In praise of ….. Nine Inch Nails

I couldn’t live tweet from the NIN show tonight. Not because my phone battery died. Not because my thoughts wouldn’t fit into 140 characters. (It really only needed three: OMG). But because I didn’t want to miss a thing, not even for the time it takes to put your head down and type. I have, by my count in the parking lot, seen Nine Inch Nails live 12 times (recount: 18 times!) before, and each tour is its own unique production, with beautiful, innovative set and lighting design that’s increasingly next-level in terms of theatrics and choreography and conceptually unparalleled amongst the band’s contemporaries. I know Trent constantly rearranges songs into new shapes, and that other than ending with “Hurt” you can never be sure what you’ll get. Hell, the last time they rolled through Toronto they had back-up singers. Most of the time, I am officially reviewing, and taking notes. (Here’s my professional take on the 2005 Koolhaus show and last year at the ACC.) Tonight I was not on duty. So I didn’t tweet. I watched. But sitting here now, hair and body soaked from a walk home in the rain, ears ringing, head spinning, heart and imagination afire, I can remember what was going through my head as they played. Here then, the tweets that never were:

Live photo from Red Rock show by Brandon Fuller

Live photo from Red Rock show by Brandon Fuller

Trent is wearing a skirt!!!!!

So, Trent just walked on stage with the lights up and started playing, alone. Basically, the exact opposite of what anyone expected.

Members join, one-by-one. Kind of like Swans last month. Forcing you to really listen. If it’s a trend, I dig it.

Ah, he’s playing “Copy of a” while standing in front of his shadow. #Lo-fi #High-concept.

Nothing is an accident.

I think he’s learned a lot from Bauhaus. #lightandshadow

Here come the drums. Hmmm. I miss Josh Freese.

Sanctified. Deconstructed. #oldisnew

1 Million kicks so much ass. The Slip is so underrated.

1-0-1-0-1-0-1-0 can be as just authentic as voice and acoustic guitar.

I think this entire show so far is commentary on authenticity in the digital age.

Is March of the Pigs their most metal song? (I’m standing next to my most metal friend.) It’s def more metal than Soundgarden.

So glad Robin Finck is still in this band. He’s like the Blixa/Ellis in Trent’s team.

End Act One.

Still. So. Fucking. Great. #terriblelie #rawpower

What city are they playing next? And how can I get there?

“Closer” is both the best and worst singalong song.

No, I think Gave Up is the most metal.

Dude in front of me is wearing a Jilly’s T-shirt and baseball cap. Grown woman beside me dressed as a goth schoolgirl. #crossover

End Act Two.

Widescreen. Minimalism. #oscarwinnerknowswhathesdoing

Now he’s dancing like Peter Murphy.

NIN was absolutely the best band of the 90s. Radiohead got all the credit. Where are they now?

The Great Destroyer devolves into pure industrial sight/sound. A reminder why I love this genre. And that haters who say NIN is not industrial make me laugh.

If this is the band that becomes my era’s U2/Aerosmith/Stones, I’m OK with that. But this is not yet nostalgia. It’s very much now.

God, what could he do with Bono’s budget?

If he’s not going to play Reptile or The Wretched I sure hope we get Eraser.

Eraser!!

WISH!!!!! #mostmetal #fistfuck

Dance break.

I should perhaps leave early to beat this soaking wet crowd and ensure I can get a cab. #not

Head Like a Hole was never my jam and it still fees silly. Still, not leaving early.

I love having an old favourite band that is still a current favourite band. #elixer

It’s 2014 and raining but the lighters are about to come out en masse.

Hurt is a song for the ages. Like this storm, it washes all the dirt away.

The sky unleashes its thunderous applause.

LIGHTNING.

Exit.

Post show. Soaked.

Post show. Soaked.

2 Comments

  1. keram July 28, 2014 Reply

    So good Liisa. Great visceral piece. Wish I was there. Still remember Lol lap a look a at CNE where Trent hung himself upside down and kicked every band member over with his boot.

    Thanks for sharing. In this way. Skirt! I know from that 🙂

  2. ute-dreieich July 29, 2014 Reply

    Nice piece of text. Nice to read.
    Interesting that you wrote … ” Not everything worked: Slower numbers like Something I Can Never Have and Every Day Is Exactly The Same didn’t catch fire….” That was 2009. Thought about this already and wonder how people will think about the songs of HM in a few years. I enjoy them even though they`re different. Best wishes from Germany, Ute

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