Nine Inch Nails – Oracle Arena, San Francisco

20 years have passed since Nine Inch Nails have burrowed into our heads with Pretty Hate Machine and Trent Reznor still seems to be just as angry as he was then. Since NIN didn’t tour the US behind Year Zero they had 6 albums of new material to pull from; the four disc Ghosts and the freebie The Slip. The newly retooled lineup seems to have a new life; with former Beck musical director Justin Meldal-Johnsen helming the low end and Axl Rose‘s guitarist Robin Finck stalking the stage like Aaron North during a seizure.

About halfway into the concert, an LED backdrop was lifted and the band delved into tracks from Ghosts in an acoustic format. With Meldal-Johnsen playing upright bass, drummer Josh Freese on a mini kit and Reznor manning a marimba; they displayed mastery of their instruments as well as the art of dynamics. The screens of LED’s were washed away by a flashlight shifting back to the rock setup and the sensory pummeling resumed. Arena shows lack intimacy and sincerity yet, somehow, this band manages to avoid the cliche and keeps the fans engaged throughout the two hour set. If you have a chance to see this show I highly recommend it, the visual aspect is groundbreaking and the music speaks for itself.

Letting You
March of the Pigs
Head Down
The Frail
Gave Up
Corona Radiata
The Warning
5 Ghosts I
17 Ghosts II
19 Ghosts III
Ghosts Piggy
The Greater Good
Terrible Lie
The Big Come Down
31 Ghosts IV
The Hand That Feeds
Head Like A Hole
God Given
In This Twilight

Nine Inch Nails: website | myspace | virgin mobile fest



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