on the
reputation that supercedes him - being an extremely demanding
perfectionist. Judging by the caliber of the stage show, it can hardly
be argued that's a bad thing.
Regardless of one's love for Reznor, the stage itself was a breathtaking
sight. The lighting was unlike anything to ever appear on stage. Three
large panels hovered over the front of the stage - for no apparent
reason at first. When they started to blink, it became an obvious
lighting rig, but as they swung back to reveal the fact that it was
actually three panels of a giant screen coming to rest behind the stage,
the crowd was breathless. The stage was set almost as a member of the
performance, as keyboards, drums, lights; performers - everything was
completely mobile. Reznor trashed the stage repeatedly, and techs simply
turned everything upright again.
The magnetism, the star power, the content of the show all point to one
direction. Think what you will about Trent Reznor, but do not doubt, he
is rock and roll. NIN are one of the most vital and exciting rock bands
to ever grace a stage. And regardless of what he might think, Trent
Reznor is a rock star. NIN is a rock phenomenon. This is what rock music
needs - serious, hardcore reality. Of course, the usual between-song
banter was non-existent, except for two or three repeats of the phrase
"This is another song about FUCKING" though by the end of the show he
seemed to be in good spirits - smiling throughout the encore and
exclaiming: "You've put me in a good mood, which is rare. Thank you."
NIN may very well be the best rock band to appear in the last decade.
Forget about the retro-camp and pop/rock nostalgia - rock has its best
The best part of this mind blowing experience? The show was played with
passion and sincerity from start to finish powered through by the hard
NIN sound. Being rock doesn't soften the edge at all. Trent Reznor is a
notable craftsman - far more concerned with atmosphere than playing
every single hit song. Notable in their absence from the setlist were
recent singles "No You Don't" and "We're In This Together Now." Gaps
were filled with moody instrumentals. The setlist did include an
unrecognizable Queen cover "Get Down, Make Love", along with versions of
"March Of The Pigs," "Perfect Drug" and "Closer," which sounded as
purely perfect as humanly possible - even more glorious than on record.
At one point, Reznor spread out his arms in a stunningly convincing
fashion looking every bit the part to sing the words, "I am Jesus
That, my friends, is for you to decide for yourself.
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