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Nine Inch Nails Mohegan Sun Arena, Saturday October 12th 2013

Nine Inch Nail’s Colorful Show

Nine Inch Nails’ live show is a most complete and mind-blowing visual blitzkrieg. Taking the stage, three by three arrays of lights drop directly above each band member, baths of spooky, pulsing strobes. As the first song launches into action, guitarist Justin Eustis steps into a punk rock lounge, and front-man Trent Reznor shifts back and forth with the mic stand.

Staggered with broken up blasts of light, the fragmented strobe presentation paralyzes the wide eyes of the audience. Trent’s theatrical gesticulation is most prominent as “March of the Pigs” reaches the chorus. He pretends to pull away the skin of his face, armed stretched wide in the weightless moment before the riff recommences, fingers spread. The stark lighting and monochromatic display of the first three songs comes to a close as green spots slither in for “Reptile”, with the entire band doubled over with the belly-laden crawl of the song’s sludgy riff.

Later on, two cages of lights parallel to the edge of the stage separate the band from itself and even the audience. Out of nowhere the color blue crashes the party, uninvited in a sea of black-clad concert-goers and band members. Two women enter and stand to Reznor’s left, moving and grooving along with the music, and adding in overlapping and resolving vocals of all varieties. This addition to the lineup was not the only surprise, for each band member handled at least three instruments throughout the show, many of which the average audience member would not even be able to identify. Ilan Rubin, drummer extraordinaire, even picked up a ukulele for one song, standing meekly in the confines of his elaborate drum set.

Handling the set up and take down of each number, the technical team operated seamless, jumping onto the stage in a couple seconds of darkness to allow for instrument changes and the packing of the elaborate ensemble for the next night. At one point, early in the show, Trent’s microphone toppled over, and an unnoticed assistant vaulted onstage, righted the microphone stand, and leaped back down, all in time for Trent to finish his verse.

The entire Nine Inch Nails production was not only industrial in sound, but industrial in operation. With all troubles attended to, the band was free to play as they please, Reznor starring as the grooving goth pop diva of a tainted dream. The bouncers themselves were bouncing to the arresting rhythms. In the end, it seems impossible that an attendee could have left the concert with a complaint. During the encore, Trent introduced each of his fellow band members from the bottom of his heart, with a tone of voice conveying that he was truly honored to be onstage with each and every one of them. The cult leader of the chanting and bowing crowd dropped down to earth to deliver his heartfelt alms before closing the show with the most chilling performance of “Hurt”: as in, let me tell you that concert was so bombastic that it hurt.

Leaving the stadium, each concert-goer had been treated to a performance that will remain Nine Inch Nailed into their memory for the rest of their lives.


Nine Inch Nails Set:
copy of a
terrible lie
march of the pigs
all time low
came back haunted
find my way
the frail / the wretched
in two
a warm place
somewhat damaged
the hand that feeds
head like a hole
the day the world went away
even deeper
while I’m still here

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