After seeing Nine Inch Nails play its second to last show in New York on the Wave Goodbye tour, it was more than obvious that Trent Reznor is leaving at the top of his game. The club show at Terminal 5 in Manhattan was a straight-up, brutally beautiful attack on the audience’s eyes and ears.
Before NIN hit the stage, however, the crowd was treated to the alternative style of The Horrors. With a unique sound that combines garage rock with shoegaze, singer Faris Badwan spent most of the concert in full goth star mode. His vocals sounded like a harder version of Robert Smith, which meshed surprisingly well with the groups juxtaposed sound.
When 9 p.m. rolled around, the stage filled with fog as Robin Finck, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Ilan Rubin, and Trent Reznor took the stage. After opening with Home, the band really moved ahead with Terrible Lie. The audience of 3,000 screamed out the lyrics as a mosh pit quickly formed in the middle of the club. Reznor ended the song by screaming out the final lyrics and knocking over his microphone with his guitar. This on-stage brutality only doubled during “March of the Pigs”, which had the ill-tempered frontman chucking his mic stand behind the drum set. He may be pushing 50, but Reznor has more energy than most other frontmen who are in their 20s.
The rest of the main set fiddled about the band’s entire discography — everything from Pretty Hate Machine, to their free 2008 release, The Slip. After about an hour, Reznor told a story about Nine Inch Nails earliest shows in 1990. While he claimed that they were pretty bad, he remembered that one of the first artists to give him a chance was Godfather of Goth, Peter Murphy. The Bauhaus singer then came out to nearly deafening applause. He joined Nine Inch Nails for Reptile and two covers, Bauhaus Kick In The Eye and Joy Division’s Dead Souls.
While the hits were well represented throughout the show’s entirety, the band treated even the most hardcore of its fans. Songs such as Wish, Eraser, The Fragile, and 1,000,000 delivered the same punch as the bigger hits, thanks to the band’s unchecked enthusiasm.
By the time NIN closed their show with Hurt, they had played for more than two hours and gone through every stage of their now 20-year career. Reznor thanked all his fans for their loyalty over the years before playing the emotional song. When the song ended, he simply left with a wave.
Even though Reznor may be exiting stage left out of fear of becoming a parody, it seems like theres no chance of that ever happening. Hes managed to stay relevant long after all his peers have fallen by the wayside. And while its a shame that hes decided to leave, at least hes giving his fans what they want for one final time.
The Beginning of the End
March Of The Pigs
The Line Begins To Blur
I’m Afraid of Americans
The Big Come Down
The Way Out Is Through
Kick In The Eye
The Hand That Feeds
Head Like A Hole
The Day The World Went Away
Photo support courtesy Jeff…