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Nine Inch Nails walked on stage in their traditional style—with the houselights still on—as the repeating,
errily tuned four note guitar riff intro of “Somewhat Damage” strummed.
Aggressive floodlight flashes and smothering smoke engulfed the stage, obscuring the view of
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, guitarist Robin Finck, and drummer Ilan Rubin, as the performance
of track one from 1999’s left disc of The Fragile continued.
The fiery stage presence—which fittingly aligned with the industrial music genre—toned down after the first
song and the houselights finally dimmed as the historic, classical Fox Theatre went dark to kick off the first
of two nights in Detroit for the Cold and Black and Infinite Tour. NIN then ripped into the refreshingly
distorted, rough chords of “The Day the Whole World Went Away.”
Since the tour began NIN has delivered surprises to fans with unpredictable setlists, each city and each
night; Monday night was no different.
In the words of Reznor on stage, the band performed “some old shit” and “some new shit,” but mostly old
shit—focusing on the 90’s catalogue (Pretty Hate Machine, The Downward Spiral, Broken, The Fragile),
including: “Wish,” “Sanctified,” “Head Like A Hole,” “Terrible Lie,” “March Of The Pigs,” “Gave Up,” “Closer.”
The 2000’s didn’t make the 19-song setlist, but four tracks from the summer release of the trilogy
concluding Bad Witch EP was performed, including “God Break Down The Door” which is reminiscent of
a Ghosts’ track, as Reznor bellowed with a saxophone.
Further live performances of new tracks “Shit Mirror,” “Ahead Of Ourselves,” and “Over and Out”—and the
release of Not the Actual Events (2016) and Add Violence (2017)—gives confidence that industrial-driven
music remains innovative and relevant; moreso coming from Reznor, a staple and leader of timeless songs
within the genre that blur the line between underground and mainstream.
Each song throughout the night was delivered with precision, both instrumentally and vocally.
Flaws were void and the character of each song was enhanced with its own vibrant light show that
further complimented the prowess of the arena-like production and invigorating performance.
The band dressed in black’s erratic energy settled during the piano driven “Something I Can Never Have.”
Reznor looked to the ground and pulled back, grasping the mic with both hands and sang with an
emotional, hesitating voice close to tears: “I’m down to just one thing, and I’m starting to scare myself.”
Reserved and gracious, Reznor paused for “thank you’s.” The audience mirrored Reznor when his arms
reached upward during songs as well as for random moments of clapping to the music’s beat.
Following “Reptile” and before “Suck,” Reznor gave in to a fan’s wails (“alright, you’ve got my attention…”)
to collect a portrait of the frontman; Reznor held it up and said they could hang it on Atticus’ keyboard, the
audience cheered and whistled. Reznor returned to his mic stand and said, “distracted, but thank you.”
The three-song encore opened with an enthralling version of “The Perfect Drug,” from 1997’s Lost Highway
(David Lynch) movie soundtrack. The song has never been performed live, until this tour. "Hurt" closed
the set, as is traditional with NIN.
After three decades of mass appeal through releasing influential and defining music ahead of it’s time,
administering groundbreaking album campaigns, executing successful experimentations within
an evolving music industry, winning and being nominated for Golden Globe, Oscar and Grammy Awards
for music soundtracks (Reznor & Ross The Social Network and Girl with a Dragon Tattoo scores),
NIN continues to evolve and resonate while still indulging sold-old crowds with an impermeable,
meticulous auditory and visual live rock and roll experience.
Goth alt-rock trailblazers The Jesus and Mary Chain opened for Nine Inch Nails with a full 12-song set that
included classics “I Hate Rock ‘n Roll,” “Head On,” “Just Like Honey,” and current tracks "Amputation" and
"All Things Pass" from 2017’s Damage and Joy.
An ideal fit for this tour, considering NIN opened for TJAMC in 1990 for the Scottish band's Automatic
album release. (With Teeth's "You Know What You Are" lyrics: "Remember where you came
from/Remember what your are")
Reed brother legends Jim and William alongside the band was spot on throughout the set.
Solo artist Gabe Gurnsey of Factory Floor on live drums along with tour mate Johnny performing tightly
across from him for synth, opened the show early with a mix of dark and heavy danceable electro riffs,
including catchy club-like cuts from his recently released debut, Physical.
Nine Inch Nails, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Gabe Gurnsey
COLD AND BLACK AND INFINITE TOUR
Fox Theatre : Detroit, Michigan : October 22, 2018
|The Jesus and Mary Chain
Drummer Brian Young
(ex-Fountains Of Wayne),
Vocalist Jim Reed,
Guitarist William Reed
(of Factory Floor) on drums
and tour mate Johnny