March Of The Pigs
Me, I'm Not
The Great Destroyer
The Greater Good
The Big Comedown
Down In It
Head Like A Hole
In This Twilight
If you weren't a NIN (Nine Inch Nails) fan before going to this show, there was a 100% conversion rate. If you were a NIN fan going into the show, there was a 100% conversion rate to fanatic. Everything about the show was out-of-this-world.
Dancing & Singing (The Movement)
To start with there was general admission tickets for the floor. This allowed for lots of audience participation including singing and dancing.
The warm-up band, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, was a British electro-rock band from Reading, Berkshire. Their techno grooves and wild enthusiasm got the crowd going.
At first you might not think of NIN as a dance band, but a goodly portion of the set list lent itself to dancing. Though several of the moshers got carried away, overall the crowd congealed as one giant pulsating rhythm machine. One member of the audience literally got carried away. When he became so inspired, he managed to get onto stage before Down In It and bowed down to Trent before being downed by 4-5 security guards (like a quarterback getting sacked by a row of linebackers.)
Prior to the show, we questioned each other about what we thought the guy:girl ratio would be. And, perhaps that was one of the reasons the singing and dancing was good -- there were a surprisingly large number of females in the audience. In fact, near the end of the show Trent paused for a talk. He remarked that someone recently asked him if he noticed any difference in his audience over the years. Then, he went on to comment on a recent Rage Against The Machine show he'd seen... that their audience was composed almost entirely of "vampire-like dudes." And, he was happy to have seen the number of ladies in his audience increase over the years. This prompted one of the gals in the crowd to toss her bra on stage.
During some of the songs, such as, March Of The Pigs, Closer, Only, Down In It, Head Like A Hole and Reptile, the crowd would move together like a reptile... snake-ish.
It sounded like many, many of the concert goers knew every word to every song as they sang along. This lent itself to shivers-up-the-spine that wouldn't come to mind when one thinks of NIN.
Having seen hundreds of different acts, it's hard to be impressed by yet another stage show. However, NIN went over-the-top. A wall of lights behind them would sometimes turn into a screen of scenes. Before going into the Ghost songs, there was a pause in the action. Five keyboard / workstations were positioned on the stage. Then the rear screen changed its appearance and a green aura appeared behind the band members, moving to the sound. It was about this point in the show that a wall of lights looking like chain mail descended at the front of the stage. Sometimes the lights would be impervious. Sometimes the lights would become transparent as if motion sensitive from the rear. When Trent would move about the stage, portions of the light screen would go clear allowing you to see Trent perform. At one point in the show, the front light panel turned into a solid pattern of many bright white lights. A stage hand came out in front with a single flood light. As he would sweep it up and down, the light screen would turn transparent "washing away" the lights and exposing the band.
Of course, the amazing light show was not the only thing to watch. The band performance was amazing, too. Trent would move about the stage changing instruments. At one point, a giant xylophone appeared and Trent stood behind it playing away. Or, he would sit behind a keyboard mounting a vicious attack. His bandmates were all as entertaining.
The sound quality was excellent. The Wachovia Center is known for its poor acoustics. This problem was overcome by the NIN sound engineers. The sound was loud, but not too loud. The instruments were clear. Trent's voice was not at all muddy and sounded almost too good to be true. Justin Meldal-Johnsen was shocking. That is to say, his hair appeared as though he'd stuck his finger in an electric socket. Robin Finck appeared unruly on guitars, but his technique was actually quite disciplined. Drums kept perfect time. And, the keyboards gave a crisp electro edge throughout the show.
Trent Reznor -- Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, Xylophone
Alessandro Cortini -- Keyboards (Modwheelmood, The Mayfield Four)
Robin Finck -- Guitars (Guns N' Roses)
Josh Freese -- Drums (A Perfect Circle, The Vandals, Devo)
Justin Meldal-Johnsen -- Bass (Beck)
The Membrane Domain