They also played rare cuts off The Fragile album such as “The Day The World Went Away”, “The Way Out Is Through” and “The Fragile”, as well. Having only played a few of these tracks in previous tours, this was a nice treat. It was awesome to hear the guitar harmony in the “The Day The World Went Away” performed live. The ending “nah na na nah” chant could have been used as a break down sing-a-long for the crowd, but the crowd in Irvine was either too jaded or didn’t know the song or both. The last time they played “The Way Out Is Through” was on the original “Fragile” tour 9 years ago and only 2 or 3 times on this tour, so it was a pleasant surprise to hear that one.
Some other rare tracks that Nine Inch Nails brought to the table that evening was “Metal” and “Gone, Still”. “Metal” is a Gary Numan cover that is on the ep remix album Things Falling Apart. This song has never been performed live before this tour and I believe if he does tour again he will rarely play this one. The biggest hidden treat of the night was the song “Gone, Still”. This was on his album Still which can only be bought by going here, itunes or by purchasing the hard to find deluxe version of his live album And All That Could Have Been. It’s basically as close as to an unplugged Nine Inch Nails album that you can get and one of my favorites. It has unplugged versions of many tracks and it would have been cool if he had played “The Becoming” version off this album instead or the last two tracks “The Persistance of Loss” or “Leaving Hope” because they feature some magical moments. However, even having heard this little gem was really something special. Even fewer people know about these tracks, but he still played them for his fans.
Before jumping into “The Fragile”, Trent said “So you know, we’re not playing any hits tonight”. Somehow, he still did but not many hits. He left off “Closer” from this entire tour so far and only occasionally playing “Hurt”. He did play “Wish”, “March Of The Pigs”, “Survivalism”, “The Hand That Feeds”, and “Head Like A Hole” to please the non-hardcore fans as well. “Wish” was played extremely well and the current line up delivered an exceptional performance.
This is likely his best line up to date, there were no weak links in the chain. The drummer Ilan Rubin played a double-bass motorcycling riff at the end of “Wish”. Filling in for bands link NOFX, he had the chops to put all other drummers to shame. Playing since he was 8 years old, Ilan is only 20 years old and is best drummer I’ve seen live in a while. Robin Finck has been on and of with Nine Inch Nails, since The Downward Spiral days. He was recently in Guns N’ Roses, but with Axl Roses random schedule and ultra long down time, Robin rejoined Nine Inch Nails and brought back the immediate familiar sound. He can be seen on The Closure and All That Could Have Been dvds. Finally, the new bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen has been playing since he was 12 years old. He’s 39 years old, but looks like a 19 year old on stage. His clothes and demeanor are of that of youngster and his playing was great. He has played with the greats such as Beck, The Mars Volta, and Garbage. With such a unique setlist each night, I’m sure he had to spend hours rehearsing for this tour. Being in a band myself, just trying to get two or three people on the same page for even one song is a lot of work let alone 27 halos (halos = Nine Inch Nail releases LP, EP and singles). I just wish to see footage of how he rehearses some day.
The intensity in Trent’s face was apparent all through his set this night. All his shows previously had a similar amount of intensity, but this night he seemed to have an added extra. Almost like he wanted to give it his all cause you know it’s not going to happen again type of performance. He didn’t do an encore and didn’t really need to. He cut back on his light show and limited the band to the basics guitar, bass, and drums. Leaving just the music and delivering a hell of a performance. Irvine Meadows was fortunate to host one band of this intensity, let alone two. Thank you Trent for an amazing performance and I hope to “wave goodbye” … for now.
1. Now I’m Nothing
2. Terrible Lie
5. March Of The Pigs
9. The Becoming
10. Mr. Self Destruct
11. The Fragile
12. Gone, Still
13. The Way Out Is Through
16. The Day The World Went Away
17. The Hand That Feeds
18. Head Like A Hole
Check out the LA Weekly slideshow of the concert here