In the early nineties I got a photo assignment for my college paper to cover a Nine Inch Nails show at this tiny theatre in Boston's Back Bay. I had listened to Pretty Hate Machine a million times over but hadn't seen them live. I had no idea what I was in for... At one point the crowd went so crazy that the security guards pulled me over to their side to protect me so I could do my job. They even let me stay there after the third song, which was a wicked bonus. That night I fell in love with Trent Reznor. Trent may not move around the stage like Bono, but he had a presence about him that commanded attention. His energy was intense and focused. The sound enveloped me and transported me to another realm without time or worry. I was hooked.
Shortly thereafter I got to see NIN at a larger arena in Boston that was absolutely insane. Security guards roamed the seated floor area forcing people to dance only directly in front of their seats. I can't even tell you how many times I was yelled at for dancing a little too wildly and spilling out into the aisle. So when a cardboard sign with the words "Rush the Stage" made its way back to me, I did just that. I found myself on the opposite side of the mosh pit, this time lamenting my lack of a photo pass. However, a very large dude approached me asking, "You want to go up?" and before I could answer, "No!" I was hoisted up into the air and passed forward. I thought I was going to die. I was also very thankful I was wearing pants. Suddenly I was dropped to floor, accidentally kicked a guy in the head, was nearly punched in the face by said guy until he realized I was a girl, and, once all was settled, found myself front and center to Trent Reznor once again. Oh, I was in Heaven. Sweaty and bruised in Heaven, but in Heaven nonetheless.
Not too long after that, I found myself at the front again -- this time with camera -- for NIN at Woodstock '94. However, the crowd was even crazier and I was eventually pulled out after being severely beaten by some jerk behind me.
I took a break from NIN after that.
I still loved Trent live, but I was over the fans. I'm just not that into being kicked, punched, pinched, and slammed all because someone else feels they deserve the coveted 'rail' spot more than I.
However, when I recently heard Trent decided to end Nine Inch Nails I thought, "Well, fuck the fans, I gotta see him live one last time!"
And, despite that one drunk bitch who thought she deserved my coveted rail spot, I am so glad I braved the mosh pit one last time... Trent hasn't lost it one bit in twenty years. He is as amazing live as he ever was, if not moreso now after all these years of touring.
The thing that I noticed the most this last time round was his emotion. Perhaps it's because he is waving goodbye, but it just seems like he was pouring every bit of himself into every song. By the end of the set I was emotionally spent, tears spilling from my eyes as he sang a heartfelt Hurt. The gal next to me said, "Oh he got you, too. I must have seen Hurt 20 times now and he never got me like he did this time."
I am saddened that I may never have a chance to see NIN live again but incredibly grateful I made the trek to Vegas to catch NIN|JA and I urge you to do the same. Heck, if NIN isn't enough for you, then original line-up Jane's Addiction should win you over. I mean, who can't sing along to Been Caught Stealin'?
Also, as a side note, if you have a little extra money you can donate to a cause and get a meet/greet opportunity with the band. I would SOOO do this if I could!!! Help Eric