Posted by Tejus Parikh on August 18, 2008

Sonali won tickets to the Nine Inch Nails show last week for being an absolutely horrible bowler. Another one of her friends won the other set, leaving me reunited with the group that kicked me out of my own house only a few weeks ago. I was extremely excited to go, since I’m not only a huge fan of the music, but also the way Trent Renzor’s been going about his business. If you haven’t been paying attention, his last three albums have been distributed free in some form and you can buy DRM free music direct for really low cost. His willingness to treat his fans like fans instead of potential criminals was enough to make me buy a T-shirt.

[caption id=”attachment_143” align=”alignnone” width=”500” caption=”My dates for the concert (my real date is on the right)”]My dates for the concert[/caption]

The show it self was terrific. Things lead of with Deerhunter, a post rock local band. The tickets we had were in a suite, which rocks for the free food and drink, but is not so great for sight lines and the sound mix. Even so, I was reasonably impressed with them. I wouldn’t mind hearing more of them.

[caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”640” caption=”NIN on stage”]NIN on stage[/caption]

Around 8:45, NIN started and kept rocking past 11:00. Probably the most important guy not in the band was the roadie whose job it was to replace the microphone stand every time Renzor chucked it across the stage.

The concert itself was a three act production. The first and third acts were NIN’s industrial and extremely energetic. They played their standard hits. I was somewhat amused by the girls in the suite cheering wildly for the opening lines of Closer (“I want to violate you…”). The place rocked during these sections, but crowd remained well behaved. I guess that’s a side-effect of having a concert out in the middle-of-nowhere.

For the second act, NIN transitioned to the Ghost’s phase. This involved some very cypherpunk visual effects. This whole section was a musical imagining of a William Gibson Novel.

[caption id=”attachment_144” align=”alignnone” width=”500” caption=”NIN going cypherpunk”]NIN going cypherpunk[/caption]

[caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”640” caption=”Trees”]Trees[/caption]

[caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”640” caption=”Blue”]Blue[/caption]

This was the most visually interesting section, but it didn’t work to well in this environment. I was transfixed, but I like the abstract rock stuff. However, you could tell that a lot of the fans were getting a little bored. I get the feeling that this section is the band’s version of intermission, since it takes a lot less energy and is a bit of a physical breather.

Eventually, they got back to their roots and rounded out their collection of hits. They closed the set with Head Like a Hole, which is still one of my favorites.

[caption id=”attachment_145” align=”alignnone” width=”500” caption=”Closing (before encores)”]Closing (before encores)[/caption]

If they ended the show on that note, I would have been pretty impressed. However, they played some more tricks with their lighted screen and got going again. All told, they were on stage for almost two and a half hours. I left more impressed with the band than when I entered.

I’ve got more not-very good pictures.

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Tejus Parikh

Tejus is an software developer, now working at large companies. Find out when I write new posts on twitter, via RSS or subscribe to the newsletter: