On my list of bands to see before I die, Nine Inch Nails definitely made the cut.
Although I’ve always been a fan of Jane’s Addiction, I honestly never considered them, if only because I didn’t expect to see them tour again after 2004, not to mention with an original line-up.
Well, at June 5th’s show at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ, both bands blew me away, and without knowing it initially, I witnessed what just might’ve been the last hoorah for both genius acts.
To my surprise, Nine Inch Nails was the first to perform on this “co-headlining” tour, opening up with “Home,” “The Beginning of the End,” and “1,000,000.”
While I was totally psyched to see Trent, I could tell that something was off with his energy. Eventually he revealed, “You super fans might notice that I have been making a lot of mistakes; my mind is on other things. I’ll sing the rest of the songs extra good.”
Either way, the crowd was loving it, immersing themselves completely in mud and sweat by mid-set.
“The Line Begins to Blur” and “The Downward Spiral” were personal highlights for me, while the last five tracks of this 20 song-long set were arguably the best of the night.
The ending of “Mr. Self Destruct” led perfectly into “The Day the World Went Away,” followed up by “Physical,” “The Hand That Feeds,” and “Head like a Hole.”
“Bow down before the one you serve,” took on new meaning coming from a mob of roaring fans, and I was extremely pleased that he closed with this song.
Reznor only played two songs from his newest album, The Slip, and I thought the song choices were appropriate ones in case NIN does decide to go on a permanent hiatus after this tour.
Trent’s heaviness played out perfectly for the ethereal vibes to come….
“At this moment, you should be with us, feeling like we do… like you loved to… but never will again…”
It was here when my heart stopped. Perry and the boys came on decided to open up with “Three Days,” arguably the band’s most epic song by any standards.
I don’t think the audience was prepared to be taken to such a state of transcendence after just being rocked out of their angry heads by Reznor. Many around me were puzzled, wiping mud off their knees or shuffling to find fire for a cigarette, but there were choirs of ecstasy ringing in my head for the entire duration of this ten-plus-minute-long song. It was at this point where I wished I had come more prepared with visual enhancements, while Perry shared his first of many interactions with the crowd, requesting, “Let’s be lovers…”
They followed up with “Whores,” “Ain’t No Right,” and “Pigs in Zen,” followed by two more of my favorites, “Then She Did…” and “Up the Beach.”
“Mountain Song,” “Been Caught Stealing,” and “Had a Dad” helped wake up the crowd from their ignorant slumber, especially when Perry asked, “Would you follow us into Hell? … How about Death? Would you follow us into Death?”
“Ted, Just Admit It…” was definitely the most visually enticing moment of the entire show.
Besides the already fascinating backdrop of two naked she-devils and the knowledge that this song was essentially about serial killer Ted Bundy, the band increased theatrics ten-fold by playing a series of repeating images from Natural Born Killers and other provoking stills of smoke, sex and violence, perfectly accompanying Perry’s soft howl of “nothing’s shocking…”
The band re-entered the stage after “Ocean Size” to perform “Summertime Rolls,” and you had to be an absolute fool not to let yourself drown in Navarro’s numbing guitar on this wet June evening. This romantic song of mystic proportions had strangers slow-dancing and individuals lighting joints left and right. Even so-called non-fans were swaying along, (the same ones who said they were going to leave after the NIN set.)
After revving up the crowd again with “Stop!”, the band closed sweetly and softly with an acoustic-laden version of “Jane Says.”
Perry’s vocals were flawless and his stage presence unique and eccentric as ever; not too bad for a 50 year old. Navarro’s skills and dynamic allowed him to slide up on my list of guitar heroes, while bassist Eric Avery, (who hasn’t toured with the band since 91′) easily stole the show.
And while most artists usually bitch about having to play in a shady area like Camden, not to mention play for a bunch of stubborn Philly fans who can make or break you, Perry and the boys handled the crowd surprisingly well, at one point stating, “We love playing here…This is a working man’s town, and we are working men…”
I must say, my only disappointment of the night was Jane’s Addiction not having a longer set…. and all those Trent Reznor wannabe’s whining over the fact that they didn’t hear “Closer.”