Friday, August 29, 2008, 12:21 AM ( 1936 views ) - Show Reviews - Posted by AdministratorThe intensity of Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor is so strong you can really feel it radiate through a gigantic stadium, and that is a gift. This intensity even poked through an awe-inspiring and strange electrical curtain used through much of the show.
Reznor has composed – and I use this word on purpose instead of written – essentially classical and terror-laden songs of pain and beauty. Listen to Downward Spiral and notice the leitmotiv that Closer carries. Go back to Pretty Hate Machine, one of the best albums ever as far as I am concerned, and feel what the songs convey. Pretty Hate Machine came out in 1989 and has absolutely maintained its relevancy and importance – as has Nine Inch Nails. If, for whatever silly reason, you stopped listening after the debut you've missed a lot.
The vocals were the clearest I have ever heard at a concert. You could hear every word no matter how loud the instruments were. Reznor's delivery was aggressive and brutal – at other times a whisper – and he managed to get every single line across with his body as well. Several times he stood with his arms outstretched and also raced across the large stage with a bold energy. I remember watching him walk from the back of the stage to the microphone as Closer began, then drop to his knees, then begin singing the opening line while pulling himself up by the microphone. This seemed so intricate and yet so simple – but the opening lyric is You let me violate you, you let me desecrate you and his emphasis in the lyric I want to fuck you like an animal was so strenuous.
Other standouts of the 2 hour set for me were The Warning,The Beginning of the End and The Good Soldiers, tracks from 2007's Year Zero as well as With Teeth's Only and The Hand That Feeds. March of the Pigs from Downward Spiral was appropriately violent – as was Wish from Broken, and Head Like a Hole and Terrible Lie off Pretty Hate Machine were superb. They changed the beat somehow in Head Like a Hole, or maybe it just sounded different so loud, but Josh Freese's drumming was really amazing. Nearly everybody sang along with Hurt – and that is something to hear. I enjoyed hearing men yelling for Trent throughout the show. The material off The Slip starting off the show, 999,999,1,000,000,Letting You and Discipline confirm there's still greatness on its way.
The stage itself used what appeared to be chains or glass rods (I am not sure how they did this) that showed changing scenes – my favorite was a beautiful bamboo garden during the Ghosts and Piggy section. I also liked the warped live video footage of Reznor singing. He's backed himself up with an elegant group of musicians, including Alessandro Cortini on synth, Josh Freese on drums,Ima Robot's Justin Meldal-Johnsen on bass and the return of Robin Finck on guitar. They were all compelling – that's rare.