May 2000

Review: Nails Fire Up Packed House

To 17-year-old Jacyn Smith, it was more than just an empty water bottle.

It was Trent Reznor's water bottle.

Smith, who plans to display the crumpled plastic bottle on his dresser or have it bronzed, was among the nearly 6,300 Nine Inch Nails fans who packed the Omaha Civic Auditorium last night for the Nails' first Omaha appearance in five years.

The band, especially the drumming of newest Nails member Jerome Dillon, was impeccable, and Reznor was a razor-sharp inferno.

"It was everything I could have expected," Smith said after the show. "It was like a fantasy. I'm not gonna sleep for three days."

A Perfect Circle, led by Maynard James Keenan of the band Tool, opened the show promptly at 8 p.m., with a 40-minute set that concluded with their current modern-rock hit single, "Judith."

"We're really here to see Maynard, but we like Nine Inch Nails, too," said 20-year-old Melissa Young, who drove to Omaha from Sioux City, Iowa, with friend Cory Nickles, 21.

As heavy cigarette smoke wafted to the rafters of the arena, baseball-cap and Nike-wearing frat boys mingled with brooding Goth girls clad in their best imitation leather pants and black mesh shirts.

The mostly teen-age and twentysomething crowd were not the only fans who yelled, clapped and cheered during the Nails' ambitious performance of industrial-flavored art rock.

Jim Goeken, who would only say he was "middle-aged," said he's been a Nine Inch Nails fan since he caught their raucous performance at the Woodstock music festival in 1994.

"Their music sounds creative compared to other music these days," Goeken said as he waited for the Nails to take the stage.

The Nails began their set at 9:20 p.m. opening with "Terrible Lie." Other highlights included "Head Like a Hole," "Wish," "Closer" and "The Wretched," from the band's 1999 double-CD release, "The Fragile" (Nothing/Interscope).

The show ended at 10:30 p.m., but the screaming fans beckoned Reznor for more by clapping furiously and chanting "Nine Inch Nails, Nine Inch Nails" over and over. To the audience's delight, the band graced the stage again with Reznor proclaiming his Omaha fans "the best audience so far."

The encore included songs from "The Fragile," including "The Day the World Went Away" and the band's newest single, "Starsuckers, Inc."

A single spotlight shone on Reznor as he ended the show with the song "Hurt," which capped a raging concert with an intimately serene touch.

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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.