New York Gets What They Deserve....
It took awhile to set in that I was actually about to witness a Nine Inch Nails show last night at the Hammerstein Ballroom. It began to come into focus after hearing the lead singer of sometimes inventive/often excruciating, goth-piano rock duo The Dresden Dolls announce, "we'd like to thank Trent Reznor for this opportunity." Weird.
And I'll never admit to being the world's largest NIN fan either; familiar only with the Broken EP, The Downward Spiral, and their singles, but willingly paid up for MMM's extra ticket when he offered it, knowing at the least that the show would not be boring.
And it wasn't. You want lights? How about constant strobes, white hot lights, and a variety of colors not unlike the rig used on Radiohead's Summer '03 tour? Smoke machines? Check. Screaming girls in black tank tops utterly yearning to have sex with Trent Reznor even though they all know he wrote a song about acquiring VD? (MMM's observation, not mine) Check. A skinny, smack addled lead vocalist dressed in black? Not so fast....like David Gahan and Duff McKagan before him, apparently Reznor has traded the needle for dumbbells (or if you're a conspiracy theorist, juice) because dude's huge. He still stalks the stage like a madman, jumping on his guitar player, chucking the mic stand, and wasting numerous bottles of Poland Spring on the first few rows, but his newly cut frame can't help but give his tunes a little more authority.
Despite a sizable contingent of females in the audience (at least 50/50, maybe even 60/40), this was a testosterone heavy gig. OL , MMM , and yours truly had a nice view from the mezzanine, which was cool because there was an unobstructed view of the stage, and a nice take on the sweaty moshing madness occuring below. The band opened with the second song off the recent (and very good) With Teeth, and the audience wasted no time in proving to Reznor that they had actually bought the new album, shouting every word of the expletive laden chorus. There were only 4 songs played off that record (and not even the best one, "Only"), which was a little disappointing because it really is a solid effort that would work onstage. But what the show lacked in newness, it made up for in back catalog, containing all of the expected hits, songs with one word titles like "Piggy" and "Suck", and an unbelievable version of "Gave Up" from Broken that was chased by a crowd-friendly run of "Hurt," "Wish," and "Head Like a Hole." Trash stage, end show, no encore necessary. ROCK.