Nine Inch Nails Chicago, IL 8/29/09
Ahh a Saturday NIN show and a road trip! I picked up Neehar about 10:00 AM and we headed to out of Indy bound for Chicago for the show. I had kept tabs on the prior day in regards to the lines and pre-sale info I needed so I could have a plan of attack. Neehar thought it best to just get in line as soon as we got there about 2:30, and as it turns out- great idea! I got sweet parking in the lot right next to the venue and we grabbed some food to eat in line and got to the nin.com pre-sale line at about 2:30. At that point we were about 100 people back or so, not to bad for being there 4 hours before doors. Highlight of the line stay: The guys behind us got hungry and actually ordered a pizza using one of the apartment buildings addresses behind us, the pizza guy rolled up and delivered it to them on the curb- classic!
They start handing out wristbands and tickets about 4:30 so after a frantic, last minute guest swap, we still had a few hours to wait. But once they started filing us in about 6:15 it was smooth as silk. We flash our wristbands and run up the stairs. At this point Neehar is over in the ticketbastard line as his name is on a different set of tickets and I get my +1 from the group of 7 we were with to go in as my guest. They segregate us into guys/girls and there were about 4 guys to each gal so the girls line just flew. I run up the stairs and ask a guy at one of the bars where the merchandise table is, since I heard the venue specific shirts went really fast the night before. I get down to the ground level and see a mere 2 people wrapping up at the merchandise table, I can hardly believe my eyes, I expected it to be slammed. I get my three shirts and tour poster and make my break for one of the center balcony areas, if any are left to be had. I get the last one on the end and stake my claim. The rest of the group finally gets in and up to the balcony and we are just chilling for the show to start.
As it has been the shows in recent years have just been impeccable in starting on time. Mew comes out and begins their set right on time. From my vantage point I can see the soundboard and the set list, looks as if there are 6 or 7 songs on it for Mew. Sadly, I respect them playing, but am not too into the set, lots of background imagery and backing tracks to the songs, and the way it was mixed they drown out the live playing and singing. I was wondering if it was a venue specific issue or "something else."
With a quick tear down and set changeover I start to hear the beginning notes of "Home" and go absolutely nuts.
2. The Beginning Of The End
5. March Of The Pigs
9. I'm Afraid Of Americans
11. Gave Up
12. La Mer
13. The Frail
14. I Do Not Want This
15. Gone, Still
16. Right Where It Belongs v2.0
17. The Way Out Is Through
19. Mr Self Destruct
22. The Good Soldier
23. Dead Souls
24. Reptile (with Peter Murphy)
25. Strange Kind Of Love / Bela Lugosi's Dead - Bauhaus covers with Peter Murphy
26. Final Solution - Pere Ubu cover with Peter Murphy
27. The Hand That Feeds
28. Head Like A Hole
They opened with "Home" on 5/30/09 in Indy and I loved it then and loved it again tonight. Breaking into "The Beginning Of The End" I'm just jamming. Trent and Co. came out firing once again and it seemed this would be one of those non-stop nights from the get-go. At the last verse of "The Beginning Of The End" I feel a tap on my shoulder and figure it is someone in my group needing something. I turn around to see a security guy telling me I need to sit down! My response "Are you fucking kidding me?" He says "No, people back here can't see" I said "Its a concert man, you can't honestly expect me to sit down" He launches into some bullshit about how these people paid for a ticket and they want to be able to see the show too. Mind you these people were SITTING DOWN. How the hell can you sit at a NIN show? The security guy kept on and on about me sitting and I told him "I'm not sitting down its a general admission show- these people could have sat anywhere they wanted, it isn't my fault they didn't get up to the balcony faster than someone else." I turned around and got back into the show, as one of my party members apparently decided to discuss it with him, and with her magic- the guy left. One of the other people in our group said she'd sit down in the chair on the front of the balcony so I just stood behind her. Back to the show. During all this shit I miss the end of "The Beginning Of The End" (Ironic isn't it, I heard the beginning, but not the end) and the first verse of "Survivalism" Rough and raw, love this song live and once again the band didn't disappoint. Follow that up with "Heresy" Holy shit! The crowd is loving it. This is the first song I can actually hear the crowd singing along so loud they are like a mass of 4,500 backup singers, all in perfect time. Gave me chills. "March of the Pigs" next and hands down- best time I have ever seen it performed live. Trent was into it big time! I read his nin.com post that he almost canceled this show due to illness, after witnessing MOTP, no one would have even guessed he had the slightest ill feelings prior to going on stage. Just tore it up! "Piggy" comes in next and once again Robin's playing is absolutely phenomenal. I got to hear a recording of Webster Hall, NY show and the whole night Robin was on fire (wish I was there to have witnessed that show) and "Piggy" was the track that really highlighted it for me, tonight- the same, very very well played. "Metal" is next and I think this song has been into rotation now long enough that people are starting to really get it. For a while, when "Metal" came on you'd hear a calmer crowd, not as many people knew the lyrics, and with this crowd, they ate it up, still singing back, it was stellar.
When "Ruiner" came on the place really lit up. Myself included, I'm fairly certain that my voice was totally blown out by the end of this song, it had become gravely by "Heresy", and "Ruiner" finished me off- Thank god it was so loud in there, my singing for the rest of the show would have sounded like nails on a chalkboard to anyone who could have heard it. The song has a deep-rooted meaning to me, so I continued to poor my guts out and give back everything that was being handed out on stage. Just as I'm trying to catch my breath " I'm Afraid Of Americans" starts. I was giddy as a schoolgirl on the inside. I've never been at a show where it was played live and all I can say is "WOW" friggin' awesome! At this point I'm dripping sweat, and in desperate need of something to drink. Even with a bar not 100 feet from me, I'm not going anywhere, for a second! And then "Burn" starts up. I'm so far in my zone at this point, the building could have imploded and as long as the music didn't stop, I wouldn't have even noticed! Absolutely, without a doubt, my highlight of the night, thus far. When the lyrics "I'm gonna burn this whole world down" hit and the lights were going to come up. I just threw my arms up and waited for the sound and the lights to just hit me like a train, it was glorious! Working into "Gave Up" the venue was just so alive, it was very similar to the 5/7/05 show at the Congress Theatre. The place was just electric.
"La Mer" starts and it is a much needed "breather" for me personally and I'm sure the band, I was just able to lean back against the post, put my hands on my head, enjoy the view and take it all in, while taking a few well deserved breaths. This leading into "The Frail" was very nice indeed, but the break wouldn't last too long, a beautiful aside, and then "I Do Not Want This" it appears we are ramping back up.. but it was a false start, in a sense. After another chance to kill my voice on ""I Do Not Want This" we are delivered "Gone, Still" "Right Where It Belongs v2.0" and "The Way Out Is Through" Beautifully played by all of the band. I'm not one to count the songs so at this point I'm hoping the evening didn't fly by and this was the end of the show. I lose all track of time, and I already feel exhausted, so I really anticipate nothing when attending shows. As it turns out. This is sort of like two concerts together. At the 17th song, you may very well imagine this was the end of the set, but on these last 10 dates, they have been like two concerts strung together and apparently we are just at the end of concert #1 and still have a second one to go. "Wish" starts and I'm wondering if the "second wave" of pain has begun followed up by "Mr Self Destruct" all but confirms it. Ripping through "Suck" "Echoplex" and "The Good Soldier" I get slightly out of my zone for a few seconds at a time to watch the floor- and man are they just banging down in the pit during this 5 song stand. Looked pretty brutal on Robin's side of the stage down in the pit. "Dead Souls" begins and it is always a song that is great pulled off live. Sort of a rarity for me, this was the first time I have ever seen it played live- and was thrilled to hear it!
Up next, the introduction of Peter Murphy and I hear "Reptile" start. Still my favorite live song ever, I have been graced with luck of some kind to hear this song at the majority of the shows I've been too, and I have been blown away every time. The intensity of the song, live, has never been duplicated on a standard audio recording and I thought "Yes! Last show ever? And I get "Reptile" again!" But it quickly faded. I know Trent has great respect for Peter, but I got to say, he murdered the song. At one point it sounded as if the band was stopping and trying to replay part of the song because it had been botched lyrically so much.. the band tried to help, but sadly, it was a train wreck. I'll gratefully work to forget this "version" and work to focus on all the other times it has destroyed me in the past. "Strange Kind of Love" and "Final Solution" ehh, I just wasn't digging it, at all. I took the opportunity to get that hydration I needed about 13 songs ago.. it really kind of put a damper on the flow of the show and screwed the flow up really bad for me personally. After Peter's departure "The Hand That Feeds" just made everything alright. "The Hand That Feeds" is one of those songs that I love the live performance much more than the studio version for some reason.. it just translates live wonderfully and is always played to perfection. "Head Like A Hole" comes on and I hear about 3 people saying "Alright, he's going to start playing Pretty Hate Machine start to finish- kick ass!" But it was great to dream, if any of us could have actually survived that. I'm not sure about anyone else, but I sure as hell should have eaten an extra bowl of Wheaties before I went to this show. I was not physically prepared for a 29 song show, I saw set lists of prior shows and knew it was coming, but I was just not physically prepared for such a run. I give Trent and the band a vote of undying gratitude for doing this 10 times in a row.. Seriously! I'm fairly certain it would kill me. We end our journey with "Hurt" the crowd is singing along, once again, with fierce admiration and appreciation. Neehar leans over to me and says "Wait until he gets to the lyric- I am still right here" and I didn't say a word.. I knew he was right.. I anticipated that very thing as well, and when those lyrics arrived, the roar of the crowd was chill inducing. It was a beautiful and fitting end of the road in Chicago.
Is this the end? By all accounts.. I have witnessed my final Nine Inch Nails show ever. Sad as it is, nothing can take away the experiences I have had, the shows I have been privy to witness, the emotions felt and the gratitude for Trent, and every musician that has brought his vision to life on a stage. Night after night, show after show, the dedication to their craft- by band and every crew member that has ever touched a road case with a NIN logo on it! For all mentioned above, The NIN Historian site would not exist- for with no NIN, there would be no shows, there would be no tours.. thus it could not exist. I wish everyone involved the very best in the future, whatever the road taken, whatever the "next" destination of life is to come... I speak for many people when I say "THANK YOU for it all!"
Pit: Not Down In It (But it looked Brutal)