Nine Inch Nails : Quicken Loans Arena, Sunday, October 9

By Anastasia Pantsios for Free Times (Ohio) on October 13, 2005

IT WAS ONLY THREE SONGS INTO HIS SET at the Q Sunday night that Nine Inch Nails’ main man Trent Reznor hurled a guitar across the stage as he wrapped up “Terrible Lie.” But if longtime NIN fans expected the rampaging, destructive performance of old, in which Reznor endangered not only the equipment but also his fellow band members, they weren’t going to get it. Instead, they got a powerful, often haunting set made more dramatic by wide contrasts in tone, texture and dynamics.

Although tunes like set opener “Love Is Not Enough” and rampaging “The Hand That Feeds” from this year’s With Teeth, only the fourth full-length in NIN’s 16-year career, got a good response, it was clear that the tunes from the band’s 1989 debut Pretty Hate Machine and 1994’s The Downward Spiral were closest the audience’s heart. The crowd erupted about seven songs into the set, when the band went into “Closer to God” with its infamous sing-along line “I wanna ***** you like an animal.” It was nearly as ecstatic toward the end of the set, when Reznor performed a stripped-down version of “Hurt,” relying solely on his own keyboard accompaniment until the very end. It was especially effective followed by the electrifying intensity of “The Hand That Feeds” and set-closer “Head Like a Hole.”
Backed by a four-piece band and plenty of keyboard-generated sounds and playing a lot of guitar, Reznor looked fit and sounded in good voice, even demonstrating a bit more range than in the past. The show’s drama was enhanced by striking, diverse lighting patterns and effects, projections (especially during a two-song mid-set interlude when a curtain fell in front of the band) and a background that resembled an art deco skyline rendering. Queens of the Stone Age provided an enjoyable opening set, filled with a cappella vocal breaks, dramatic false endings and psychedelic guitar effects. Much as their albums have, the set ranged all over the heavy music map, which kept it interesting throughout its 50-minute length.

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