In the magazine, this piece is accompanied by a veryverycool in-concert photo of TR (credit to B.J. Papas). The lights have turned him all blue, like a Smurf.
Threads deteriorate, pantheons rise and fall, people are no damn good - but the clerks will always be left to their own business. Even the not-officially-employed ones. I love my job. -- KT (i just work here, man)
_Guitar School_, May 1995
THE PIT: Nine Inch Nails
Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY
December 9, 1994
Nine Inch Nails' powerful stage antics and brash music has been thrilling club and theater audiences since 1990, making the band the premier industrial-rock act on the underground circuit. But it's not just Goths and punkers going to NIN shows anymore. The band's latest album, _The Downward Spiral_, with its radio and MTV hits, has opened NIN's music to a huge mainstream audience. Trent Reznor & Co. is now an *arena band* (a rarity in alternative circles, and all but unheard of for an industrial outfit).
So how would Nine Inch Nails, with a stage show tailor-made for small theaters, fare in an arena the size and stature of New York's Madison Square Garden? Well, things didn't look promising from the opening act's performance. The Jim Rose Circus Sideshow, a blast to see in a small theater or club, was just dwarfed by the Garden's massive stage. But when Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails made their entrance, they squashed any and all fears of the band being overwhelmed by the size of the venue. Unlike most arena rock acts, which *require* a mammoth light show and set to take control of a big hall, the Nine Inch Nails went straight for the jugular with their music, rendering 19,000 people dazed, helpless and loving every minute of the onslaught.
Delivering a good stage show is generally no great feat (nothing a few expensive props can't handle), but the ability to completely take over a giant venue is a rare quality in rock today. While NIN's overuse of pulsating lights, dense smoke and a set of ancient ruins gave the band instant stage presence, its true power as a live act was quickly realized as all persons within earshot became slaves to the hypnotic force that projected off the stage and ricocheted throughout the arena.
Driving, energetic guitar songs like "Wish," "Mr. Self Destruct" and "March of the Pigs" beat audience members into submission, while claustrophobic mind-fucks like "Piggy," "Closer" and "Dead Soul" sent an eerie chill throughout the venue. But regardless of the brand of medicine being administered, the captivatingly wild (borderline violent) antics of frontman Trent Reznor never allowed the audience--or his band--to slip from his grasp. Or for that matter, breathe.
Midway through this thermonuclear explosion of a concert, a massive, translucent movie screen descended from high above the band, shielding the entire stage from view. For the twenty minutes that followed, the audience was assaulted from all angles by a disturbing collection of film clips while the band droned on in the background. Animals decomposing in black and white time-lapse photography, scenes of human death and destruction, war, the Holocaust and just about any other atrocity ever caught on film was flashed on the screen with machine-gun quickness. It wasn't long before everyone in the Garden stood there, eyes firmly fixated on the screen and jaws to the floor, unable to turn away from the cinematic horror--and practically unaware that the band was still playing.
And when the smoke finally cleared, people filed out of the Garden feeling as though they had been assaulted continuously for two hours--and knowing full well that they had just witnessed the most spectacular arena show to hit New York City in years.
(dash thirty dash, or something)
Copyright 1995 by Harris Publications, Inc.
This is an exact transcription. All grammar, spelling, syntax, randomly variable subsequent references, etc. are typed as printed and are not my own.
Attentive readers will know what to do next.
Thank you for staying tuned. Our bonus track begins here.
Tom Maurstad of _The Dallas Morning News_ apparently was not permitted to review the February show for that paper, probably because they didn't want anyone to start thinking Tom was on the NIN payroll. However, he did write this advance in that Friday's Weekend Guide (2/10/95):
PREVIEW: NINE INCH NAILS
Hot band is no secret here
When Nine Inch Nails plays at the Fair Park Coliseum on Saturday, it will be the band's third show in Dallas in less than a year. It is also the third time in less than a year that tickets have sold out the day they went on sale.
The mainstream press (excepting a few music magazines and, of course, this newspaper) may have discovered NIN leader Trent Reznor at Woodstock when he ascended to the throne over a mud-caked nation. But rock's newest hero built his career and his fandom the old-fashioned way: He has toured relentlessly, putting on the kinds of shows that people were still buzzing about weeks (months, whatever) later.
Dallas has always been a hot spot for Mr. Reznor and company to play, and since Nine Inch Nails has hit _People_-magazine-popularity, the spectacle has only intensified. A clash of audiences -- first-time scene-hoppers, hard-core faithful, radio listeners, mosh jocks -- pile on top of each other. Get there early, as the crowd is its own show before the show. Surfers ride the floor's sea of heads and are flung high as those packed into stands cheer them on.
And at some point the coliseum will darken, the stage will burst with noise and light, and the rest of the world will disappear.
(dash thirty dash, and i really mean it this time)