Fortunately, dear readers, when I am lazy and disorganized, our Iris often comes to the rescue!
Iris's Favorite Things
Silly grown man-boys all covered in cornstarch
Trent sings that one song where he wants us to "MARCH!"
Mic stands, and band mates, and bottles he flings
These are a few of my favorite nin things
Bright fields of poppies and fires full of ashes
Trent gets real pissed off and the guitars, he smashes
Huge LED screens held up by some strings
These are a few of my favorite nin things
Album commercials with blood drops in water
Trent rolling on stage like he's some fucking martyr
Of the pain and rejection and loathing he sings
These are a few of my favorite nin things
When my day sucks
When the boss rings
When I'm steaming mad
I simply remember my favorite nin things
And then I don't feel so bad
I dream of that Rock God and songs that he's written
For Mister Reznor, I'm hopelessly smitten
Pictures of decay and rotten moth wings
These are a few of my favorite nin things
Friends who convince me that Vienna's not too far
Come on you guys, you fucking all know who you are
WearingTheseChains and all the love/hate it brings
These are a few of my favorite nin things
Backpacking through Europe, oh the shows that we'll see
I wonder if he'll meet with M, D, G, & me?
All joking aside, all the shit that we sling
Nine Inch Nails is really the best fucking thing!
Boys and girls, I have to tell ya...I left WTC earlier today feeling rather disheartened. I mean, sure, lots of sites discuss fascinating topics like anal violation, but I don't generally like to visit those while at work, and it's not exactly what I'm looking for here.
Plus, I really hate to be like this, but I think I'm going to have to be a little more proactive in the moderation. For the most part, there's no need, and there is fun to be had in arguing back and forth, but I just can't allow any given individual to start taking over every thread on the board, making it all about him/her. I mean, look at the banner at the top of this page: "concerning trent reznor, nine inch nails, and all things gothemo." Nowhere do I see any mentions of "cockfros," "Indiana snipers," or "deeply stained shag carpets." (And I swear to God, Gabriel, you had better not change it, or you will be writing checks your scrawny body can't cash.) So yeah. [sigh] Although I generally like to be friendly and cheerful and game, I am going to unapologetically start reining things in. Not to the point where we're not having chaotic fun anymore. But to the point where we don't have to read 10,000 repetitive posts in a row from the same person or have to close threads for commenting because they have crossed all boundaries of decency. I pledge to be fair and not become some sort of "deletion nazi," but I'm just saying that you should heed any warnings given to you by Dierdre, Gabriel, or myself. We are beyond tolerant and patient, and if you like us and want to hang out, you shouldn't go out of your way to fuck with us. Also, I'd like to point out that if anyone wants to chat about something off-topic or something that would take up too much time and energy on the board, you can always send me an email. I like to chat with people, and I'll generally respond, even if I think you're totally full of shit.
Anyway, so the whole thing kind of got me down, and I was going to take a bit of a break from all the persistent retardation when divine intervention...uh...intervened. In the form of an email from our Iris, and kids, she has something amazing to report:
You're never going to believe what happened to me tonight! I've been SAVED! After all that squabbling and filth that happened on WTC, I felt so impure. So as I fixed myself a little snack to think things over, He came to me. Trent Fucking Reznor appeared to me in my toast! I think maybe he's trying to tell me that all will be all right, that this shall pass, that as long as I hold my faith in the only thing that is pure--the music--that we'll all make it through these downright sinful days. Or Trent could just be telling me he goes best with boysenberry jam. Dunno. But lest you doubt my claim, I have proof! Look!
And she has indeed provided us with proof. Proof that has restored my faith in WTC.
Isn't it beautiful? And, ladies and Gabes, everything Iris said is true. Because as petty and discordant as things can get around here, Trent is the guy who unites us all. His music touches our very souls and our breakfast foods. And even when he's not on tour, he's still out there--making the world a better place by writing new music that we can't wait to hear and imprinting his face on our bread. So let's pull ourselves back together, focus a bit, and appreciate this veritable miracle.
[Because Iris and I both went to the recent Chicago show at the awkwardly named First Midwest Bank Amphitheater, we thought we'd combine our thoughts into one review. Iris will give you the view from the pit, and I will comment in italics from...much further back.]
Before the Show
Maise: Before we begin, I'd like to give y'all some perspective on my mental state before the show. My husband and I thought that we had plenty of time to get our new house painted and moved into before the end of the month, but as we learned...nothing quite goes according to plan in matters of real estate and home improvement. When I found myself, after having been awake for 24 hours, making yet another trip hauling our shit to our new house with my crabbed-out husband in the seat next to me, the prospect of this very concert was the only thing keeping me from deliberately driving off the road to certain doom. By the time my friend Sam and I finally arrived at the venue, I had had three hours of sleep in 36 hours.
Iris: This time there was no freezing rain to hold us up so we got there plenty early, but a M&G just isn’t in the stars for me. The radio show apparently went the exclusive route for contest winners only. We were actually inside the venue during the time it should have been airing, but the Q101 booth playing their station showed no sign of it.
Maise: The Q101 thing was strange...by the time Sam and I got out of the car at 6:40 or so, they still hadn't played it. If any lurkers happened to be at any of these radio performances, you should all dish the dirt!
Iris: Snagged a pretty awesome spot about three people from the rail in what would become halfway between Trent and Jeordie later.
Maise: Sam and I were in the pavilion seats, where we were safe from being trampled and molested, but unfortunately we were very, very far away and kind of at a weird angle, so that we couldn't even see the big screens terribly well. Have I ever told you how I hate this venue?
As an example, my view during Bauhaus vs. Iris's view during Bauhaus:
We'll stick with Iris's pics from hereon, m'kay?
Iris: Anyhoo, on with Peaches. Don’t really know her songs so I can’t say what was played, but it was at least entertaining. Peaches got up on the rail in front of us several times and walked back and forth. She eventually ditched the little leather ensemble and crowd surfed in a pink bra and hot pants. And WTCers, I’m afraid I got caught up in the moment, and I grabbed her ass when she came overhead. Yeah.
Maise: I know that I have dissed Peaches in the past. I must say that now that she's over her "gangsta rap/Andy Warhol film" phase, her work is much more enjoyable. She's definitely got an '80s power rock parody style going on, and her band plays the part--with keytars, no less! You can't argue with her "Impeach Bush" sentiments, and when she's crowd-surfing and climbing up on tall amps, her sense of fun is infectious. I'm not entirely sure why she has to get naked, though.
Iris: Bauhaus was up next, and that performance is going to transform me into a fan. On its own, the music makes me giggle, but watching it be performed by Mr. Murphy is great. Did you know the motherfucker can moonwalk?!?! Two or three tunes into the set, Peter tossed a couple roses out into the crowd. I came incredibly close to one but didn’t catch it. When he had first unbuttoned his shirt, I can’t say I was real impressed with what looked to be a man girdle, but it turns out it serves another purpose, which was to hold his mic and all the rose petals that he used to “bleed” during the next song. Marvelous performers.
Maise: Er...ha ha. Bauhaus is a bit of a blur for me, for reasons explained above. I second Iris's opinion that they are marvelous performers, and I love that Peter Murphy is still slinking sexily onstage and filling up an entire monstrous outdoor venue with that gorgeous voice of his. The one quibble I had was that I feel that they were put onstage too early--not that I needed to stay awake any longer that night, but the not-quite-setting sun really detracted from their stage show. There's something about Peter Murphy and sunlight that seems to clash.
Nine Inch Someone or Other...
Iris: Trent and Co. came out and kicked it off with “Somewhat Damaged." (See setlist here) I was pretty caught up in the crush, especially during “March of the Pigs” when Trent threw the mic out into the audience. There were a few times throughout I thought I should bail or risk passing out, but then I would think of you guys who weren’t able to attend and would kill to be there so I took a deep breath and held on. The security guards were pretty cool and would either throw some water or pass cups back. In any other situation, communal water cups would be disgusting, but there it was completely necessary for survival.
Maise: I don't know if I can speak for Sam, but I couldn't see shit for this entire show. Every possible obstacle stood between me and Trent--enormous columns, eight-foot-tall men with mullets and trucker caps, soccer parents reliving their college days and grabbing each other's asses during "Closer." This was an almost entirely aural experience for me. Although if you can't see the performers, it's important to find enjoyment in your immediate surroundings--like the hot black guy with the well-toned arms a couple of rows in front of me who was dancing to every song. Yum! However, I did see that for a good portion of the show, Trent hid himself behind what looked like the front of my chinchilla's cage. I guess that's better than the gauzy curtain, although I'm not sure why he won't let us get a good look at him for such long stretches. Maybe it's because he knows that too much exposure to his Trent-ness could be deadly, especially for the poor souls up front.
Iris: During “Closer,” just one of the metal curtain sections came down. Trent used that thing to its full and unknown potential. He hung from it, pulled it around, and shoved his bulgy arm through it. And the best part of the ENTIRE FUCKING SHOW was when he came around front and danced like the filthiest go-go dancer you’ve ever seen (which was the absolute clincher for me that TRENT READS WTC). I shit you not! Hands all over himself, he posed and gyrated against the grate and worked that ass for all it’s worth! Ladies, this image will be forever burned in my fucking brain! Seriously, swoon bitches!
Iris: And then there was that guitar-holding thing during the beginning of “Burn” that I love. It’s all about balance with Trent. Just when I thought my head would explode from checking out his guns wrapped lovingly around that guitar as he seethes into the microphone about rejection and revenge, my flame was put out with a totally mood-killing giggle as my eyes ventured to the man-capris that he's now fond of wearing. Don’t get me wrong, girls, I love this look, and I don’t think many other men could pull it off, but just as you’re getting ready to hit that spot, think man-capris and see what that does for ya.
Maise: A couple of notes:
1) Trent, I invite you to think of me as a friend of sorts. You don't really know me and would probably go out of your way to avoid me in real life, but I want you to know that I'm always cheering for you, and I want the best for you. And just as a real friend tells you when you have something stuck in your teeth, I will tell you this: LOSE THE MAN-PRIS.
2) "Burn" is like miso soup to me. Every time I go to a Japanese restaurant, I'm served unsolicited miso soup, and I try to eat it and enjoy it, hoping that some day I will develop a taste for it, and I'm sure it's very good for me, and everyone else just loves it, but in the end, I really don't like miso soup. I have to be honest, folks.
3) But lest you think I didn't enjoy myself or am just an incorrigible whiny bitch, I just want to point out that this performance elicited feelings of pure joy for me, and I sang along like a dork to every word of every fucking song. And I was very pleased to hear "Something I Can Never Have" live for the first time as well as "La Mer" and "The Big Comedown."
Iris: Jeordie does the strangest vacant staring thing up on stage that he did for most of the show. It made me want to do rude gestures just to see if he would grin. At some point he busted a move and danced, but I think it was just to let us know he was still alive. After all the cooing I’ve done over Alessandro, I didn’t get to see him for most of the show. The winds were not in my favor and kept him shrouded in fog/smoke.
Maise: Non ho visto Alessandro. Non ho visto niente.
Iris: I got some video too, which turned out to not be too bad. First clip is “Down In It,” and I was stunned as hell they played it. After watching that, don’t think that the irony was lost on me that I was being tipped over when he sings “but now I’m down in it.” I may have been falling, but I was laughing on the way down.
Iris: The other two clips are from the surprise guest appearance of Peter Murphy singing “Final Solution” alongside Mr. Reznor. First clip is just after Trent announced Peter would be joining and the first few seconds of the song. The second one is part way into the song during the refrain. Absolutely brilliant performance.
Maise: You know, Trent and Peter Murphy seem awfully besotted with each other, which is ADORABLE, but does Saul Williams know about this? Just asking.
Iris: After the last song the brand came out. I think Trent devised this little lighting ploy just as bragging rights. You know, kind of like a “bitches you just got pwned by NIN,” which shows his inner-gamer maturity.
Maise: Actually, it reminded me of a Lite-Brite picture.
Iris: Met up with Maise after the show, swapped stories, and gushed, much to my husband’s dismay, about Mr. Reznor’s hotness.
Maise: Sam and I said "Oooooh" in unison when we saw this one:
Iris: Who knew the hotel we stayed at would let a dog in the lobby? **shrugs** This was such an amazing weekend that I’m battling some serious depression (tears and all) knowing that it’s over. D, we gotta find some way to get you over here for the next round.
Maise: And Sam and I had a blast too! You never quite know if online friendships will translate well in the real world, but Iris and her husband are a lot of fun. This concert was definitely the best part of last weekend, except for the moment when I finally got to go to sleep.
By the way, you can see the rest of Iris's fabulous pictures here.
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!
Damn, you guys! Trent never blogs for us anymore, does he? Plus, reports are that he's still giving The Spiral folks The Silent Treatment. But, you know what? I think we all know what Trent wants to tell us, don't we? Let's write his blog and message board posts for him, shall we?
Our own Maise has a jumpstart on us. She claims that she could totally save Trent some valuable time by taking on the job herself, and that she'd even do it for free. Trent, if you're out there, I think you could really benefit from a deal like that...
Here's his blog, as penned by Maise, thus far:
That late-night trip to Denny's didn't sit so well with me.
I really want to like Bode Miller, but he keeps on choking and talking like a total douche.
I am drowning in mucus.
Some asshole in a Volvo totally cut off our bus just now. I flipped him off, but I don't think he saw me.
Not bad, I'd say.
Ok, so we all know his blogging style, right? Brief, cryptic, and faintly snide, right? In message board posts, I'd say that he runs more towards the pissed-off, defensive, and bitchy.
Let's see what you got.
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?!?
This just in from beloved WTC reader Maise!
Here are the rules: pick one blank to fill in until all are accounted for. First come, first served (Unless everyone uses the word "penis"...then we'll make an executive decision to ignore their phallic obsession).
1) Song title
2) Body part
5) NIN Song title
9) Female celebrity
14) Body part
18) Menial job
21) Possible NIN album title
All 23 items are in! Here's the [NIN_Lib]:
While singing (1) “Copacabana” one night, Trent was hit in the (2) biceps by a (3) poodle. (4) “Fuck or cunt!!!” he said, “That’s it! I quit! I’m tired of pouring my heart out to drunken cretins…it’s time to pursue my one, true passion—food!” And with that, Trent decided to pour all his time, money, and energy to open (5) Physical (You’re So) Café. The house specialties included raw (6) gummy bears, sauteed (7) pumpkin pie, and chocolate-covered (8) range-free water foul.
Trent’s first mistake was hiring (9) Winona Ryder as the hostess. She had a habit of misplacing customers’ (10) hand sanitizer and spilling (11) tequila on the (12) altoids of important restaurant critics. Perhaps Aaron North was not the best choice as a waiter. His enthusiasm for the job led to him kicking (13) Scott Speedman in the (14) epidermis. Trent wasn’t sure what ingredients sous chef Jeordie White was putting into his “special sauce,” but invariably, three weeks after eating at (5) Physical (You’re So) Café, all diners contracted (15) vaginitis. At least Alessandro could be counted on to cook up (16) tortellini with (17) Captain Morgan sauce (al dente, of course). Josh Freese wasn’t quite satisfied with his stint as busboy, dishwasher and (18) pedicurist. He noticed that the position had a high turnover rate.
After performing the Heimlich maneuver on (19) Brad Pitt with messy results, Trent said, (20) “Asshat!!! That’s it! I quit! Back to music for me!” Fortunately, the trauma and stress of the experience gave him lots of material he could draw upon for his next album, (21) “Dissonance” Hit singles from the album included “Head Like a (22) Cup of Coffee” and “(23) Fierce (With Salmonella).”
So, there you have it, NIN fans!
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.