"This is one of my favorite venues to play at and I am honored to be here tonight," says Trent Reznor to the army of anxious NIN fans who attended the sold out show at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Nine Inch Nails is one of a few acts that I have witnessed that makes the concert experience worth the wait. While many have followed the clichés, NIN has managed to create a simple yet interactive way for all of their fans to experience the tour from the beginning to the end. Much of the tour has been captured on the NIN.com website, where fans interact with other NIN fans and receive an opportunity to purchase advance tickets for the shows. I did register myself through the website and managed to get seventh row tickets for the sold-out Colorado show.
Aside from getting amazing seats, I was looking forward to seeing NIN again and witnessing all of the visual effects that many have talked about which seemed to be more elaborate than their last tour for With Teeth. The other part that excited me was witnessing their performance of Ghosts material and the return of Robin Finck who aside from Trent Reznor is one of my favorite NIN members from previous line-ups. That is enough excitement for me right there.
When the band started assembling onstage, "999,999" began playing on the PA which led into "1,000,000" which was followed with "Letting You" and "Discipline". Through all four songs Trent Reznor's energy level was incredible and it almost seemed that he came across as having more energy in this show then when I saw him on the With Teeth Tour. Robin Finck showed the same craziness onstage as he did during the last time I saw him on tour with NIN. It almost seems like he never left. Let's not forget Josh Freese's furious drumming, Alessandro Cortini's hammering on the keyboards and the newest addition Justin Mendal-Johnson who stood on the left stage with his ultra cool stage presence almost like he has been with NIN since the beginning. This is by far one of the best NIN line-ups that Trent has put together.
When it came to the visual aspects of the show, there was much to witness. For the first part of the show the focus was primarily simple and cool special lighting but after they played "Gave Up", the giant screens descended in front of the stage which were similar to the one featured on the With Teeth tour but with extensive upgrades. During most of their songs they played between those screens. The one element that was amazing to watch was when Trent performed "Only" where he was behind the screen and his image was captured on screen as a pin art texture, similar to what was featured on the music video for that song.
The highlight of the night was their performance of Ghosts 5,6,19 and 31. This set met all my expectations and more. Still under the big screens that cover the front of the stage, images of rain and big creepy cypress trees appeared. The sound was flawless as if you were sitting in the studio with the band during the recording of those songs. This was the perfect venue to witness this performance. I must give kudos to Robin Finck for playing that huge wooden flute so amazingly also to Trent for playing the marimba. This night was full of surprises.
I cannot begin to say how impressed I was with the overall concert experience. The set-list was 150% better than the last tour which to me came across as a bit more balanced. There was something for new and old NIN fans which definitely showed when fans began singing along with their favorite NIN songs such as "Head Like a Hole", "Terrible Lie", "Piggy", "Wish" among many others. The sound was flawless and probably was at one of the best venues to witness a show. This tour is a must for any NIN fan old or new. This by far has to have been the best NIN show that I have attended. I am hoping that I have a chance to witness them again in Vegas. We shall see.