|Concert Review: Nine Inch Nails @ Champaign-Urbana's Assembly Hall (02/10/2006)
||[Feb. 12th, 2006|11:15 am]
|||||]\[i]/[ - 13 - Right Where it Belongs [With Teeth]||]|
The opening band was a group called "Moving Units". They played a short, thirty-minute set, and freely acknowledged that they knew that most people were there to see NiN, as opposed to them. Still, they put on a decent show, despite the lead singer having a rather nasty cold (on the first show of 15 for them supporting - ouch!). Perhaps it was for that reason that the mixers almost muffled him... but the drummer showed some very clear talent, laying down some very fast and complicated beats that sounded suspiciously like techno. Not a bad opener - I'm definitely checking out their music, and if you want to, their website is right here.
It took the crew another thirty minutes to get the stage cleared and set for Trent and company, so the audience twiddled their thumbs for a bit. They started off with the intro to Pilgrimage, leading into Mr. Self Destruct (not an opener I've heard them use before), and went straight into a fairly long set of older stuff. One interesting twist was when they stuck the main guitar riff from The Only Time into the later part of Closer (and, of course, Trent was on guitar). It was also nice to hear them play Burn, which I've never heard live before - not all of the audience recognized it at first, but the chorus is rather simple to pick up, so they were chanting along with Trent before long.
The mid-point was a bit of a break for the band, with the curtain coming down for a Help Me I Am In Hell/Eraser/Right Where It Belongs montage, with video of monkeys attacking each other, money being printed, oil pumps pumping, nuclear explosions, and politicians dancing... finishing with a shot of G.W. Bush and company doing a waltz... At that point, most of the audience either laughed or cheered - I attempted both.
After that break, they spun into their newer material, playing most of With Teeth as well as several cuts off of The Fragile, but also stuck in some older stuff - Head Like A Hole and Wish, for example. They closed out the show with a bang, and Trent made a confession that he was a bit nervous, as this was the first night of the tour - and that he'd been in the back puking into a bucket during the break. He also said that he's already started writing the new album - woo!
The stage antics were fairly standard; Trent threw water bottles at the audience and doused his bandmates a few times, too. He ran into the drum set once and K.O.'d a keyboard early on, and at the end, smashed a couple of guitars and tossed them into the audience for souveniers.
The light show was particularly impressive. I wasn't close enough to see exactly how it was done, but they had a projection screen behind the band, which they frequently used to project digital bars, similar to a spectrum analyser, and it was in fact pulsing with the music. There was also (as I mentioned) a curtain in front that they used for several songs as a front projector, and combined it with the rear screen and spots in-between for some very cool shots. Plenty of strobes and floods as well - all in all, quite an impressive mixture.
The show - overall - was spectacular. This being the first show of the tour, Trent and company were as well-rested as they could be - they'd have to be to put on the two hour set that they did! And there was no sign of any slop, either - perfect form (except for a malfunctioning mic that Trent threw at the crew once) all over; everything worked. Nine Inch Nails put on an extremely professional, high-energy show that left me (and the rest of the audience) quite happy.