Halloween: The Aftermath–Part 2: DJ D Does the Nine Inch Nails Tour!

Right, so this doesn’t really count as anything to do with Halloween specifically, but a lot of what I’m going to talk about happened during that week, so whatever. Hey, I’m just looking for an excuse to write about it. Over the last few months or so I’ve been lucky enough to see NIN 3 times on their “Lights In The Sky” tour. Some other big events happened too. It went something like this:

Aug. 18th–NIN in Duluth, GA
Oct. 5th–Layed off from my job (insert angry face here)
Oct. 31st–Halloween
Nov. 1st–NIN in Greenville, SC
Nov. 2nd–Birthday
Nov. 3rd–NIN in Greensboro, NC
Nov. 4th–Obama Day

What a week. So, I decided I would share the experience with everyone. The pictures I’m going to post are a mixture from all 3 shows. Honestly, it’s hard to remember which show some of them came from, so I might not really specify, but you know, whatever.

First, let me tell you about the concert going experience for us. I went to all 3 shows with my friend Donna, who’s a huge NIN fan. I was a casual fan before, but am a serious fan now. I gotta say they put on one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen in my life, and I’ve been to quite a few. We vowed that we would get as close as possible. The last few shows I had been to before this we were lucky enough to get really close (7th row to The Cure!). Little did we know our efforts would pay off so well. For all 3 shows we managed to get either presale tickests or general admission tickets and would arrive super early to stand in line for several hours in the freezing cold every time, but it was totally worth it. For all 3 shows we were either right on the rail in the front row, or right behind the people that were, so pretty much front row.

We were noticing that an aquaintance of ours from here in town was showing up to every show we went to. This was going on before we ever went to our first NIN show. Every time we saw him he would always be in the front row. Now being that I’ve been a DJ with a certain amount of contacts and ways of getting things, even I couldn’t get us in the front row every time till now. Thus, he became known to us privately as Rat Bastard. I didn’t know him that well, but now after having seen him and talked to him at the last 4 or 5 shows I’ve been to, RB and I are somewhat friends, although I refuse to call him anything other than that. He’s even listed in my phone as such. Also, at the Duluth show we met a girl who was directly in front of us called Elle, who also knew RB from the NIN shows. We’re pretty good friends with Elle now too. You spend enough time with the same people over and over again at the front row of concerts and you make a few friends. It’s an elite club I’m glad to be a part of. Another friend of ours told us we were becoming the NIN version of Dead Heads, the way we’ve been following them around on tour lately.

Ok, I gotta preface the pics first by saying that NIN has an amazing, groundbreaking screen technology on this tour. I’ve never seen anything like it. They have 2 enormous screens-one behind them and one in front-that are equipped with thousands of tiny lights that are able to be manipulated in order to be completely interactive. Not only can the screens broadcast huge images and patterns and things, but they’re somehow touch sensitive and interactive so that the band members can just walk up to the screens and the colors of the lights will change if they’re touching them or even standing near them. I’ve never seen a more interactive, cool visual at a show. Every image on both screens is perfectly timed to every beat of the music. Here’s a short vid taken from NIN’s YouTube page that illustrates how it works. I recommend watching it before you look at the pics. It helps to make sense of it all:

Ok, on to the pics:

3-keyboards

This is them performing with these 3 small keyboards and one slide guitar in front of the small space between the first screen and the edge of the stage. This was cool cause they were super close then. My crappy camera on the phone doesn’t do it justice because you can’t really get a good feel for exactly how close they were. Plus it has a hard time with bright lights so even though there might have been something cool on the screen behind them it just washes it all out in one big bright light. If you want a better example of what I was trying to capture above, here’s a vid of them playing the same song in Europe:

The next 2 pics are taken from 2 different shows at different angles, but it’s them performing a few songs from what’s called “The Ghost Set”, where they combined several songs into one big flowing one. I think I took these while they were playing “Piggy”, where they used xylophones, a stand up bass, some wood instrument that looked like a recorder, chimes, drums, and a banjo. Yes, I freaking banjo!

ghost-set-2

ghost-set

Here’s a random shot of Robin Finke–amazing guitar player:

robin1

Here’s an example of one of the cool little tricks they did. Trent was behind one of the screens, looking into a small DV camera that someone else was holding. The image the camera was recording was broadcast on the giant screen. It was mostly a closeup of his mouth. At one point, he came out in front of the screen and the guy holding the camera followed him out. This is him, standing in front of the screen, singing and looking into the cam:

nin-blue

Here’s a better version of that, with a better look at the screen, taken from NIN’s website:

trent-mouth

Here’s another cool screen affect. They were playing between the 2 of them, and both had these giant white swirls, like milk flowing through water, going across them. It was really mesmerizing and timed perfectly to the music:

white-swirls

Here’s one of the coolest screen effects of the entire show. Trent is behind the front screen, which is filled with white noise. As he walks toward it, a black hole opens up around him and then follows him everywhere he walks. If he backs away from the screen, it closes again. The effect is illustrated really well in the last part of the first vid I posted above:

only

During the Greensboro show (Nov. 3rd), Trent came out and gave a little speech about how he was in a good mood and that he thought that things were going to change soon. Keep in mind this was the night before the election. He encouraged everyone to go out and vote, and then said something like, “I hope we never have to use the background to this next song ever again.” Then, they played “The Hand That Feeds.” Broadcast on the screen behind them was a HUGE picture of President Bush. During the course of the song, his face slowly morphed into a picture of John McCain. Creepy. Well, I guess Trent (and most of the crowd based on the cheers after he said that) got their wish. So did I. Here it is:

bush1

At the end of every show, before the encore, they bring down the front screen with this. It’s awesome:

red-nin

And then the encore. For the 3 shows I went to, they kind of varied on a couple of the encore songs but they always did “God Given”, “Hurt”, and then ended with “Twilight.” The “Twilight” thing is awesome because it’s always the last song of the show and they play it out by having each member one by one put down their instrument, wave, and walk off stage. They take turns doing this until only Trent is left, playing just a piano with a spotlight on him. He finishes the song, waves, walks off, and thats it. Amazing.

Here’s a shot of Trent singing “Hurt.” If you know the song, you can imagine how powerful it was to be in the front row, all the lights out, and looking around, hearing thousands of people singing it all at once, with lighters thrust into the air:

hurt

And now I present to you the best NIN moment of them all and probably the single best concert moment I’ve ever had. You’re going to have to just take my word on this one cause the only proof I have is this picture and I guess thousands of witnesses. During “Survivalism” at the Greenville show, the band turned a camera on the front row and pointed it at…you guessed it, yours truly! And my friend Donna too. They had the screen behind them split into several smaller screens. In the top left screen, there we were! Our faces were right there for the entire song! I just about lost my shit. We had other friends who were there seated in other places in the coleseum and both our phones lit up with texts from them screaming at us that they could see us on screen. I spent that entire song dancing with a big dopey grin on my face for the whole place to see.

I tried to take a few pics and this was actually the best I could get. I know you can’t make out much, but see that thing that looks like two hands holding up a phone?…Well those are my hands. That fuzzy lump just to the left of my arms is Donna. I pinky swear all to God this is true. Just ask the few thousand other people who were there. My cheap little phone camera just didn’t like all that black and white noise in the picture and wouldn’t get a good image. Best concert moment ever:

survivalism

After that show was over, we met up with another friend who was there named Weenie. Yep, that’s her name. Every time I run into her on Halloween I have to resist the urge to say “Happy Halloweenie!” She’s used to it and also sick it of by this point. Anyway, Donna, Weenie, and Weenie’s friend and I all ended up going to a really cool late night restaurant/bar that Weenie knew about. The show was on the night of Nov. 1st and ended about 11:30ish or so. My B-Day was on the 2nd. Donna and I realized that midnight hit while we were driving to the restaurant. They had this really fun little country/folksy band playing there and someone in our group told them that it was my b-day so they played “Happy Birthday” for me and everyone in the bar sang along. It was awesome. I ate a really great burger (amazing for late night bar food), and we all sat and talked for a long time before hitting the road to make the long drive back to Columbia. I tried to take some pics in there, but it was so dark none of them came out. Anyway, it was an amazing birthday all around. The day after, I saw NIN again in Greensboro. And the next day, new president.

Like I said…what a week.

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5 Responses to “Halloween: The Aftermath–Part 2: DJ D Does the Nine Inch Nails Tour!”

  1. man. you’ve got me thinking about how long it’s been since i’ve been to a concert. esp since there was no ozzfest this year. i think the last show i saw was korn and it was pretty meh. i don’t hate them, but i think it was my second time in a year or something like that. k i just looked it up and it was 10/01/07 and now i remember we pretty much went to see hellyeah that second time.

    if you’re ever in wi, you have to see a show at the rave/eagles ballroom in milwaukee. http://www.therave.com it’s spectacular.

  2. Great pics. Sounds like you had an awesome time. Wish I could’ve gone to the NIN concert! 😛

  3. I can’t even tell you the last concert I went to!! Sounds like you had one helluva week though!! Glad you had a good b-day!

  4. As a child of the 90s, I’ve always felt obligated to see NIN in concert. Saw Stone Temple Pilot while in college, to this day no band has ever been able to top them, NIN might do the trick!

  5. Amy–Good to see you around here. Thanks for stopping by! If I’m ever in WI I’ll look you up.

    DC–Yeah, it was awesome. Wish you could have gone too. That would have been a scene. I’m sure there was some alcohol to be had there. You know, if that sweetens the pot a little.

    Dan–Yeah, it really was. It was a pretty amazing way to spend my birthday.

    Tresjolie9–I never saw them back then either. I missed a lot of great bands back then that I’m still kicking myself over. I’d do anything to go back and see Nirvana or Soundgarden or Alice in Chains back then, not to mention Metallica around ’89 or so, back when they were in their prime. I saw NIN for the FIRST time a few years ago when Bauhaus opened up for them. Bauhaus is one of my top 3 favorite bands of all time so I was really there to just see them. I could have left after they were done and been happy, but NIN did put on an amazing show. I’ve now seeen them 4 times. Yeah, you should catch them on this tour if there’s still time. I think they’ll blow Stone Temple Pilots out of the water. Thanks for stopping by!

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