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2005.10.02

[Wrap_Up & Review]

First off folks, my apologies for the sudden drop out in updates. Dierdre's on Paris time and had to sleep, and then my cell phone died right after Autolux took the stage. Suffice to say, for all of your burgeoning mobloggers out there, remember the golden rule: bring extra fucking batteries.

My last few updates as I had typed them:

7:45pm
FUCK INTERPOL. Autolux is the new king of art rock. How anybody could find them boring is beyond me.

*************************

9:01pm
Queens of the Stone Age are done. Meh.

They're a frustrating band -- they're so technically talented, and Homme is an agreeable personality, but you get the sense he's just A Guy Playing Some Songs About Some Stuff. There's nothing personal in his music whatsoever, and for a cat that claims to be blues-influenced, shouldn't he be putting himself into the music?

9:21pm
"Pinion". "Love Is Not Enough". JEROME IS BEHIND THE KIT!!!!!!!!!!!

*************************


Obviously, dear readers, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to my phone after that point.

I have to say, it was a better show than I was anticipating --- and I was anticipating a pretty wonderful set. Though the first show at the Cox Arena I was at had started out strong, this was something different. Trent bounded across the stage, simply full of fucking joy to finally get to be playing a show with his real band, not with any replacements, it seemed. The crowd knew every song, was passionate, and drank it up.

Having seen Nine Inch Nails some 8 times now, I've had the fortune to watch Trent and Co. perform in all sorts of different venues -- from festivals to clubs to arenas to amphitheatres. And after tonight, I think one thing is quite certain: Nine Inch Nails is not a club band, and they never will be. They are an art band, and should always present themselves as such. Yes, the raw visceral power of the shows earlier this year was incredible to behold, but with full production like this -- gorgeous front-projection sequences during "eraser", "right where it belongs", and "beside you in time"; an even greater and more intricate expanse of LCD panels -- they really shine. It ceases to become simply "a band playing their songs" and it becomes a truly immersive emotional experience, one that feeds upon itself, with the band and audience giving equally.

Trent's comment the other day about needing a good audience is simple fact. What they do in this kind of tour requires your participation.

But oh, the great rewards of it all. You know in really maudlin novels, when a character's on the verge of tears the author will always says that "Beatrice's lower lip trembled" or "quivered"? Claire Danes did that a lot in "My So-Called Life", but it's never something I myself had ever done -- until tonight.

Oh, dear readers... I wish I could share with you the experience of seeing "Right Where It Belongs" live for the first time tonight. The arrangement seemed to be a darker variation of the "v2" found on the [With_Teeth] Japanese import, and was accompanied by a montage of different footage -- smiling masses, the victims of war -- with Trent's lone singing visage piercing through the imagery from behind the screen.

I know this is going to sound rather Dierdre of me, but I'm being honest here you guys: I cried. Not dramatic pay-attention-to-me tears, but a private set of quiet, slowly sliding tears.

Hearing the song live, and in the context of this kind of crowd, utterly transformed its meaning. On record, "Right Where It Belongs" is clearly about somebody taking stock of their life, and realizing they are the ones that are empowered to give themselves the life they want -- to put everything, as it were, right where it belongs. But by taking this song, which works on such a micro/internal level, and casting it out upon such a macro stage; it becomes something much different.

With the projected imagery, Trent was clearly trying to push it to be another call to arms about the state of the world (the imagery features carnivores preying on weak birds, flashes of money and laughing "corporate types", and even footage of a dancing George and Laura Bush). This was unfortunate, I felt, because "RWIB" will never be a song about politics, and to brand it as such is to rob it of its most elemental strength: basic honesty. However, what did happen -- whether by accident or alchemy -- was that the song suddenly became a love letter to hope. About realizing that there IS good in this world; rays of light peeking out from around the corners of the darkness, and that it is this hope we must hold on to with all the might we can muster, for it is the very thing that will see us out of the dark times we can so often feel mired in.

There were a few missteps tonight, however -- "Burn" was placed poorly, sapping the energy that "Terrible Lie" and previous songs had built up, and the arrangement of "Only" didn't quite work either. Perhaps they'd overthought it trying to turn the song into a viable drums n' guitars tune, but it just didn't have that fun disco bounce that makes the studio version so enjoyable. Additionally, the last five songs felt like repeating the same emotional note a few too many times -- this most likely was due to the new exclusion of both "Deep" and "Down In It", two tracks whose presence I think would have greatly helped the last act of the show. "Not So Prety Now" was also a no-show.

And finally, the closer -- "Head Like a Hole". We know it, we love it, it's a great song that we all listen to constantly. But the guys are tired of it, we can tell, and I think we're a little tired of hearing it live too. I think "HLAH" should take a vacation for a while, even if only to remind us how much we love it in the first place.

All in all, it was a brilliant evening, and the performance of "Right Where It Belongs" was by far the mosy powerful moment of any NIN show I've seen this year, perhaps ever (yes, even besting The Bestowment of The Chalice). Seeing the band tonight was like watching a great painter (re)discover the pallete that best suits his particular vision, and begin working passionately in those colors. Yes, there were misstrokes, and there will be growing pains as things evolve, but at the same time, it's the beginning of a total reclaiming of Reznor's artistic prowess.

Back in his hands. Right where it belongs.

Posted by Gabriel in live_inch_nails | Permalink

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Comments

Uh, Gabriel? Is that you?

I am so jealous.

Posted by: Jane | Oct 2, 2005 6:36:34 AM

Thanks for the review Gab. I'm very excited about my Nov. shows. Even more so now!
PS. I hope Jerome is truly okay, and didn't go against doc's orders last night.

Posted by: bex | Oct 2, 2005 8:52:11 AM

Except for reminding me of the painful "chalice" episode, this was a pretty good review. I'm getting pretty excited for my show next weekend.

I'm kind of annoyed that he's playing "Burn" instead of "Dead Souls," as he was wont to do in the small club tour that I wasn't able to see. Of course, if he's going to devote any portion of the evening to a soundtrack song, I would want it to be "The Perfect Drug," but I know better than to expect that.

I love that you referenced "My So-Called Life."

Posted by: maise | Oct 2, 2005 9:27:20 AM

"Burn" rules, Maise. It kicks "Burning Souls" ass. Really, you won't be sorry.

JMHO.

Posted by: Jane | Oct 2, 2005 9:34:53 AM

I think I just have a mental block against "Burn" because I HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE "Natural Born Killers."

That movie fucking BLOWS.

Posted by: maise | Oct 2, 2005 9:57:24 AM

You know, I think I'd die, quite happily, if Trent decided to play The Day The World Went Away... I've been thinking about what my ideal setlist would be, and TDTWWA is definitely on there, hah.

Posted by: Kim | Oct 2, 2005 10:04:55 AM

Maise, "Natural Born Killers" is the worst, most reprehensible piece of shit in the history of cinema. However, Trent's soundtrack, and "Burn" totally kick ass. Jane is right that it's so much better than him covering "Burning Souls".

Also, JMHO.

Posted by: Dierdre | Oct 2, 2005 10:19:41 AM

Man, I hope Detroit gets "Reptile" and "Suck" back-to-back. And he needn't worry about Detroit being a shitty audience, 'cause we fucking GIVE IT UP. Especially since we didn't get a club date.

Posted by: emerald527 | Oct 2, 2005 10:26:29 AM

Um, Trent covering "Burning Souls"? I much prefer when he coveres "Echoing the Sound" of "Nailed Online" myself.

Jane, "Dead Souls" is the Joy Division song Trent covers from The Crow; "Burning Souls" is an online messageboard, you NINcompoop.

And Kim, I am SO WITH YOU on "TDTWWA" -- it's definitely my favorite nine inch nails song, and I really hope they add it to the set list before the San Diego make up show.

Thanks for the kind words everyone --- please write in and let us know about your concert experiences as you see the band over the next couple months!

Posted by: Gabriel | Oct 2, 2005 10:29:27 AM

wow, Gabriel. I'm impressed. You actually managed to dig yourself out of the pit of hate and schoolyard pandering to write a review that's worthy of...dare I say it...the Voice? You may even have some speck of journalistic integrity left in you...needless to say I'm quite impressed with your review. And I'm looking forward to reading other reviews of the various shows, with (!!!) or without [:'( ] Jerome. BTW I totally agree about HLAH. End with something else already, dude...

Posted by: Buttercup_J | Oct 2, 2005 11:05:45 AM

Hi, i readed this while looking about where it belong to get some info about this song. I saw NIN perform in Montreal 3 days ago. They did right where it belong same as you and ... no word are powerfull enough to express that song i feel... damn. Many poeple cry too got totally lost.

Posted by: gohabsgo | Nov 15, 2005 2:07:00 AM

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