Sunday, May 9, 2010

Nine Inch Nails 12/13/2008 Las Vegas

First off...I was actually at this show- so it's nice to have a video of it for a souvenir. I was never particularly familiar with the music, I knew the hits and heard most of the discs a couple times...but a friend who had seen NIN several times convinced me that the live shows always come correct with a great deal of energy and innovation. This turned out to be the case. While there were a few quieter pieces of music that added a little dynamics to the set, for the most part, the band stormed about the stage with all of the rebellious anger and self-loathing for which the music became famous... Equally impressive was the interactive LED rig constructed for the tour. For me, personally, it was more impressive than the actual music. I've clamped lamps onto truss for a living and seen many of the multi-million dollar Las Vegas Showroom spectacles. There were moments during this 2008 Planet Hollywood show which were some the hallucinogenic displays of light that I have ever seen (outside of when I was actually on hallucinogens, that is) Anyone would have been interested by it, regardless of their opinion of the band and the music...But I am not saying that the band was upstaged by the setting. In fact, it was just the opposite. What was so striking about the concert is that several times during the show the band's interaction with the multiple LED screens became part of the music itself.

The other thing about this show that merits discussion is how it came to exist as a video file- one of three parts of a project entitled Another Version of The Truth. It is an audience shot bootleg. But not just an ordinary one- it was edited together from footage filmed by more than a dozen audience members...The audiences' commitment to the proceedings and their unprecedented degree of involvement with it is at the cutting edge of rock and roll theater. A website was set up prior to the show and a forum was established in which all of those who were bringing in cameras coordinated which part of the stage that they were going to be responsible for filming. When the show was complete, the editing and distribution of the footage was all completed by a small army of volunteers all communicating the progress of their efforts- and the finished product, online.

Both the video and the show itself are so interesting that I foresee myself surfing through all of the discussions about how they came about in order to understand the fine details. There are other discs in the Another Version of the Truth project that I will review in months to come. And at that time, I will have hopefully digested this information in such a way that I can present it with a little more depth


* Alessandro Cortini: Keyboards, programming, guitar, backing vocals
* Robin Finck: Guitar, backing vocals
* Josh Freese: Drums
* Justin Meldal-Johnsen: Bass, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
* Trent Reznor: Vocals, guitar, keyboards


1. 999,999
2. 1,000,000
3. Letting You
4. Discipline
5. March of the Pigs
6. Head Down
7. The Frail
8. Closer
9. Gave Up
10. Corona Radiata
11. The Warning
12. The Great Destroyer
13. 21 Ghosts III
14. 28 Ghosts IV
15. 19 Ghosts III
16. Ghosts Piggy
17. The Greater Good
18. Pinion
19. Wish
20. Terrible Lie
21. Survivalism
22. The Big Come Down
23. 31 Ghosts IV
24. Only
25. The Hand That Feeds
26. Head Like a Hole

My first impression of "Las Vegas" was that seemed strangely different from the show as I had seen it. For instance, from where I sat, the Ghosts landscapes did not seem particularly compelling. Yet on the video, they really do have quite a beautiful dimension to them. And then, in the other direction, I remember being really struck by the weirdly distorted halos surrounding the band members in the song x, yet the video of this doesn't seem to have the same impact.

While the disc is very enjoyable and a fantastic accomplishment, I am going to embed another video from this tour for this review- The Big Come Down from the Another Version Bonus disc...When I play this for people, they eventually get sucked into how gorgeous the lights become ((fast forward to 3:00 of the clip- when the processors really start cycling))) ...From the things on Another Version that I've watched, the widescreen aspect of this video really does the best job presenting what NIN accomplished with their Lights Across the Sky tour. It's unfortunate that a 3-D recording didn't come to pass...I'd say that the current push to add a third dimension to video will make such a rendering of such a show the next step of the future.