Whether or not you understand Trent Reznor's complex mind, you've got to appreciate the genius of his creativity. Not to mention the man puts on one dynamic show.
Nine Inch Nails delivered one of the best concerts of the year in Utah before several thousand frenzied fans Wednesday night who stayed on their feet the entire show. Reznor and company tore through more than two hours of their blend of alternative and industrial rock accompanied by one of the most spectacular light shows the E Center has ever seen.
I've faulted bands in the past for getting their shows off to slow starts and using the first songs of their set as essentially a warm up. There was none of that Wednesday as Reznor hit the stage with 100 percent intensity which somehow only grew stronger throughout the night. Reznor owned the entire arena from start to finish as he and the crowd fed off each other's energy.
NIN started the show by tearing through the first four songs off "The Slip," the album that Reznor made available for free at the band's website earlier this year. The opening numbers included a driving "1,000,000" and an early highlight in "Discipline."
The intensity level was raised another notch when Reznor dipped into his catalog for favorites "March of the Pigs" and "Closer." The band's current outing is the "Lights in the Sky" tour, which is appropriate since the spectacular visual show has lights seemingly coming from every end of the stage. Outstanding light shows have become a trademark of Nine Inch Nail shows and the current tour is no exception. Continuous strobe lights and a giant mesh LED curtain enhanced many songs such as "The Warning" and "The Vessel."
Reznor's voice was solid all night as was his backing band of Robin Finck on guitar, Justin Meldal-Johnsen on bass, Alessandro Cortini on keyboard and Josh Freese who was an animal on drums.
Midway through the show, Nine Inch Nails delivered songs from their double album of 36-instruments called "Ghosts I-IV," also released earlier this year. In addition to taking the innovative light show to another level, the songs had the band playing instruments not normally associated with them such as an upright bass and Reznor, who played multiple instruments all night, on marimba.
The excited crowd clapped, waved their hands as directed by Reznor and sang in unison for "Piggy," "Wish" and "Terrible Lie," and then raised the decibel level in the building even higher for the one-two punch of "The Hand That Feeds" and "Head Like a Hole" to end the main set.
"You guys are the real (expletive) deal," he said with sincerity while thanking the enthusiastic crowd. It was the first time Reznor addressed the crowd all evening, and it didn't come until after the first song of the encore. "You guys are the real thing."
An epic, "Hurt," in which the lights from the stage were replaced by an array of Bic lighters from the audience, came near the end of the show.Though Nine Inch Nails and Reznor have had their ups and downs, on this night he and the band seemed to have everything working right and put together a performance that was simply outstanding.