Nine Inch Nails Stylishly
Mix Anthems With
Ecological videos add to mystifying
ambiance on industrial band's spring
Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent
Reznor may have growled "too f---ed up to care
anymore" during the opening song of Friday
concert at the UIC Pavilion, but the 90-minute
followed was laced with thought and precision.
The band's Fragility v2.0 tour was just that —
arranged set of stadium-rock anthems stylishly
intertwined with instrumental soundscapes and
Reznor's angst-laden tunes served
sharp contrast to the show's
ambiance — a sold-out, alcohol-free
concert with a mosh pit more
on the ecological videos streaming
giant screens than on the pit
"Somewhat Damaged" (RealAudio
excerpt), the first song on Nine
Nails' 1999 album, The Fragile, set
evening off on a unique note as the
band ripped through the tune behind
massive stage curtain. With strobe
lights buzzing, white-on-black
silhouettes flashed frantically as
The curtain opened to the crisp
"Terrible Lie," from the group's
album Pretty Hate Machine. Reznor,
adorned in a silver velvet vest and
black pants, his thick, black locks
shaped like a bowl, looked like a
He raced around the stage, tackling his
guitarists and violently dousing them, the
himself with bottle after bottle of Evian
water. Call it a
baptism into his dark world; the ceremonious
didn't seem to faze a soul.
A Decade's Work Well-Represented
The cavernlike stage was lined with huge white
courtesy of Mark Brickman, a former Pink Floyd
designer. These electrifying bulbs went crazy
Nails ventured into "March of the Pigs," an
up-and-down number from their breakthrough 1995
The Downward Spiral.
Poetically, Reznor led that song into "Piggy,"
from the same album, which he ended in a long,
The group showcased songs from its decade-plus
history, dating back to the early EPs Suck and
Fuck and leading up to "The Day the World Went
from The Fragile.
Between hard-rock songs, Reznor orchestrated
through Fragile interludes such as "The Frail,"
Below" and "A Warm Place," which brought out
of his heavy numbers even more.
Absent, however, were the Nails live standards
Perfect Drug," "Happiness in Slavery," and
Down Make Love," along with the recent single
Gloom, Doom And Manson
Closing the set, the band served up the one-two
"Closer," which sounded dead-on like the Spiral
and "Head Like a Hole" (RealAudio excerpt). The
proved to be the obvious crowd favorite, as
fans sang over
Reznor the chorus of "Head like a hole/ Black
soul/ I'd rather die/ Than leave you control."
Reznor marched his troops back onstage for an
that included the Fragile favorite
(RealAudio excerpt) which, in a rare
said was dedicated to "an ex-friend of mine,"
meaning his protégé Marilyn Manson.
As an unlikely twist, the group closed out the
with "Hurt," a slow, pulsating song that found
aching through dark lines like "I wear this
crown of sh--/
Upon my liar's chair/ Full of broken thoughts/
"It was the perfect ending to an emotional
Stuart May, 23, of Des Moines, Iowa, said. "I
hours to hear 'Hurt' and I was blown away when
closed with it."
Samantha Kilber, 16, of Chicago had similar
about "Head Like a Hole."
"It was the first Nine Inch Nails song I ever
heard, so it
meant a lot to see them play it live," Kilber
said. " I loved
everything about the show."
Opening the concert was A Perfect Circle, the
project of Tool singer Maynard Keenan. The
post-grunge quartet jammed through a 30-minute
melodic rockers, including the current single,
"I like Tool and probably would have liked
them, but I
didn't know any of their songs," May said of A
Circle. "It just made Nine Inch Nails seem even
The Fragility v2.0 tour ends June 18 in Denver.
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is provided courtesy Keith Duemling and Tracy Thompson from the collection previously
located at SUS.