Trent Reznor and company attacked the stage in support of "The
Nearly five years ago, Trent Reznor ended his tour in support of Nine
Inch Nails' multi-platinum album "The Downward Spiral"
and slipped into relative obscurity. A lengthy bout with writer's block
followed before work on a new album began in earnest in
1997. Finally, after spending two years locked away in his New Orleans
recording studio, the 35-year-old Reznor emerged
last September with the release of "The Fragile"--a sprawling,
104-minute double album--and put the Nine Inch Nails touring
machine back in motion.
Tuesday night (6/6) at Anaheim's Arrowhead Pond, the industrial rock
godfather and his bandmates proved that the extensive
time off the road has done nothing to dull the razor-sharp edge of their
live performances. Including many of the lush,
meandering numbers found on "The Fragile" has, in fact, given the band's
show a richer, more theatrical feel, one that serves
as a perfect counterbalance to the aggressive--sometimes
violent--delivery of older, more explosive tracks.
Opening for NIN on its U.S. tour is A Perfect Circle, featuring Tool
frontman Maynard James Keenan and former NIN
guitar-tech Billy Howerdel. The group delivered a moody, guitar-driven,
45-minute set of songs from its debut album "Mer De
Noms," which debuted last week at No. 4 on Billboard's Top 200 album
The Southern California crowd was then teased into a frenzy by the
swelling strains of the buzzsaw-like "Pinion" from NIN's
1992 "Broken" EP before the curtain fell to reveal Reznor,
guitarist-keyboardist Danny Lohner, guitarist Robin Finck,
keyboardist Charlie Clouser and drummer Jerome Dillon. The
quintet--adorned in standard-issue black clothing, boots, black
lipstick, dark eye makeup and a generous powdering of corn
starch--proceeded to wage a 90-minute, all-out sensory assault
on the capacity crowd--and each other.
The band revved things up with "Terrible Lie" and "Sin" from its 1989
breakthrough debut "Pretty Hate Machine," followed by
"March of the Pigs" and "Piggy" from 1994's "The Downward Spiral."
Reznor wasted no time attacking Lohner and Finck as
he thrashed about the stage; he managed to launch Finck into the crowd
for a brief bit of crowd-surfing shortly before he
himself hopped down into the security pit and leaned into the sea of
bodies surging against the barricade.
With the crowd immediately won over, the group changed gears and broke
out some of the moodier, more epic material from
"The Fragile." Most of the middle of the band's set, in fact, was
comprised of newer songs, including a number of instrumental
tunes. Those not familiar with NIN's live performances might assume the
industrial/electronic fare heard on the band's albums
isn't conducive to live jamming; they'd be wrong.
The production featured a dazzling light show, accented most noticeably
by three giant LED screens that were intermittently
positioned both above and behind the band. Hypnotic images of water and
fire interspersed between colorful patterns and
blinding strobes accented the sonic delivery of each song performed
throughout the night.
The group ended its regular set with two sure-fire crowd pleasers.
"Closer" was delivered amidst a wash of brilliant red lights
while lava-like images lit up the LED screens, and "Head Like a Hole"
was accented by blinding white strobes and spotlights
that illuminated the entire arena.
After leaving the stage amidst the roars of the now-frenzied crowd,
Reznor returned to address the fans before breaking into a
"We've been away for a long time," Reznor said. "When you go away for
such a long time, you don't know if anyone's gonna
be there when you come back. To have you all still here means the world
With that, the band launched into four more tracks from "The Fragile,"
including "Starf--ckers"--an ode inspired by Reznor's
friend-cum-enemy-cum-friend Marilyn Manson, whose bandmates were in the
crowd during this show.
"Hurt," the final track from "Downward Spiral," was also the final song
of the night, with Reznor delivering the vocals as
gut-wrenchingly as ever.
Chalk it all up as evidence that Nine Inch Nails has definitely evolved
during its time off.
March of Pigs
The Great Below
The Mark Has Been Made
Head Like a Hole
The Day the World Went Away
Just Like You Imagined
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is provided courtesy Keith Duemling and Tracy Thompson from the collection previously
located at SUS.