Quickish gig review – on Wednesday night Libby, Owen, Belinda, Tom, Brett, Rachel, The Puzzler, Pamela and I all braved the rigours of travelling south of the river to visit the O2 dome-thing for the farewell concert of industrial rocker legends Nine Inch Nails. Admittedly we didn’t brave it all together, and even if we had done it would have been a bit futile because we were spread all over the shop. Probably just as well, cos you couldn’t really talk to each other during the gig (and why would you want to?), and spreading out meant not having to buy as many of the arse-openingly overpriced beers in a round (£4.30 for a pint of Beck’s Vier – I mean, SERIOUSLY?).
“He hasn’t said much about the gig yet, has he?”
“No, but I’m sure he’ll get to it shortly…”
You’d be wrong for thinking that. See, as enthusiastic as I am about NIN’s work, I’m not terribly au-fait with the ins & outs of their catalogue, so I could only recognise a handful of songs, at best. But that didn’t stop me enjoying myself immensely.
Thanks to a textbook piece of British Queueing Design we only managed to gain entrance to the arena for the final 2 songs of support act Jane’s Addiction’s set – the first being the only song of theirs that I know, because my brother had it on the soundtrack of his skydiving video. They seemed to play well enough, although I overheard more than one ambivalent punter remarking that the only reason they’d been invited on the tour was because Trent Reznor really wanted to call it the NIN/JA tour. Following the set the house lights came back up and the punters charged to the back of the room towards the bar, giving Libby, Owen & I a chance to creep forward and set ourselves up on top of the cable-ducting speedhump coming out of the mixing desk, giving us a slightly improved view of things.
Following a bit of milling, chatting and drinking, someone on stage hit a drum, and then again, and it turned into a regularlish drum beat, and then with the houselights still up Reznor surged onto stage launching into Now I’m Nothing, much to the surprise of all involved. He concluded, as the houselights faded, with what I can only describe as the most awesome guitar-hurl I’ve ever seen. It was just like “song’s over, don’t need THIS fuckin’ thing!”, and throws it in an arc to the back of stage as he prowls back to the drumline. Awesome.
I was rapt from one end of the gig to the other, making up for all of those gigs I’ve experimentally been to and not knowing whether it was the music that sucked or just me getting jaded (e.g. Velvet Revolver, Tool, Wolfmother), however this was grunty awesomeness from soup to nuts, and I loved every note of it. As my camera can take video footage (albeit with abysmally shitful sound) I felt I ought to capture a big of the gig, however I didn’t really know this song in particular. So here’s this, anyway.
Opting to bring on the musically influential special guest during the set, Reznor announced that he was being joined by Gary Numan. Initially I had Randy Newman in my brain, and couldn’t quite see how “You’ve Got A Friend In Me”, or “Burn On” was going to fit into this musical genre, but it turned out I had the wrong dude, and Numan belted out a couple of songs – one which I did recognise – which seemingly did fit into this genre.
In the twilight moments of the gig they got out Head Like A Hole, storming it like it was the first song of the night and they were still fresh: only belied by the sweat flying in all directions and the frothed up crowd. Of course you can’t let a crowd that excited out onto the streets of London without a permit, so masterfully bringing it back a notch the evening finished with Hurt.
And that was it. Gig done, no encore, lights up. And not a single person left feeling like they needed one. Brilliant gig, perhaps one of the best. Photos here.