Last Night: Nine Inch Nails @ the Forum

Last Night: Nine Inch Nails at the Forum September 6, 2008.

Better Than: destroying your musical instruments at home.

Download: The whole new Nine Inch Nails album "The Slip" for free

The Nine Inch Nails "Lights In The Sky" tour descended upon the Forum to a hometown crowd eager to soak up the bank of 112 lights, 3 large LCD screens and numerous strobes. It was apparent early that the show would live up to its billing.

Deerhunter from Athens, GA started the evening with textural washes of guitars led by Bradford Cox (Vocals/Guitars) who led a triple guitar assault on the audience.  I can imagine that Bradford listened to lots of My Bloody Valentine and Jesus and The Mary Chain when he was growing up.   A large roar from the crowd bellowed across the Forum as the lights dimmed and the track of "999,999" bled into the driving "1,000,000" led by Josh Freese's propulsive drums. Trent Reznor (Vocals/Guitars) was pacing the stage like a caged animal viciously tearing into the songs backed by LCD screens that were screaming as loudly as Trent.   "March Of The Pigs" had easily driven the audience out of their seats as the song served as a call to arms for everyone in the pit to go crazy. "Head Down" didn't give the audience a breather, as it slammed into the audience led by Robin Finck's (Guitars) dreadlocks furiously whipped around in time with the song. Nine Inch Nails started to hit their stride with the instantly recognizable beat of "Closer".   A handful of keyboards and slide guitar were set up for a mini electronic set as they tackled "The Warning" and "Vessel" from the album "Year Zero". The visuals were stunning as you could only see their silhouettes as a stack of red lights throbbed along with the music.   Trent strategically gives the audience a break with a sampling of some selections from his instrumental collection entitled "Ghosts I-IV". I never thought I would see the day that Trent would play a melodica on stage but he manages to pull it off masterfully. "Piggy" is even rearranged as Robin plucks out the opening chords on a mandolin.   The break doesn't last long as they come roaring back with a double shot of "Wish" and "Terrible Lie". Alessandro Cortini (Keyboards) was triggering various samples as he was stationed behind his massive rig of keyboards for "The Hand That Feeds". The subtle political statement of the night was a picture of George Bush that slowly morphed into the visage of John McCain during "The Hand That Feeds". I think it is safe to assume Trent is voting for Obama. "Head Like a Hole" closed out the main portion of the night with the iconic "NIN" logo emblazoned in red for the ultimate cell phone picture moment of the show to text to all of your poor friends who couldn't make the show.   The encore included "Reptile" from "The Downward Spiral" which had a sea of green lights slither across the stage as the mechanical guitars grinded your ear drums. "Hurt" was a gigantic sing along that brought out a few lighters and numerous cell phones to light the arena. "In This Twilight" magnificently capped the evening as a scorched industrial wasteland was projected on the screen behind Nine Inch Nails.  The lyrics had even greater meaning in this election year as Trent sang  "We will find a better place...In this twilight".   Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: My vacation to Europe in 2007 "happened" to coincide with Nine Inch Nails UK tour.

Random Detail: Alessandro Cortini plays a custom made analog synthesizer rig consisting of Livewire modules.

By The Way: Nine Inch Nails will play Las Vegas to close out their second leg of their US tour on December 13th. You can bet I will be there.


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