Live Reviews

Nine Inch Nails – Live

Jane’s Addiction
O2, London

Wave Goodbye‘. It’s printed on the t-shirts, it’s on the tour posters and all over the internet but it’s only when I arrived at the O2 to witness all of this commotion that it starts to actually sink in.

That’s right; Trent Reznor is calling it a day after an amazing twenty year career under the Nine Inch Nails guise. Hard to believe really after such a successful run of amazing albums backed up by years of amazing tours and memorable live shows. But first, the co-headliners.

Opening with ‘Three Days’ Jane’s Addiction seemed to be on a fast track to glory but quickly divert off into a world of just going through the motions. The visible tension between Perry Farrel and Dave Navaro on stage was off putting and took the magic away from their performance despite playing the classics ‘Stop!‘ and ‘Ocean Size‘. As for the encore performance, the band begrudgingly eek out ‘Jane Says’.

Whether it was intentional, letting Reznor and co. reap the glory of their last UK headline show or not, the Jane’s Addiction performance was mediocre at best. It’s a shame because they are capable of so much more and I believe they owed the fans a lot more considering the ticket price alone was pushing the £40 mark. If I wanted to see middle of the road toss I’d pick up a copy of NME magazine. (Oooooh snap!) Either way Jane’s Addiction have seemed to have lost their love for their music and each other.

Nine Inch Nails, performance wise, couldn’t be further removed from their co-headliners. Trent Reznor backed by Robin Finck, Justin Meldal-Johnson and Iian Rubin start to play with the house lights still on, opening with ‘Now I’m Nothing‘ before being plunged into ‘Terrible Lie‘ backed by strobe lighting and a gnarly digital backdrop. Epileptics need not apply.

NIN don’t look like a band of the brink of disbanding. Reznor, the ring leader, conducts the band into a swirling mass, writhing around on a stage which looks more like the bowels of some mechanical hellhound than a band playing the most popular stage in Europe.

Nine Inch Nails plow through an amazing set, blistering through Downward Spiral favorites ‘Heresy’, ‘Reptile’ and ‘March Of The Pigs‘ and even throw in a version of David Bowie’s ‘I’m Afraid Of Americans‘. A full on, industrial, assault on the senses. As if this gig wasn’t special enough Reznor thanked us all for the support over the past twenty years before bringing on none other than Gary Newman for sterling renditions of ‘Metal’ and ‘Cars‘.

NIN come full circle, going back to where it all began with ‘Down In It’ and ‘Head Like A Hole‘ taken from the first full length ‘Pretty Hate Machine‘. Guitars, amps, synthesizers and keyboards are trashed and are thrown around the stage as Nine Inch Nails go out with a bang.

“Everyone I know goes away in the end”. Poignant lyrics from Reznor as he and the band play encore ‘Hurt‘ to close the show. An emotional farewell to a beloved band but there was still resistance from fans who couldn’t understand why Reznor was calling it a day. Wouldn’t you rather see Nine Inch Nails go out on top like they did tonight rather than Reznor dragging is liver spotted corpse across the stage 20 years down the line? I rest my case. Nine Inch Nails gave a performance for the ages tonight. A fitting farewell to an absolutely astonishing band. Thanks for the memories, Trent.

Tom Lindsey