Nine Inch Nails: March 23, 2005
Fresno, CA - Saroyan Theatre
support: Carré Calloway

Main Set:
Beside You In Time (Intro)
Love is Not Enough
You Know What You Are?
March of the Pigs
The Line Begins to Blur
Terrible Lie
The Collector
Gave Up
With Teeth
Even Deeper
The Hand That Feeds
Starfuckers, Inc.
Head Like a Hole

Notes: This was NIN's first performance in almost five years, and for some reason, a theatre in my hometown of Fresno, California was selected as the venue.  When I first heard about this, I thought it was a joke or would end up being cancelled.  I could not believe it. Trent Reznor was finally releasing an album of new material, his first since 1999's The Fragile.

I was doubly amazed that the tickets were so affordable, too. NIN fans tend to be a very passionate group, and people came in from all over the world for this show. I was incredibly fortunate to be able to get tickets at all. I ended up getting four of them, and went to the show with my dad, my friend Erik, and one of Erik's friends. My friend Jillian came up from LA for the show, too.

Yes, that's right, my dad came with me to see Nine Inch Nails. He'd been fascinated by their set at Woodstock in 1994 and welcomed the opportunity to see them live. It was a little bit awkward to sit next to my dad while "Closer" was being performed, let me tell you. ;-) 

This is what I wrote about the show the day after it happened:

The show was not a spectacular, life-changing experience, like Tool in Bakersfield three years ago. But it was good. I think I knew what to expect because I have seen video footage of NIN performing, and when I saw Tool I had never seen them live and hadn't really listened to a lot of their music, so I had no idea what to expect and therefore, I was completely blown away.

We were in the third row of the lower balcony and the view was nice, but I would've loved to have been closer. Most of my focus last night was on the light show and the people around me. I had to remind myself sometimes to look at the band more, and that's never a problem for me when I'm in the first 10 rows on the floor. People in my section stayed seated through the whole thing, which was frustrating because I wanted to move around more. I had to release my energy by beating my poor thighs like they were a drum set.

They played a few new songs, and I really love "The Hand That Feeds." It's a bit more upbeat and danceable. The show was about 90 minutes long, no break, no encore. I am spoiled by Pearl Jam, who've gotten me used to a main set being that length, not the whole show! (And the main set is usually followed by two encores, sometimes three!) But I wasn't disappointed. This was their first show after a very long time, and I certainly wasn't going to expect anything of epic length. I also see these three shows before Coachella as being little warm-up gigs, and I'm sure the shows later this year will be bigger, longer productions. Highlights for me were March of the Pigs, Wish, Gave Up, Terrible Lie, Piggy, and of course, Head Like A Hole. They played Closer and Hurt, but ya know, I've heard those songs SO many times that they've kind of lost their power to me, and Closer has never been one of my favorites.

The lighting reminded me a bit of a smaller scale version of what you can see on And All That Could Have Been. It was impressive, and fit well with the music. I am not enough of a music scholar to be able to say when someone messed up a beat or a chord or sang off-key, but I thought the band was really tight. The guitarist had a lot of energy and I was not once disappointed in how any of the familiar songs sounded. This organization knows how to put on a good show. The sound levels were not perfect, in that sometimes I felt the guitars were too high and they drowned out other instruments, but I've heard MUCH worse mixes before.

It was the first time I'd seen NIN live after about 10 years of being a casual fan. (I own about 11 different Halos, one special edition, and a few videos. NIN has reached the status where I will usually buy every album that comes out, and certain singles. There are a lot of songs I love, but in general it's not music I listen to A LOT, so I'm bad with some of the lyrics and song titles.)

I enjoyed it and would definitely like the chance to repeat the experience again. I hate it how, so often, I can feel somewhat ambivalent about a band before I go see them, and then AFTER the show I am obsessed with them and want to see them again, right away. It's nice to be amped up over music, but I wish I had had that same enthusiasm in the days before the show. NIN will be the only music in my car for the next week, and I may have to watch And All That Could Have Been over the weekend to help feed my hunger. Today, in the spirit of last night's experience, everything I'm wearing is black, except for my jeans. (Didn't want to go ALL black when I had to work and spend my morning cleaning dusty computers! ;-P ) I didn't get to bed last night until after 2am! I was tired but I still had an adrenaline rush from the show. I'm anxious for the new album to come out now.

(March 24, 2005)


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