Monday, June 8, 2009

Nine Inch Nails - Live 6.6.09 - Holmdel, NJ

It is quite possible that my seventh time seeing Trent and company could be my last NIN show. While my fingers are crossed for a reunion, I don't know if NIN could ever top the experience they created this past Saturday night. Having my brother with me for his first NIN show made a special night even better.

We were nestled under the pavilion hood, in seats just behind and to the left of the soundboards. Optimum position for maximum volume. Street Sweeper Social Club started it off, unremarkable except for Morello who has cemented his position in my mind as a guitar master. Boots Riley repeated between songs, "We're not a band, we're a social club." That was starting to become annoying by the end of their 45 minute set.

Immediately after SSSC left the stage, the enormous NIN crew began setting up. Seriously, there were like 30 people scrambling around on the stage. The sun started to go down and the opening notes of "Pinion" penetrated through the thick fog. The crowd roared and the band launched into "Wish." They've played this everytime I've seen them, but never started with it. The energy in the sold-out ampitheater was ridiculous. The breakneck pace continued when "Wish" morphed into "Last." They rarely play this song and I was not expecting it at all. Surprise!

The newer material was scattered throughout the setlist, but the real crowd-pleasers were the classics. I was exploding with excitement when "March of the Pigs" went into "Reptile." I had all of my fingers crossed for that one since I hadn't seen it performed since '05. Score!

This show was just a constant assault of greatness. Trent (sporting red leather pants by the way) confirmed that this was to be the last tour, that they weren't done, just not touring anymore. He also shared that he wanted this tour to be outside venues because he loved playing as the sun set. I usually prefer arenas for NIN, but I wouldn't change a thing about this show. Especially not after "Gave Up>La Mer>Non-Entity>The Way Out Is Through>fucking Mr. Self Destruct." Mindblowing.

The cooldown after that onslaught was when it really hit me that I may never see NIN again. When the whole crowd was singing along during "Head Like A Hole," I started getting a little verklempt. By the time they came out for the "Hurt" encore, tears were welling up. NIN's concerts are unparalleled, and I'm saddened by the thought of an indefinite amount of time without that spiritual cleansing. There are plenty of other bands to help fill the void, but there is nothing that can compare to Nine Inch Nails.

Jane's Addiction helped lighten my post-NIN mood, although I didn't have much energy left and the beers I pounded in the parking lot had definitely worn off. Their first song was "Three Days" and Dave Navarro unleashed some ridiculous guitar solos. I had forgotten how good he is at what he does (and also didn't remember what a sexy beast he is). Everytime he soloed, it was technically perfect. Very impressed by him.

I love Perry, always have, and it was amusing to watch him battle with Navarro for the spotlight. I later heard that he has a severe leg injury, but he didn't show it at all. He must be on some powerful pills. He was jumping and sliding around the stage like he didn't have a pain in the world. Hope he doesn't cause irreparable damage. He is a true showman in every sense of the word, fusing elements of Iggy Pop and Mick Jagger and a uniqueness of his own.

Highlights from JA's set were "Ain't No Right," "Mountain Song," and "Ocean Size." By the encore, I was ready to get a headstart on traffic. I'm sad to say I heard "Stop" while walking to my car (which was at least a frigging mile away ugh). I missed "Jane Says" entirely. While that sucked, I quickly forgot when I sunk my teeth into a Baconator and finally had dinner at midnight.

All in all, it was a tremendously unforgettable night. Best concert of '09 without a doubt. All subsequent shows (this year and beyond) will have big shoes to fill.

NIN Setlist
March of the Pigs
Meet Your Master
Gave Up
La Mer
The Way Out Is Through
Mr. Self Destruct
The Good Soldier
The Hand That Feeds
Head Like A Hole

JA Setlist
Three Days
Ain’t No Right
Pigs In Zen
Then She Did…
Up The Beach
Mountain Song
Been Caught Stealing
Ocean Size
Ted, Just Admit it…
Summertime Rolls
Jane Says

***Disclaimer: Not my pictures. Got 'em from MaebeFunke on Flickr.***