I woke up at 4 am on the 12th of april. I got into my car with three friends at 5am and crossed the vast wasteland that is Pennsylvania. Literally, from one boarder to the other, from Easton to Trent's very own Mercer we went. 8 hours later I'm getting my bags and my car taken away from me by the doorman at the Ritz in Cleveland. Hell, if you're gonna go, you might as well go in style.
What happens when we walk into the lobby? We run into Charlie. The synth player. The doorman smiles to us and he knows why we're there. We sign in. We rest. We go to an incredible show. We went that far to see NIN because we thought that APC wouldn't come any closer to us. We were positive that they only announced those first dates because the opening act would change. Maynard doesn't cross the Mississippi often, he likes California too much. Cleveland was the closest they'd be coming, and I'd be damned if I was going to miss Maynard and Trent on the same stage. After seeing Trent my first time when I was 14 and experiencing Maynard 3 times....I used to say that the Coolest thing that would ever happen would be to see those two artists on stage together. It was happening, and the closest it was probably going to happen was 8 hours away. So we went.
And the MP3 collecting of APC songs was worth it. I had a General Admission ticket that was hell to get to begin with, and I was right up there watching Maynard. I could read his lips and finally tell what he was saying. They played nearly all the songs off their up coming album. And then Trent came on. It was wild, and he worked the crowd just like Floyd. Tension and relaxation... breath and asphyxiation. His pause during "starfuckers" nearly killed the crowd. He smirked and they went wild. That had to be the Moment of the concert. It was incredible, he worked the crowd like he knew exactly what we wanted. And doesn't he?
We got some songs they'd never played before, and he said he may never play them again. I'm seeing them two more times. I'll find out if he liked playing them that night or not. But no matter what, it was fantastic.
But not as fantastic as rolling into the hotel at 4:30 am. (Or maybe it was.) "Danielle, that's trent reznor!" "No it's not, shuttup." "D..Look!" "Holy Shit!" We climbed out of the car, gave in the keys to the valet. I remember walking around the lobby thinking "I can't interrupt him, that's too rude." But I wanted to at least shake his hand. I wanted to at least tell him that someone appreciates his artwork even if he gets shit from local media and critics. Finally he's getting some acclaim, and we're still here, listening to him and in adoration and awe of his work.
We go up the elevator with a few roadies. We cross to the next group of elevators. Danielle hits the button to go up to our rooms, and i look at her and it's as simple as this. "I'm not going up there to miss shaking his hand. This is too lucky to pass up." So we talk to the roadies a moment. They sashay over, think we might do a little more than talk. The elevator opens, and out steps Trent.
I got to shake his hand, got to talk a while. I barely remember it, I remember a firm handshake a 'thank you' and genuine eyecontact. He's so sincere. They were everything I thought they'd be. And more. Who needs to tame a meeting like that with details? One time I'll run into Maynard too. Maybe ask Him out for a drink.
Those two days at the ritz were filled with running into the band all over the shopping area near the ritz. We ran into Charlie and Robin several times. Who'd have ever thought we'd be sitting on the side of a fountain, drinking a soda while Trent Reznor walks by, a J.Crew store behind him, and gives you a smile.
Trade mark moment. We were the only one's wearing sunglasses in the mall.