[Review text by maise, AWESOME videos by Iris--check out all links, they're worth it!]
Well, friends, for reasons I will explain shortly, I'm still MORTALLY OFFENDED by Gabriel, the so-called revolutionary, and I WILL have my revenge, but first things first. Let's go back to happier days, shall we? Days when the WTC'ers admired elaborate cream-colored Baroque buildings, when we conquered yet another European public transportation system, when we were charmed by every Austrian we met, when Gabriel inadvertently ordered white sausages and discovered that they were good, when I finally lived my personal European dream and ate Apfelstrudel in Vienna...sigh. [Would anyone in Vienna like to adopt me? I can speak German halfway decently, and I will work for pastry. Schicken Sie mir eine Email, bitte!]
On our second day in this lovely city, we were concerned about Dierdre, who was suffering from a migraine (and having suffered through a migraine while riding on a train from Rome to Pompeii, I can assure you that being in an exciting European location does not make this condition any easier to endure), and we were a bit baffled by Trent's performance the evening before. Although from where I was sitting, the 3/29 show sounded perfect, those down in the pit were concerned that Trent's performance was rather mechanical and half-hearted. Well, we now know that there happened to be a number of upsetting personal issues for Trent that could have contributed to this perception, but since we weren't aware of any of these, we just blamed the whole thing on Rob Sheridan and his nefarious Trentbot, which we presumed he invented after the real Trent fell into a coma and was hidden somewhere in an underground vault in Iceland. Trentbot, you see, would keep the NIN machine going in Trent's absence and would ensure that Rob could continue to get laid. That was the theory, anyway. We found the idea of another Trentbot performance distressing, but we hoped for the best as we rode the U-Bahn to the Gasometer that evening.
I need to give props to whoever transformed the Gasometer from an actual gas tank into a mall/concert venue. The acoustics are (to my untrained ghostly ear) fantastic, and the security staff could not be any more efficient and polite. They detected every lit cigarette in the crowd and ensured its extinguishment, and if anyone was causing trouble in the pit, he/she was hoisted out immediately. If you asked them questions, you received a considerate answer. I didn't even feel manhandled during my pat-down on the way in and was complimented on my German on top of it. Delightful! The venue is small and intimate, and even when we arrived perhaps only half an hour or so before the show, we could still get close to the stage. In fact, the only thing keeping me from being only a few rows away from Trent was my claustrophobia. So on 3/30, I was hanging out by the sound board, approximately 10 feet away from Rob Sheridan most of the evening, who is kind of shorter and skinnier than I had imagined. It actually was kind of interesting to observe all the work going on at the sound board, but since you're more interested in video footage of Trent with a tambourine, I'll move on.
The evening began, of course, with Ladytron, who really impressed me on both nights. Previously, I had only been aware of their music via this fanfiction horror, but even then, I wondered, "Who does this catchy song?" There is a part of me that wishes I were a member of Ladytron, with an impenetrable coolness and a super-cute bob, but alas! That will never be me. Give me a moment to weep over my messy house, tedious day-job with looming deadlines, and the 10 pounds I need to lose pronto.
Okay. On to NIN! Check out the setlist, everyone! It was VERY exciting to hear so much from The Downward Spiral, especially "Heresy" and "The Becoming," (see below) both of which I had always wanted to hear live. Check out Trent busting out the um...electric coconut for "Piggy." There was a funny moment for me personally, as during the major Downward Spiral portion of the setlist at the beginning of the show, I saw the guys at the soundboard literally run out of the room with some computer screen. They returned during "Last," so I thought to myself, "Oh no, the Trentbot must have gotten stuck in Downward Spiral-mode!"
But luckily for us, Trentbot was nowhere to be found, and we got the REAL Trent Reznor, in all of his fist-fucking glory. Those who were in the pit said that the difference between the shows on 3/29 and 3/30 was like night and day, which is heartening news. One would hate to think that Trent was mortally afflicted with ennui. Other highlights for me that night included "Last," "Mr. Self Destruct," and "Get Down, Make Love." Oh, and I totally enjoyed inappropriate WHOO-ing during "La Mer." What is with that? Makes me wonder if back in the day, there were those who heard the first notes of the "Moonlight Sonata" and screamed, "WHOOOO! OMG, LUDWIG, I LOVE YOU! C-SHARP MINOR, YEAH!"
Unfortunately, Trent is still encouraging dorky clapping during "March of the Pigs."
So, yeah. We were rocked. We were rocked hard. Oh, and JR? Gabriel had to buy a new shirt afterwards because his was completely soaked through with l'orangerie sweat. I'm sure if you had asked, he could have wrung his shirt out into your open, waiting mouth and then slapped you in the face with it a couple of times. Oh, but you weren't there, were you? Pity.
I shall leave you all with what you all REALLY want--footage of Trent rocking the fucking tambourine like the naughty girl's Davy Jones. Enjoy!
Are you sick, Sparklepants?
I swear, this Thursday night, in Vienna, I saw something I never thought I would ever see at a rockshow helmed by your beautiful, volcanic genius: a robotic performance.
I swear, when you humped the microphone, during some song, the name of which I can't even remember, I wondered if I was seeing some kind of animatronic Trent-bot up there. Faces, movements, whines and moans all coming out like fucking clockwork. About halfway through the show, I felt like *I*, on the fucking RAIL, was going through the motions of being stoked.
Trent, baby? Nothing can stop me from loving you forever, but can you tell me why it's necessary to besmirch my beautiful memories of how raw, glorious, and heart-rending "Eraser" was when you sang it like you meant it? I felt like there were sparks of awesome during "Last", "Ruiner", and "Survivalism", and you turned in a totally professional rockshow performance, with no tangible reason to actually complain... except that something just seemed... off. You just seemed a million miles away.
That's not like you, baby. Take care of yourself, ok?
Just so you know where I'm coming from, my first-ever NIN concert was on 3_20_06, in Pensacola, FL. Houston was my second. There were some significant differences between these 2 shows, so I can't help making comparisons.
I had reserved seats on the left side of the stage, about 3 rows behind the pit in Houston. The seats were great for a close-up view of Trent, but I had a big stack of amps blocking my view every once in a while.
TV on the Radio came out promptly at 7:00. I thought their performance was good, but the crowd wasn't really into them. Their set lasted about 30 minutes. Bauhaus came out shortly after that. They were really fucking great, and "older, British, and better looking" (according to Peter Murphy himself). Peter even came over to our side of the stage, and looked me straight in the eyes... which totally made me a bigger Bauhaus fan.
Thirty minutes after the Bauhaus set, this big metal grate was lowered. It was like a curtain of metal bars divided into 5 or 6 free-standing segments. I didn't realize until later in the show that these bars lit up.
Nine Inch Nails entered the stage from behind the metal bars on the right side while the house lights were still on, so we could watch them walking on - very fucking cool. They opened with "Somewhat Damaged". My viewpoint was at an angle, so I couldn't see Trent very clearly through the bars (I mean, I could see him, but not as clearly as if I had a straight-forward view). But, then he started shoving his big arms in between the bars and grabbing on to them, screaming "too fucked up to care anymore!" It was INCREDIBLY hot. It just tapped into some little, tiny bondage-type relation in my mind. Plus, it totally reminded me of the Wish video. The other guys were pushing and knocking against the bars too, so each segment would swing out, and I could catch brief views of Trent completely unobstructed by the metal.
Near the beginning of the show... I know it's hard to see
but that's Trent, screaming into the mic!
Later on during the performance (I don't remember which song), only the middle segment of bars was lowered behind Trent. For the first time, the bars light up - little red lights running all over the bars in a pattern that looked like rain right over Trent's head.
Trent was wearing the black t-shirt with the red military stripes on the sleeves, black shorts, & boots. His hair has grown out a bit; it's not completely shaved anymore, thank god. Josh started out the show with a bushy white mustache and eyebrows, but they were gone by the second or third song.
Overall this performance seemed more aggressive, compared to Pensacola. Trent didn't say much to us that night, just "Thank you" and "Goodnight." He also had very little interaction (i.e. touching) with the crowd. Last time I saw him, he was making speeches between songs and getting down into the crowd during Piggy (which they didn't play in Houston). I'm not really complaining; he looked and sounded fucking incredible, so I was happy.
Another very clear picture of trent!
They ended the show with "Head Like a Hole", waved goodbye, and exited the stage. No encore, of course.
The highlight of the night for me was hearing "Get Down Make Love" and "The Big Come Down", especially "Get Down Make Love". Not only does that song sound about 100 times better live, but I really wasn't expecting to hear it. I hadn't read any setlists from previous shows, and had no idea there was a chance he would be performing it. It was incredible, and there was something so satisfying about hearing the words "make love" coming out of Trent's mouth while he is only a few feet away. It sounded so nice inside my head.
Also, (and this is just the sexual obsession showing itself here) Trent did that water bottle thing. You know, how he puts a bottle of water between his thighs and squeezes it? That image has stayed with me for several days now, because I just LOVE it when he does that. Like I said, his performance seemed very aggressive that night - there was no chit chat, no audience hand-holding, no bullshitting around - just pure aggression. Sex and aggression - good stuff.
At the very end of the show, the full curtain of bars was lowered again with "NIN" in lights (see my last camera phone pic). The complete set lasted about 1 1/2 hours and every minute of it fucking rocked. I need to see them again!
I really hope everyone has a chance to see this - it's hard to describe, and extremely cool. I've been to tons of concerts and I always leave the show with a feeling of satisfaction mixed with sadness, because it's over so fast. That feeling was magnified about 10 times after seeing Nine Inch Nails. My ears were pulsating from being so close to the amps. I was most excited about hearing so many songs from The Fragile -- "The Big Comedown"! -- and my head was buzzing with everything I had just heard. Plus, I had that image of Trent with his water bottle burned into my brain.
Walking back to my car, the first thing my friend said was, "God, he's perfect," and the conversation pretty much continued along that topic for a while. We made a lot of comparisons between the Houston & Pensacola shows - Trent really was much sweeter in Florida, and angrier and more aggressive in Houston.
Of course, angry and sexy isn't a bad thing...
Here's the complete setlist:
Know What You Are?
March Of The Pigs
Something I Can Never Have
Help Me I Am I Hell
Into The Void
The Big Come Down
Get Down Make Love
The Hand That Feeds
Head Like A Hole
I have to see them again!
by dearly esteemed WTC reader Iris
Review of the Des Moines show: FUCKING AWESOME!
We had GA tickets, and I had shelled out the $60 bucks for the spiral membership, so we got in about an hour early (though we missed the sound check because of the fucking freezing rain made us drive slow). Moving Units came on, and they were okay. I liked them much better then Autolux. No one here seemed to be real into them, so I think they got kind of smart assed about it and thanked the audience for our attention, and said they weren’t used to such “highfaluting accommodations,” or something to that effect. The joke fell flat, so they announced they would do one more song and then leave so we could see who we really came to the show for. Crowd goes nuts.
Then there were the roadies. Normally not something to really talk about there but there was an old lady roadie! And I mean old but not the type of old woman that you might expect. She didn’t show the usual signs that she’d been doing this for years. You know the look that tough old broad who has probably drank, smoked, and fucked it all. No, this woman looked like my Grandmother (no lie). She looked so innocent, like she should be baking cookies, trimming the roses, going to church every Sunday, or wiping some snotty kid’s nose, only she was dressed all in black and moving microphones. I totally flipped-out laughing! So, at least now I know what I want to do when I retire. Move over granny, I’m going to be your replacement one day!
Then Trent and Co. came out. First time in the pit, and I can’t wait to do it again. The minute they came out, everyone surged forward and everything else that I saw kind of came in spurts. I remember getting splashed with water a couple of times, although I couldn’t say who was doing the throwing. We were pretty much between Trent and Aaron. I think it was Aaron spitting water. Ehh...whatever. Trent looked and sounded amazing. Here's the set list. There’s a song that when he sings his body is sideways to the audience and he bends to his knees and then bends back as far as he can a lot during it. Well, that little t-shirt he wore crept up a bit and I caught a glimpse of that sweet spot of a man’s hip. Don’t know exactly how to describe it, but check out the arrow. I think that might have been during “Terrible Lie”. Anyhow, totally HOT! Then, after the song was over, he was walking towards the backstage and I saw him hitch his britches up. There was something so endearing about that. So humanizing, you know? Man’s gotta adjust his pants every now and then. I get caught up in stupid shit like that.
Anyways, after “The Big Comedown” he was particularly chatty with the audience. All this is from what I can remember, but he thanked us for coming out, even though there was some shitty weather happening. He said that it was “great to back on tour, and great to be back here in Iowa… fuck… wait… I can’t remember if we’ve ever fucking been here. (chuckles) Anyhow you’re a great audience… we feel it you know… the love. Yeah.” That part I laughed to because of all our discussion on WTC about the different types of love there are. It made me wonder if he really does read this stuff. Hahaha. Then he said “that band Slipknot is from here, right? Yeah. Cool band. Great music. We had the unfortunate experience of going on after them in Japan. It sucked, 'cause the crowd was already wiped out by the time we went on. (laughs) This next song is one of my favorites. It’s off the Natural Born Killers soundtrack. It’s called Burn”. I know you like that one D., and as you described during the KROQ show “that first restrained 'burn,' and the way you can totally feel the way it's all about to fucking bust wide open in just a fucking minute” And indeed, all hell did break loose after that.
The sheer curtain came down either during, or right after “Eraser”, and they played the videos on it. Then, at the end of “Right Where It Belongs”, you could see him behind the curtain *throw* the mic stand at the curtain as the glass in the video breaks. Of course he doesn’t really throw the mic stand, but it was still funny to see the guy in front of me duck. “Beside You In Time” sounded great. Just listening to that song at home with my headphones makes my heart have irregular rhythms because of the beat. Hearing it and feeling it played live was unimaginable. Cheesy as it might sound, I thought I was going to pass out.
I think he talked some more between “Wish” and “Only”. I think it was only to say that it was off the new album. I was dealing with other problems during that part, as my hubby was trying to keep me from getting in a fist fight with this dude that wouldn’t fucking back off. I took my fair share of being groped and shoved from this guy (I wasn’t so naive to think that wouldn’t somewhat happen) but enough was enough. I caught an ear full from my hubby, and from this dude, for taking a swing at him, but a girl’s gotta get her point across somehow. And, he did back off a bit after that. I’ve still got the bruises under my arm from where he kept trying to pull me all over the place.
I was surprised we got “Starfuckers”, and I was so fucking wiped out at the very end of it all. The cool air conditioning felt great. Breathing in, and water never tasted so sweet. I was on cloud 9 from an excellent show. Reality set in real quick, though, after we went outside into the 0 degree weather, and I realized my clothes were soaked through with my, and whoever else’s, sweat. I was going to go to the Kansas City show, too, but I couldn’t find anyone else to travel with. Probably a good thing cause it feels like I’ve been on death’s door since Sunday from this sinus/sore-throat/flu thing. Anyways…incredible show, good audience (no fuck heads throwing shit), and I can’t wait til the next time I can see them.
Who’s with me?!?
We've got a guest contribution today, dear readers! WTC's own Ghost of Beloved Pets Past, Tragic Maise, writes in with a review of the NIN-stravaganza last week in Champaign, IL!
He Didn’t Even Eat the Salmon Mousse!
NIN at Assembly Hall, Champaign, IL 2/10/06
Review and shitty camera phone pictures
Oh, Trent, if you had stopped by Rosemont one more time, you, me, my husband, and the band could all have been kicking it at the Chili’s across the street from the Allstate Arena, eating boneless chicken wings and quesadillas. But no, no. This is the With_Great_Inconvenience tour 2006, so the husband and I made a 2.5-hour road trip to see the first show at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Driving through central Illinois in February is not unlike a Buddhist exercise. Flat land, no trees, not even any cornstalks in the field. Emptiness and nothingness. Om. But spending time in Champaign-Urbana gave me a chance to reflect on all the ways that my university was, like, a thousand times better.
Oh, and in a show of continued commitment to our relationship, my husband and I signed a new two-year cell phone contract and upgraded our phones, so I was finally able to live my dream of taking really shitty, Rorschach-like pictures at a concert. With some luck, I’ll be able to attach them here.
This arena kind of reminds me of the mothership in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, especially when all lit up. Fortunately for us, it’s not a particularly tall arena, so what I feared were “nosebleed” seats really weren’t so high up that I couldn’t see the stage. Also, they only used about half or less of the available seating, which made the venue feel much more intimate than your typical Big Ten basketball stadium. They only have bathrooms on the lower level, though, which sucks beyond belief.
The Opening Band:
Unlike some audiences who will be enjoying Saul Williams, we experienced the musical stylings of Moving Units. They appear to specialize in playing fast-tempo songs in a really lethargic manner. Kind of like the Strokes or Franz Ferdinand with zero charisma or stage presence. But they weren’t painful to listen to either; perhaps they would be better served on a smaller stage. Towards the end of the show, the lead singer apologized for the quality of his voice, explaining that he was sick. Said my husband, “That’s a pretty poor excuse for sucking.” You’ll have to excuse him for a lack of sympathy—he’s a cop.
Is this some sort of UFO sighting? Nope, it’s the Moving Units on stage, from our vantage point.
Jeordie White - Yeah, he was there.
Aaron North - With all of his roundhouse kicks or whatever he’s doing up there while wearing his “action jeans,” I have determined that he is the Chuck Norris of rock. Every now and then, Trent would ram into him or perhaps smack him upside the head. Christ, wouldn’t we all love to do that? Still, no complaints about his performance.
Josh Freese - A HUGE improvement over Alex Carapetis.
Alessandro Cortini - Povero Alessandro! Practically stuck backstage while running the International Space Station or nuclear submarines or whatever you’re doing with all those buttons and switches. Are you pushed so far at the back of the stage because you’re so pretty? I totally sympathize. When I was in high school drama, I went from my 15 minutes of fame as “Patty” in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown to a member of the so-called “Backstage Chorus” in Godspell. God, it was so humiliating! We were kept backstage for most of the show to sing back-up, but every now and then, they’d trot us out for the big numbers, like “Day by Day,” during which we had to kneel at the front of the stage and sing while doing sign language. That was when I reached my personal nadir in terms of coolness. So, Alessandro, I totally feel you.
Trent Reznor - Compared to the Chicago show of 10/07, when he apparently was exhausted with last-minute rehearsals, he was a lot more rested and energetic. He seemed to be in a really jovial mood. **Drool warning** Even though I was probably about a mile away from him, I could still see the sharp definition of his biceps and bowling-ball-like shoulders. And no one in the history of rock has made tambourine-playing sexier (during “With Teeth” and “Every Day is Exactly the Same,” as I recall)... not even Davy Jones.
I swear to God, you can kind of see him in this picture. In the middle…see? There are his arms.
As compared to the Chicago show, I would say that there were a lot of improvements. The show lasted a full two hours, and the band spent a lot less time behind the gauzy curtain. Because, you know, if you spend too much time behind a curtain, you turn into the Gorillaz. I’m just saying.
There were a lot of surprises in the setlist, which you can probably find on ETS in a much accurate form than I could construct. I was worried that the general strategy for this leg of the tour was going to be “Well, it’s all new to you hicks, so here’s our well-oiled routine.” I felt that opening the show with “Mr. Self Destruct,” was a refreshing surprise. Other “OMFG, I can’t believe I’m hearing this live” moments included “The Big Comedown” and “Please.” Thank God he revisited “Sin” and “Gave Up,” as those songs have been particularly meaningful to me as of late. I was also happy to hear “With Teeth” just because I strongly believe that one should play the titular song of the tour.
At first I thought that Trent had this rule that he could only say the words “thank you” within the borders of Illinois. However, in the middle of the show, he became downright chatty. I paraphrased the following from memory, so apologies for any misquotes:
“I want to sincerely thank you for coming out tonight. This is the first show of our new tour, and how long has it been—six weeks? Two months? Anyway, the first few shows are always a little weird. We’ve been recording songs for a new album…” [at this point the crowd erupts] “You haven’t heard it yet, so don’t yell. It’s weird to be around people after being in that mindset. So that feels a little funny, and then during “Eraser”, I started feeling funny. So I puked up a piece of salmon, and I didn’t even eat salmon. I haven’t had salmon for a month.”
Awww…Trent. I don’t know about you, but I find barfing to be extremely traumatic, and I’m so proud of him for being a trooper. He didn’t miss a note while regurgitating. If it were me, I would have made the following announcement: “Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen. I just totally barfed, so I’m afraid I have to stop the show immediately, lie down, and watch Lord of the Rings on DVD. But that’s why Trent is a god of RAWK, and I am not. I truly hope that he felt better after that because nothing is worse than having to travel with nausea. It brings back memories of suffering a migraine on a train from Pompeii to Rome and puking up some gelato in the teeny-tiny bathroom. Horrific.
Oh, and they’re still closing the show with “Head Like a Hole.” So for future concert-goers, this song is your signal that Trent has finished aurally fucking you and that it’s time for you to put on your clothes and leave. I promise you that you will not leave dissatisfied. One of my most joyous concert experiences ever. I think it helps that my personal life didn’t collapse immediately before this show.
And at this point in the show, Alessandro must have pressed the wrong button or flipped the wrong switch because an enormous burst of radiation vaporized everyone on stage. It was so unbelievably tragic.
C and Gabriel be damned, I do love you, Trent. [heavy sigh] No, not in the same way that I love my husband. I have willingly gone to hell and back for the spouse, and I doubtlessly will have to do so again in the future. But Trent has provided me with the soundtrack to my Orphic journey and has unwittingly kept me sane through some really heavy shit. And that really means a lot to me. Unless Trent is really into haikus, I don’t think that there is ever a way I could repay him for that, so I’ll just take this opportunity to say…thanks. It was a fantastic show. It was even worth leaving the Chicagoland metropolitan area.
[Remote_Concert_Review: KROQ_Almost_Acoustic_Christmas Totally_Slays_Dierdre_Keating]
So, as most of you know, I am currently in London, and have been in Europe since July. As a result, I have been suffering some serious-ass deprivation while my paramour, Sparklepants Reznor, rocks his fine ass all over North America. Let me assure you that the torture has been acute, but tonight, thanks to the technology of the interweb, I got to watch the KROQ stream of Nine Inch Delicious Nails at KROQ's "Almost Acoustic Christmas" (which as Los Angelenos know, is not at all acoustic), and I must say, while no little box in my computer, even if Trent is in it, can actually assuage my ache, it sure is nice to get a nice hot injection of my vitamin T.
Here's what happened: first, they kicked off with "Pinion", "Wish", "Terrible Lie", "Sin", and "March of the Pigs", with Trent tearing that shit up with a total scorched earth policy. As usual, I was fucking UNDONE by his sheer, unbelievable commitment. That is some beautiful shit. I remembered the way I used to feel watching him, back in the crazy days, when I couldn't help but imagine what it must feel like to carry on like he does -- the way it used to tear me up and make me feel like my heart would explode from a combination of breathless admiration and concern for his mental health. I'm glad those days are over, but the way Trent gives himself wholly to every single word and note of his performance is just fucking unparalleled. Sometimes I question the decision to play all those old numbers -- I mean, is the authentic emotion still there in them? Can it possibly be? -- but every goddamned time I actually see him perform them, I have to remind myself to shut the fuck up.
Following that, there was a beautiful performance of "Something I Can Never Have" striking its perfect balance between a whimper and a roar, that featured an orgasm-inducing extended close-up of his gloriously meaty, sweaty paws, and his fingers clasping and unclasping around his microphone in a way that was hotter than any porn, along with glimpses of teeth. Jesus Fucking Christ, I so felt his pain about wanting something I can never have... IN MY PANTS. Again, a totally convincing performance in every respect, and can we just take one minute to acknowledge what a fucking archetypally beautiful song that is? There are some things about which Trent's genius simply cannot be denied and that number is truly, madly and deeply one of them.
I suffered a little bit of coitus interruptus during "Closer" as my stream kept cutting out exactly when Trent was prepping to fuck me like an animal, which I don't doubt for one minute was as compelling a notion as it always is. I did catch the bit where he said "I am the honey inside your hive", and I could not fucking deny that he was right, but I must own that, overall, it was a mostly frustrating experience, alas.
Next up, a fucking kickass drum intro to "You Know What You Are". Not that I can be arsed about "the band", but I think this Josh Freese thing is going to be a good deal. Plus, thank God he's blonde. More importantly, though, I don't know how, in the midst of all that yelling, screaming and heavy metal thunder, with all its big, noisy hardassery, Trent can sing a line like "with every beat of my heart, I have tried to believe in it" and manage to touch you in some quiet place in the back of your mind, where you can totally see a man with his commitment and passions making an effort of that nature. "Remember where you came from, remember what you are" absolutely cracked me. How lucky are the rest of us that Trent remembered? Trent, honey, I love you. Really. Your record is so beautiful I could die.
Now, I know some of you are "Burn" haters, but you are just fucking WRONG. Here's what I love: that first restrained "burn", and the way you can totally feel the way it's all about to fucking bust wide open in just a fucking minute. I also think the bit that goes "I am your saviour/I am corruption/I am the angel of your destruction/I am perversion/secret desire/I am your future/swallow down all this fire" is some of his best writing EVER. Every single goddamned time I hear him break out that last line, I get chills, and shout "FUCK YES!" my hands involuntary forming rock firegod worship horns.
It hit me, this time, the way that song sounds different on his lips now than it did back in the day, when he was a little more on the side of perversion and destruction. I love that song, because it's always been so clear that Trent's heart is packed with all the best things, and a bone deep love of truth. That song is about hating things that totally deserve to be hated, and then going one fucking step too far, such that your tough love good intentions pave the way to hell. All I can add to that is that I love Trent. Have I mentioned that? Yeah. I love him. So, so much.
After that, I gave some consideration to the way "The Hand That Feeds" has stood the test of time and gazillions of repetitions with a staying power I never imagined when I first heard it, and realized that I may have to relent and admit that I love the pure sonic pleasure of "Starfuckers, Inc.". That song has a bitchin' ass guitar bit, and every time he says "asskisser" I laugh. Then, I suffered from more horribly ill-timed collapse of my web stream, and managed to get that shit back on line to catch the last bits of "Head Like A Hole", during which I marveled at the way Trent's energy was totally unflagging throughout his no holds barred, simultaneously totally emotionally committed and perfectly controlled performance.
Then, I would not be exaggerating if I told you that he actually bounded offstage, perhaps with the buoyant lightfootedness of a man who knows that he can fully be proud of a job well done. GODDAMN, dudes, he is such a pro. There is no one else giving it up like that in rock music today, and with more sheer, surprising POSITIVITY. I am so inspired by him, and yeah, THE LOVE.
[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:
FUCK INTERPOL. Autolux is the new king of art rock. How anybody could find them boring is beyond me.
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?
"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.
jerome back on drums?
reader Kimma just informed me nin.com has posted a pic of jerome and aaron! Though here at WTC we know josh freese did agree to play tonights show, perhaps drs gave jerome the okay? Time will tell - Autolux will be taking the stage shortly.
This is gabriel, live from the hollywood bowl!
just saw danny lohner
looking for the artists entrance. And I thought Trent was short.
[Gabriel will be posting to WTC today live from the nine inch nails show at the Hollywood Bowl]
Just pulled onto 10 fwy from the 405. L.A. is smoky and red.
The Pastor takes the stage in less than nine hours.
WTC exclusive! Spoke to a friend who's a friend of Josh Freese. He is indeed the new drummer, replacing Jerome at the Hollywood Bowl.
Apparently, he learned the whole set in just 24 hours!
Still down in it in traffic. Hell. Many major streets are closed. Fuck.
Finally walking to the bowl. Its hot. Vinyl jerkin was bad fashion choice.
at venue. MySpace posters everywhere. SpiralBrandi says spiral tix are stuck in traffic thanks to ticketmaster.
Can hear autolux soundcheck. Fuck yeah.
The Pastor is soundchecking. "wish" fucking AMAZING.
In the spiral holding pen waiting for entry. Staff are awesome.
Met new friends in line, Maxwell and his wife Ginger. Planning on hitting Bar Sinister after the show.
L.A. people are really fun. It's nice to hang out with folks without having to
worry about Alex's jealous bullshit.