Review Magazine

May 2000

Trent Reznor Returns with the 'Fragility Version 2.0 Tour'.

Trent Reznor knows a good crowd when he feels one, and on April 25th at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Nine Inch Nails performed in front of a raucous crowd waiting for the aggressive industrial-rock band to return to the stage for almost 5 years. Indeed, many in the audience were so young they had never experienced the opportunity to see NIN perform before, making their anticipation and excitement equally if not more intense.

At just before 9:30 pm, the instrumental interlude that started playing after A Perfect Circle (the Maynard Keenan of TOOL side project opening for NIN on the Fragility Version 2.0 Tour) finished their set segued into the song Pinion from the Broken EP. The lights went down and all hell broke loose. A large semi-opaque curtain had been drawn around the entire stage and lights began to strobe from behind, throwing shadows on the curtain from all sides.

The set started out with Somewhat Damaged, the lead track off the ambitious double CD, The Fragile, which was released last Fall. It quickly became obvious that Trent Reznor was "feeling the crowd" because he became very interactive with the audience, sneering and tempting to reach out and grab them. During the third song, March of the Pigs, he did just that - jumping between the stage and barricade, howling his lyrics into the faces of those pinned against the wall - performer & audience becoming one.

The entire set lasted approximately 80 minutes, with songs plucked from each of his 3 albums and 1 EP. Old favorites like Wish, Head Like a Hole and Suck were interspersed with new tracks like The Wretched and The Day the Whole World Went Away. Ear-splitting songs flowed into melodic instrumental pieces and then back again, seamlessly by design.

During the encore and an extra 20 minutes of music, Trent broke with his usual style and began talking to the audience. He told the crowd that up until that show he was having "a bad day" but that the crowd's enthusiasm had changed all of that.

"There's just something about Michigan," he said in reference to the April 14th show at the Palace of Auburn Hills, where he proclaimed they were the "best crowd" he'd seen in a long time.

Overall, Nine Inch Nails played an intensely spirited set catering to old and new fans alike. Vivid images displayed on 3 large and narrow video screens were used to convey emotive scenes while the music either aged from the speakers or flowed with fierce calmness.

New songs La Mer and The Great Below were highlighted with poetic video collages that emoted a quiet intensity that can only come from an act like NIN. The show ended with the quintessential Nine Inch Nails song, Hurt, from the hugely successful album The Downward Spiral.

Trent Reznor has proven to fans that he puts 110% of himself into his music. And the very same can be said of his live performances.

By Trent Vanegas - Review Photos by Kay

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Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails
This article is provided courtesy Keith Duemling and Tracy Thompson from the collection previously located at SUS.