Nine Inch Nails Chicago, IL 5/6/05
Yellow Pass Day
I was lucky enough to go to see NIN on both nights in Chicago on 5/6/05 and 5/7/05. Both nights were amazing. What a day, my wife and I get up and head for Chicago at 9:00 AM. I have cell numbers of a bunch of folks we are looking to meet up with. The phone starts ringing about 2 hours outside Chicago. We get just into Chicago proper and siNNer calls. I have to "co-pilot" through downtown Chicago so I get off the phone. Upon our check-in siNNer and Mike are sitting in our hotel lobby. We decide to grab some food prior to heading over to the Congress and siNNer and Mike leave from grub to hail a cab to the venue. We head back to the hotel to grab a change of clothes and a nap for Amy. We head for the venue at about 4:00 and it is off to meet Ggina and siNNer in line in front of the Congress!
We stand in line for a few hours and the line starts to move into the venue at 6:00 so in we go. Upon a virtually non-existant pat down, we hit the merchandise table and drop $110 in 10 seconds. Only to realize that we are now sitting in a sea of people waiting to "rush" the stage. We wait until 6:30 and the rush is on. After we arrive in the pit we all find only 1/3 of it is filled. I know I feel like an idiot at this point! Even still you have people starting to slightly push and jockey for position and the only people on stage are the crew setting up.
The Dresden Dolls hit the stage on time and I am about 3 "rows" out from the rail. I had listened to some DD songs off their website and wanted to give them a fair shake when I got to see them live, as I really didn't like their studio recordings. Let me say, having the bass drum kick about 6 feet from my chest, I have to admit they blew me away. Their timing and showmanship was flawless and I actually enjoyed myself quite a bit during their set. They covered Black Sabbath's "War Pigs"-they should END their set with this song. If they had any doubters- this song converted quite a few. I was thoroughly impressed with their rendition! All I can say is Brian is a madman on Drums. He absolutely owned them; I was very impressed with his skills!
About 15 minutes for a set change and NIN bursts onto the stage. "The Frail/Wretched" starts the crowd off right and sets the tone for the show, at the same moment the crowd goes from excited to downright violent and brutal. The surge rushes in and people are near suffocation in less than 2 minutes. I'm in a full locked wrist triangle stance with my feet planted shoulder width apart. I have some bitch screaming "This motherfucker is like 6 feet tall and I'm 5'1" he can see and I want to get up there. Since I won't let her past she starts pinching my elbow and arm and soon catches that elbow somewhere into her body. I realize that I'm not paying to deal with this shit, my wife is getting smothered and we head out of the pit. With being fully turned around and facing a mass of about 500 people, Assholes still won't let us by. I just started yelling "FUCKING MOVE, THERE IS MORE ROOM AT THE FRONT IF YOU GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY WAY" and just kept plowing. It took us about 15 "rows" of bodies before people just moved and it "broke." We head out and up to the concession stand to get some water. Another fan and his wife are right behind us in the same situation. He has a freshly split lip from less than 2 minutes down inside. His sentiments and mine are the same. I have been in many pits in my life and this by far was the worst! Zero common courtesy, I'm sure it didn't help that their were bars set up on both sides of the pit so that bored assholes were able to go get hammered while waiting for the show to start and during the Dresden Dolls Set.
We quickly collect our thoughts and come up with a plan of attack. I said "Let's head for the soundboard, the sound will be the best in the venue there, so off we go! Just as we get back inside "You Know What You Are" kicks in and about 15 seconds into the song- everything shuts down. The soundboard had an issue and at this point engineers are scrambling like mad to solve the problem, the house lights come up and the pit from my view looked as if it got even worse. People booing and chanting "Bullshit" repeatedly. One of the crew came out and told the crowd something to the effect of "We're sorry about the delay, we really want to put on the show tonight and we appreciate your patience" to which he was promptly showered with boos.
About 30 minutes pass and problem is resolved. The band steps back out onstage, Trent slings his guitar on, appears to be REALLY pissed off and explodes into "Wish." It appears that soon from the reaction of the crowd that he let go of being pissed off and fed off the pure energy of the crowd. The crowd was really electric; the atmosphere in the Congress was unreal! It had to have been the loudest 2800 people on the planet. Trent was ON tonight; I felt he was having fun with the crowd, made quite a few ad-libs about the "fuck-up" and being back.
The show overall was stellar. Non-stop energy. The highlights for me were definitely this 3-song stretch:
Big Come Down
At the end of it I felt as if I had been handed my ass! And it felt GOOD!
Reptile- To hear that industrial grind, live and in person, feeling of the song immersing you in sound and the pure performance genius on stage of a song that has much meaning to me made this a tough one to follow!
Big Come Down- Probably still riding the wave of awe from "Reptile" this song melds into the mix perfectly and continues the beating. I am still keeping pace screaming every lyric back as each word in the song is sung.
Gave Up- Finishes me off. I'm so damn exhausted after this song, from screaming every lyric, and jumping up and down I have to put my hands on my knees to catch my breath and have a momentary feeling of "hell no- I can't stop now!"
Another highlight for me was the performance of "Hurt." Just Trent spotted in a single purple spotlight, with the crowd singing right back to him and smiles from Trent. He looked to be having an excellent time up there and was glad the crowd was so into the show!
Sound: I have heard many a people complain about the sound at this show/venue. If you were in the Pit- I have no idea what you could or could not hear- but up by the soundboard, the sound was perfectly balanced, music was full, mix was damn near perfect! Lighting was timed perfectly in line with the music and the view of the lightshow (although obviously not as large in scale as Fragility Arena tour because of venue space limitations) was very cool!
The show wraps with "Head Like a Hole" and Trent diving into the drum kit after about 95 minutes of pure unadulterated passion!
1.Beside You In Time Intro
2. The Frail/Wretched
3. You Know What You Are? (Abandoned)
5. March of the Pigs
6. The Line Begins to Blur
8. Terrible Lie
11. With Teeth
14. The Big Come Down
15. Gave Up
16. The Day The World Went Away
19. The Hand That Feeds
20. Head Like a Hole
The crowd tonight quickly realizes the show is over and heads for the doors. Security begins to sweep up the pit that is littered with lithographs that didn't make it, shirts, shoes, water bottles and cups. I strike up a conversation with a fellow fan back by the soundboard whose girlfriend managed to get an aftershow pass but he was without one. After about 15 minutes security is pushing everyone out the door.
We find Ggina and decide to grab some much needed food down the street at the Congress Pizzaria and just reel from the night we just had. After eats we hailed a cab and headed back to the hotel for some much needed rest to get ready to do it all over again tomorrow!