Scott Legato / RockStarProPhotography.com – Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails
The Palace Of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Mich.
Nine Inch Nails kicked off its “Cold and Black and Infinite Tour” in Phoenix Sept. 14 with a total assault on the senses, starting with the EP Broken.
Flashing lights, aggressive guitar solos and deep cuts filled the two-hour musical pummeling at the Comerica Theatre, where the band returns tonight with The Jesus And Mary Chain and Tobacco in tow.
Frontman Trent Reznor proved he still has the energy and enthusiasm he had nearly 30 years ago when Nine Inch Nails’ debut, Pretty Hate Machine, landed in stores.
With his near-perfect vocals, the black-clad Reznor kicked off the show with the 1992 EP Broken played in its entirety, starting with a piped-in version of “Pinion,” and continuing with “Wish” and straight on through to “Suck,” which he co-wrote with Pigface.
When Reznor wrapped the second song, “Last,” he victoriously raised his arms, clearly pleased with what he produced. Teasing the audience after “Suck,” he coyly asked, “What are we going to play now?”
Several of the “Broken” songs reappeared after several years absent of Nine Inch Nails’ live repertoire, like “Help Me I Am in Hell,” “Happiness in Slavery” and the Adam and the Ants cover “Physical (You’re So).”
“Happiness in Slavery” hadn’t been on the setlist since 1995. Supporting its latest album Bad Witch, Nine Inch Nails offered the live debut of the collection’s “This Isn’t the Place.”
He touched on The Downward Spiral as well with the sing-along “March of the Pigs” along with “Reptile.”
“We played some old shit,” Reznor said. “Now we’re going to play some new shit.”
“Shit Mirror” followed with longtime guitarist Robin Finck taking the lead.
Reznor paid tribute to his late friend, David Bowie, with their “I’m Afraid of Americans,” which was particularly dark considering the political climate.
“Sometimes up here you get off on a tangent,” said Reznor, who referenced losing friends like Bowie. “I just get a little sad. I started thinking about time and how long it’s been, how long we’ve been around.”
Visually, it was striking yet simple. Cold, flashing white lights from the side and behind of the band accompanied the tracks, while songs like “Happiness in Slavery” reached out with red and white lights.
Reznor hit the “cold,” the “dark” and hopefully this tour will go on infinitely.
“Help Me I Am in Hell”
“Happiness in Slavery”
“Physical (You’re So)”
“March of the Pigs”
“Ahead of Ourselves”
“This Isn’t the Place”
“I’m Afraid of Americans”
“The Hand That Feeds”
“Head Like a Hole”
“The Day the World Went Away”