I saw Nine Inch Nails last night in Camden, NJ with daughter Eva and our friend Ken. She is a dedicated fan, and she considers it an accomplishment to take me to see them. Him. Trent Reznor.
I’m really still an outsider to his music, but I do appreciate it, and I do enjoy it. Anger, atheism and in-your-face language are prominent elements; I’m only formerly angry so it’s a stretch. And if you’ve read my Dear Blank you know my stance on language. And God. God Box
NIN is important to Eva. That’s why I was there. We both find music necessary. To listen passively to music and then let it go is incomprehensible to both of us. We must understand what is being said, how it’s being said, what influenced the artist to say it, and evaluate the effectiveness of his methods. Then we must choose to reject or to internalize it.
In My Concert Shoes I discussed the importance of sharing concert experiences with my daughters. Yo, they’re the most fun people I know.
Reznor’s music is refreshingly honest. No teenage poser angst. Doubtful but still questioning, anger and despair in the search for answers. Sometimes a dialogue with God, though it may be an angry one. Drug abuse, exhaustion and recovery have influenced the work. All is expressed in the most concise manner possible.
Artistic integrity is rarer than it should be. It sounds great.
He’s done an interesting thing. Trent Reznor has founded a genre which he still owns. You recognize a song by NIN without being told; nobody sounds like NIN. Reznor has branded NIN like no one has branded anything. (My daughter can explain his marketing genius.) But he has managed to keep the focus on the music rather than on his celebrity.
It was an amazing show. Soundgarden and all their pyramids opened, finished, lights went up, stage was re-set. Half the audience outside getting drinks, Trent Reznor walked unannounced across the stage to the mike, and began. Drummer started playing and drum set wheeled over, other band members joined. Then the lights went down.
There was no doubt that Trent Reznor was in control of the room.
Powerful, relentless, energetic sound. It is the most aggressive performance I’ve ever experienced. There are no breaks in the music or the visuals, no time to catch your breath. It is an onslaught. I felt assaulted. But after all, it’s only music, so nobody gets hurt.
The visual show is even more an assault. Each and every song has a visual concept of its own. It’s gorgeous and overwhelming. There was a time I had to lower my head and close my eyes but I could still see the flashing lights. Moving light panels meticulously choreographed. A light show in turn sultry, somber, blinding, dazzling, frenetic. The visual effects alone were worth the price of the show.
I sincerely apologize for my pictures.
Thank you Eva! Thanks Ken!