Alessandro Cortini

Live Review: Nine Inch Nails at Santa Barbara Bowl

It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen Nine Inch Nails (this was number 19), I’m always left speechless at the end of their shows. It’s more than just a band playing a show to me. There is so much more to it and the level at which Trent and Company perform at is astounding. Plus seeing them at the Santa Barbara Bowl makes it a little more special as that venue has it’s own cool, mystic vibe with it being tucked away in the hill and the sound there is just incredible.

The night was perfect for this show. The cool night air coming off the pacific was coming in creating this very distinct atmosphere that was shaping up for something to explode, and that it did. As the clock struck 8:15 pm the rumble began and out came Mr. Self Destruct right out of the gate like they just released the bulls in the streets of Spain. Then the assault kept coming as “Wish,” “Last,” and “March Of The Pigs” utterly destroyed and decimated the audience. Then came “Piggy” which has always been a live favorite of mine. There was something about this version of “Piggy” that hit a bit harder than usual. Perhaps it’s all the things going on with me but, I keep having “Nothing Can Stop Me Now” repeating in my head as a mantra and I hope that doesn’t go away.” Then Trent moved along to “The Lovers” a track off their EP, Add Violence that hits so well live. It’s a song with tinges of the Pretty Hate Machine era mixed with a bit of a Fragile vibe. Next up is where I’m pretty sure I lost my voice as The Frail/The Wretched were played. I apologize to the guy next to me but, something came over me and I was in another place while screaming my lungs out during that song. And it didn’t help my voice much after that song as NIN charged into one of my favorites from The Downward Spiral, “Reptile.” After that there was a bit of break with the inclusion of a really great live version of “God Break Down The Door” and “Copy Of A.” The one song I could have done without and gave me a break was “Closer.” Then a quick talk with the audience with Trent saying “now how bout we play a sad song” and then they broke out “This Isn’t The Place” which is one of my favorite newer songs. It’s such a beautiful song that really hits you in the feels. Listen to it and you’ll hear it. Then another eruption happened with “Heresy” and right into one of my top 5 NIN songs of all time “The Perfect Drug.” As the night was winding down we got a very rocking (almost extended) version of David Bowie’s “I’m Afraid Of Americans,” a heavy hard charging “Gave Up” into the closing staples of “The Hand That Feeds” and “Head Like A Hole.” For the encore, I couldn’t have been more elated to have “Even Deeper” be part of it. I love that song. Finally, the end came and “Hurt” closed it out.

I’ve seen now seen Nine Inch Nails 19 times and each of them have been their own experience. It’s truly something remarkable to have seen a band this many times in the 22 years since the first time, and still walk out of the show like it’s something fresh and new. Trent Reznor never disappoints. The songs are classic and timeless. On a performance level, to be able to go out there and still give it everything they have each night, on top of the intricate lights, and other behind the scenes work, makes each Nine Inch Nails tour and show special. I will go every chance I get to see this band. Thank you Nine Inch Nails for all the years of amazingness! I will see you again very soon!

Review and Photos: Brian Lacy

PHOTOS: NINE INCH NAILS- Live at the Santa Barbara Bowl

SET LIST:

01) Mr. Self Destruct
02) Wish
03) Last
04) March Of The Pigs
05) Piggy
06) The Lovers
07) The Frail
08) The Wretched
09) Reptile
10) God Break Down The Door
11) Copy Of A
12) Closer (with The Only Time breakdown)
13) This Isn’t The Place
14) Heresy
15) The Perfect Drug
16) I’m Afraid Of Americans (David Bowie Cover)
17) Gave Up
18) The Hand That Feeds
19) Head Like A Hole

Encore:
20) Even Deeper
21) Hurt

Live Review: Nine Inch Nails at The Palladium

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When a band as big as Nine Inch Nails opts to play small venues and do multiple nights, you know that it’s going to be special. Back in 2009, I was lucky to get to go to a few of the Wave Goodbye shows Nine Inch Nails did in Los Angeles. I was able to go to the Wiltern, Fonda and Palladium shows. Each of those nights have always stood out in my concert going history. The Palladium show that evening was special as The Downward Spiral was played in its entirety. Last night didn’t have that happen but it was one of those shows that rank pretty high in my now 18 times seeing Nine Inch Nails.

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