Let's just put this out there right now: Trent Reznor never retired.
OK, yeah, Trent Reznor took Nine Inch Nails out of the touring business for a few years while he got married and won an Oscar and did a whole bunch of other neato stuff. But last night's show at Chaifetz Arena proved that, despite the time off, the man never really left the stage. During the third stop on NIN's "Tension" tour, Reznor's "comeback" ended up being an exhilarating "come again."
And we almost missed it, dammit.
No, really. The delivery service that was supposed to put press passes into our grubby hands sent us on a wild goose chase until the last possible moment, ensuring that our own pretty hate machine was in full effect by the time we walked into Chaifetz. But since "Federal" is part of the delivery company's name, we can only surmise that this idiocy was a result of the government shutdown. THANKS, OBAMA!
Whatever. Reznor and his stagemates made us forget how stupid the government is as soon as the house lights went out at 8:48 p.m. With each band member coming out individually and encased in their own "isolation booths" of red and white light at their stations, Nine Inch Nails opened the show with "Copy of A," the second single from August's Hesitation Marks. Reznor's bulging biceps seemed even beefier than when we last saw him during the "Lights in the Sky" tour back in 2008, and he used them to pump the microphone stand as if he were jacking up a car.
The floor crowd hadn't shown much excitement during the first song, but "1,000,000" hit the audience hard. With its guitars sounding like buzzsaws, the angry song whipped concertgoers into shape. Alessandro Cortini had a mad-scientist thing happening at the side of the stage, as lightning and strobes hit the screen around him while he mashed his keyboards.
Reznor didn't speak much at all during the show, but he shouted "Yes!" before picking up the guitar next for "Terrible Lie." He can be a difficult person to read, but Reznor's constant bouncing suggested an enthusiasm for his return to touring. Flashing black and white backlights accompanied most of the performance, with the stage going dark and Reznor standing in the spotlight as he sang the quiet, painful bridge: "Don't take it away from me. I need someone to hold on to." The energy went back up for the raging outro as Reznor stomped and panted while screaming: "You fucking promised me!"
"March of the Pigs" was predictably frenzied. With yellow strobes exploding behind him, drummer Ilan Rubin bashed his kit with a ferocity that perfectly matched Reznor's rage. The pit crowd raved, and Reznor became so animated that he knocked his mic stand off the stage. The NIN lead man seemed to have his own beef with the government, as he paused and laughed while singing, "Doesn't that make you feel better? The pigs have won tonight. They can all sleep soundly, and everything is all right." (THANKS, OBAMA!)
Continue for more heart-pounding goodness and the setlist.
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