Live Review: Nine Inch Nails – STAPLESCenter, Los Angeles
Mon, 11 Nov 2013 10:20:51
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Nine Inch Nails tempered technological advancement with raw, real, and rough catharsis at STAPLESCenter on Friday night.
The Tension 2013 tour stands out as the group's best to date as it merges everything so mind-blowing about Trent Reznor's genius vision of a live show into one explosive package.
The bruising brutality of "Wish" from Broken resounded like a bonesaw throughout the arena as the frontman screamed, "I'm on way to hell" over buzzing guitars from Robin Finck and Josh Eustis. Nine Inch Nails can still rage down and dirty with the best of them as evidenced early on by The Slip's "1,000,000" and a rapturously violent "March of the Pigs" fueled by Reznor's venomous delivery and Ilan Rubin's potent percussive pummeling. Not to mention, "Piggy" squealed so beautifully it was downright haunting, giving The Downward Spiral its due.
Meanwhile, the technical ecstasy of the most advanced lighting and stage design in history and Nine Inch Nails' new masterpiece, Hesitation Marks, illuminated the future. "Copy of A" kicked off the evening as the curtain dropped to reveal a transparent screen rig around the band that floated up and down and displayed all kinds of colors and flashes in tandem with the music. "All Time Low", "Disappointed", "Find My Way", and "Various Methods of Escape" showcased just how dynamic Hesitation Marks is live, especially as the flurry of flashes enveloped the band as they writhed behind their instruments, pulling every note out flawlessly. Not to mention, Reznor's own infectious intensity never waned, coursing through the Los Angeles audience and indisputably leaving them begging for more.
Going back to Pretty Hate Machine, "Terrible Lie", "Sanctified", and "Head Like a Hole" roared like it was Woodstock 1994 all over the gun, while "Hurt" closed the evening on a uniquely intense note. A Year Zero gem and Reznor favorite, "In This Twilight", glistened amongst cell phone flashes, shining soulfully.
Tension also highlights just how important The Fragile is. It's Nine Inch Nails most expansive work and one of the greatest albums of all-time. Reznor took to the piano for a poignant and poetic rendition of "The Frail" that slowly rose into a vitriolic and vicious "The Wretched". He screamed each word with pronounced devotion, exorcising those same demons from 1999 all over again but with even more control and confidence. Meanwhile, The Fragile deep cuts such as "The Big Come Down" and "Even Deeper" further strengthened the double album's mythos live, brandishing unbridled energy and emanating an ethereal embrace as dark as it was divine. "Somewhat Damaged" remained the evening's most powerful moment. The guitar crept into a loud and lush crash as Reznor asked, "Where the fuck were you?"
So where was Los Angeles? It was witnessing an unforgettable show for the ages that fused visuals and audio unlike anything before.
Where the fuck were you?
See our review of Hesitation Marks here!
See artists pay tribute to Nine Inch Nails here!