I’ve been listening exclusively to Nine Inch Nails since seeing them perform at Staples Center Friday night. It’s been a long time since a concert inspired me to do that. I’ve been listening to this band for more than 20 years and, even today, as I listen to Nine Inch Nails, I can hear new perspectives in the music. It’s dynamic and evolving. It’s the varying degrees of tension between the instruments and the space between the noise. If you step out of the literal and just listen to the music, you can hear something new every time.
There are back up singers in this line-up and when they sing, that’s one thing. When they scream, that’s another thing. These women – and everyone on that stage and associated with this production – are essential to the show. Everyone’s role is additive and complementary to the experience.
Rob Sheridan, Nine Inch Nails’ creative director, is brilliant. Trent Reznor has an amazing ability to recognize and embrace exceptionally talented people. The creative collaboration with Sheridan is signature to the Nine Inch Nails brand. You know what this music feels like as a result of the entire production; not just the sound.
And the sound is great, no matter where they play. Staples Center can be tricky with sound because it tends to bounce around the room. A Nine Inch Nails show – loud as it may be – will not send you home with ringing ears. There’s precision in the production.
If I could use one word to describe Nine Inch Nails, it would be “integrity”. Integrity of music, integrity of art, integrity of the relationship with their fans. This band keeps their promise every time. Even if you’re not a fan of the music, I recommend seeing Nine Inch Nails for the inspiration of the vision and the aspiration of being that committed to their art.
So yeah, the show was outstanding. Where the fuck were you??
In the spirit of the event, Web In Front has also listed several places you can donate money to provide further relief to Haiti. Radiohead’s benefit concert in Los Angeles on January 24th raised $572,754 for Oxfam’s Haiti Relief Fund.
January 24, 2010
Henry Fonda Theater, Los Angeles
Radiohead for Haiti
Yes, you read that correctly – Radiohead played the Henry Fonda Theater (capacity 1,300) last night. The band announced on their website Thursday afternoon that they’d be playing this intimate show to raise funds for Oxfam, to provide additional relief to the people of Haiti. Tickets were available by auction only, with the minimum bid being $475/each when the auction closed Saturday morning. $572,754 was raised as a result of this one night event.
As you will see by the set list and videos below – you had to be there. The guys played a dream set and performed one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen (and that includes the numerous other phenomenal Radiohead concerts I’ve attended).
They had a stripped down stage. No big light show. Just arguably one of the best bands in the world, playing their songs at full throttle, while raising a significant sum of money for a country in dire need.
While I have tremendous appreciation for the elaborate lighting and stage set up experienced at most Radiohead shows, being able to see and hear the band without the lights was spectacular. Typically at a Radiohead concert, you’re immersed in a sea of light and sound, which hits you in waves and layers. Last night, it was simply an aural symphony. Without the lights, I became even more tuned in to how the band builds each song, layer by layer, sound by sound. The people standing around me mentioned multiple times that they never realized how many of the sounds are created by Ed. If you had any doubts previously, this show enabled you to see the crucial role each individual member plays in creating the music. It’s one impressive thing that a band can compose and record this music; it’s another thing entirely that they can play it live, with perfection.
Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood
Radiohead literally ROCKED last night and they seemed to have fun doing it. At one point Thom commented, “You guys are getting all my jokes tonight. . . I’ve died. . .” Well, the way you played, so did we.
Here’s the set list. Some videos are posted below the set list, and judging by the number of cameras in the audience, many more can be found on YouTube.
The last time I was at the Henry Fonda Theater it was to see Nine Inch Nails’s second-to-last concert (theoretically) ever. NIN absolutely destroyed the place! Not cosmetically, but existentially. It was one of the best shows I’ve ever experienced. They took all my previously fond memories of past concerts at that venue, crumpled them up, and made them seem like insignificant moments in time. A reader posted the following comment on my review of the Nine Inch Nails show at Henry Fonda Theater:
September 11, 2009 at 6:37pm
They should just burn down the Fonda, because there will never be a better show there again.
If they leave it standing they should no longer be allowed to have any more concerts there. b-ill-one
I’m not condoning arson, but I couldn’t have agreed more. Something so outstanding took place that night that the Henry Fonda could have closed its doors forever and nobody would question it.
Fever Ray at Henry Fonda Theater
Well, it’s a good thing they stayed open because, tonight, Fever Ray resurrected the Fonda ghosts and turned that venue upside-down. . . again. Does that make it right-side up now? If so, then the Henry Fonda is back in business.
I will admit that between opening acts I looked up at the stage and nostalgically felt that Nine Inch Nails show all over again.
But the instant Fever Ray hit the stage, all thoughts dissipated as the characters (aka the band) – led by Karin Elisabeth Dreijer Andersson (formerly, The Knife) – transformed the Henry Fonda Theater once again. Fever Ray’s full, layered sound filled the room, complemented by the pulsing laser show. There were costumes and face paint, and fans swayed in reverence.
I don’t believe a word was spoken on stage between songs and if so, I was too entranced to notice. You didn’t just hear the music, watch the lights, see the smoke – you felt the music, felt the lights, felt the smoke (some more than others).
This has been one of the most anticipated shows in LA since the tour was announced on May 12, 2009. It may remain among the most talked-about until May 12, 2010. . . or whenever Fever Ray returns.
By the way, speaking of Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor was at the show tonight, but nobody seemed to care. Every now and then somebody returning from the bar or restroom would say, “Hey – Trent Reznor’s here!” And without turning their head, without shifting their eyes, the friend would respond, “yeah. . . ”
So this is what it’s like to go to a Fever Ray show: your friend can tell you that your hero just walked in the room, and as if you were talking about the color of the carpet, you’d say, “yeah. . . cool.”