By Jeffrey Brown
Below is my review of the Grand Rapids, MI show. I've also included a set list & OFFICIAL event times (these were taken from the Van Andel sheets... they're the same times as posted in Detroit so they'll be the same for all shows - I went to Detroit too but this isn't acomparison!) Please also note that merchandise pricing here is CORRECT. Prices DIFFERED from Detroit.
OFFICIAL EVENT TIMES
The doors for Fragility v2.0 opened at 7:15. Upon entry into the arena, Recoilís CD was playing and A Perfect Circleís set was visible. It consisted of a curtain, which featured an oversized version of their logo illuminating on it, and a small area of stage packed with equipment. At 8:00 the lights went out and A Perfect Circle walked on stage and immediately began playing their set (described by frontman Maynard as being about the process of healing and forgiveness), which was synchronized to a "light show". The band had been heavily promoted in the Grand Rapids area and, as a result, was well received. Maynard, who is from Michigan, told the crowd "there are three generations of [my family] represented here today." After A Perfect Circleís performance, a black curtain was lowered to cover the entire stage.
About a half-hour after the conclusion of A Perfect Circleís performance (and a half-hour more of Recoil), a pre-recorded segment of Pinion began blasting, the lights turned off and the black curtain was lifted to reveal a white one. NIN began playing Somewhat Damaged silhouette-style behind this curtain. After the song was completed, the curtain was lifted, revealing NIN. NINís set had a dark feeling; everything was black, smoke rose from the stage and the lighting was kept dim. Instruments, each on their own perch, and revolving spotlight-style lights were scattered across the stage. Huge, moveable metal beams consisting of lights were on the left and right side of the stage. Three huge LCD panels (titled downward at this point) hung from the ceiling. NIN continued the show with Terrible Lie.
During most of the concert it seemed like NIN was putting on two different shows: one for old material and one for new material. The show for the old material seemed reminiscent of The Downward Spiral promotional tours (The Downward Spiral Album Release Tour, Self Destruct Tour, Further Down the Spiral Tour and The Outsiders Tour). The versions of the old material (Terrible Lie, Sin, March of the Pigs, Piggy, Gave Up, Wish and Stuck) resembled the live versions performed during The Downward Spiral promotional tours, as did the stage performance (e.g. aggressiveness, energy, throwing of water bottles, smashing instruments, etc) and light show (although it was more superior than previous versions) synchronized to the music.
The versions of material from The Fragile (The Frail, The Wretched, The Big Come Down, La Mer, The Great Below, The Mark Has Been Made, Complication) paralleled the album versions. The lighting show and the aggressive stage performance were virtually non-existent. They were replaced with high-quality video (beginning with La Mer) shown on three LCD panels.
Closer was the first old material song to feature NINís aggressive stage tactics, the superb lighting show and the LCD panels. But instead of showing video, the LCD panels showed variations of the color red that would move to the beat of the music. The synthesizers and Reznorís vocals updated the sound of Closer completely. Head Like A Hole paralleled Closer, with the color blue replacing the color red on the LCD panels. Head Like A Hole was the first (and only) song the crowd got into the entire night.
Before the encore Trent Reznor said "there must be something special about Michigan... Detroit was our favorite show so far and Grand Rapids is up there,too."
NINís encore (The Day the World Went Away, Just Like You Imagined, Starfuckers, Inc., Hurt) was unable to keep the crowd attention earned from Closer/Head Like A Hole. Gone were the aggressive stage tactics and the LCD panels. However, a superb lighting show replaced these elements (especially during Just Like You Imagined). The show concluded with a strobe-like effect of white lights.
At the show there was a vast array of NIN and A Perfect Circle merchandise. The cheapest was a $5 sticker (an assortment of NIN/A Perfect Circle stickers was available) and the most expensive was $75 black shorts. NIN/A Perfect Circle short-sleeved shirts were $30; NIN designs included a black shirt that said "Nine Inch Nails: The Fragile" in blue/white lettering around a blue/white design, a black shirt with the nothing logo, a white shirt with a Fragile design on the front and tour cities on the back under a Fragility v.2.0 heading, and a black shirt with a NIN logo on the front and tour cities on the back under the heading "Fragility v2.0: Where the Fuck Were You; A Perfect Circle designs included white/black shirts with variations of the A Perfect Circle logo. There was one $45 long-sleeved shirt with the NIN logo over the heading "Too Fucked Up to Care Anymore: Fragility v2.0 World Tour." Merchandise depicting The Fragile design included a $12 backstage pass style ticket holder, a $9 poster and notebooks. There was also gothic-style but non-NIN/A Perfect Circle merchandise available including a belt and backpack.
On a scale of 1 to 10, Fragility v2.0 earns a 9. It combines NINís old and new in a stylish fashion, but overall the show is much mellower than pervious NIN outings. At the Grand Rapids show NIN seemed a little rusty... Somewhat Damaged sounded awkward at points, as did several other songs.. Reznor fell down during the beginning of March of the Pigs (right after saying "step right up") and assumed the band would wait for him to play but they didnít and he said "march" while they were playing the chorus... It was also hard to make out Complication. I didnít know what the hell they were playing for awhile... The crowd was small but I hear thatís typical of Grand Rapids. They never seemed to be really into the show, but thatís probably because of its mellow nature (including both A Perfect Circle and NINís set lists). But Iím that crowdís reaction doesnít make or break the show; NINís performance does. And it was superb.