Nine Inch Nails delivers bang-up show
Nihilist-rock gods Nine Inch Nails,
iconoclast Trent Reznor, played the final show of
v2.0 Tour" in front of 9,656 appreciative fans at
Sunday night. The tour, NIN's first North American
road trip in five
years, promoted the 1999 double-CD, "The Fragile"
Nihilism, if you slept through philosophy class,
essentially holds that
nothingness/nonexistence is the ultimate reality.
include loneliness, despair, self-loathing and the
finality of death,
all wrapped in an anti-everything attitude. But while
sang/screamed such cheerless lyrics as "I hate
myself" and "I don't
care anymore," NIN at The Can wasn't a heady seminar.
It was an
arena-rock concert - and a fine one at that, with
inventive use of
lights and other visuals.
In addition to selections
Fragile," Nine Inch Nails
"March of the Pigs" and
from the highly regarded
"Downward Spiral" CD as
"Gave Up" from the 1992 EP
"Broken." Musically, the
delivered a tight,
machine-gun sonic barrage
hard-edged material like
crowd fave) and "Terrible
A consummate performer skilled in theatrics, Reznor
under silhouette lighting on the hit "Closer." On
"Sin," from 1989's
"Pretty Hate Machine," Reznor desperately clung to
the back of
lead guitarist Robin Finck, then shoved him off the
stage and into
the audience, where Finck crowdsurfed as fans roared
Reznor managed to change his look over the course of
Reznor initially wore ghoulish white face paint plus
and heavy eye makeup, but his penchant for dousing
bottles of spring water soon washed away the
cosmetics and left
the dark-haired, muscular, good-looking star sporting
the wet look,
with the front of his shirt and tight pants totally
soaked by the end
of the show.
On Nine Inch Nails' records, Reznor plays nearly all
At Pepsi Center, Reznor frequently performed on
guitar ("The Day
the World Went Away") and keyboards ("The Frail"),
and he played
bass on a couple of hard-driving jams.
Live, Nails features four musicians besides Reznor,
drummer Jerome Dillon, who deftly handled complex
changes on "La Mer," and multi-instrumentalist Danny
split his time between keyboards, bass and guitar.
NIN CDs are noted for their continuity - one track
right into the next. The Nails took that approach in
playing songs in rapid-fire succession. Of course,
that didn't leave
Reznor much time for chit-chat between tunes. In
fact, he rarely
spoke to the crowd, and when he did at the start of
the nihilist spoke in a melancholy tone.
"This is the last day of the tour and we're all kind
of weirded out
about it. Thanks for being there for us," Reznor said
to the crowd.
One logical conclusion of nihilistic philosophy is
the end of the main set, someone onstage emptied a
water all over Lohner's electronic keyboard as he
then yanked the instrument off its stand and smashed
things, breaking the keyboard into pieces. A little
later, on "Head
Like a Hole," Reznor smacked his guitar into his mic
stand - more
bits of things went flying - while Dillon knocked
over his drum kit.
Despite its bleak outlook, nihilism doesn't require
end badly, unhappily or violently. When Nine Inch
encore concluded with the relatively soft (for NIN)
held lighters in the air and swayed as Reznor used
breaks to convey his emotions.
It turns out NIN are nice guys, if we're to believe
Keenan, lead singer of opening band A Perfect Circle
(and also of
Tool). "We're an opening act," Keenan said to the
complimenting the Nails. "They didn't have to treat
us well (on the
tour), but they did."
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is provided courtesy Keith Duemling and Tracy Thompson from the collection previously
located at SUS.