It was worth traversing multiple freeways and enduring the incessant glare of brake lights ahead of us throughout the long drive to Pomona. It’s worth going to Coachella, solely to see How To Destroy Angels. It’s well worth the price of tickets, at any cost.
Anybody who’s in any industry that revolves around connecting with, making an impression on, and moving people – artists, filmmakers, musicians, designers, executives in technology, advertising, gaming, sales, theme parks, theater – should be required to experience this show. Anyone who wants to experience being moved and touched in a way that will inspire them, spark passion and new ideas, should figure out a way to see HTDA.
We had considerable time to reflect and talk during the drive to Pomona. At one point, I began reminiscing about amazing shows I’ve seen in years past, which I’ve yet to write about. “Maybe I’ll start writing about all the outstanding concerts I used to see,” I said, noting that those shows are even fewer and farther between now.
I arrived at the Fox Theater, with no idea what to expect. I hadn’t watched the “teaser” video for the tour, seen the rehearsal photos, nor checked in on any social media site to see what the band or anyone else was saying pre-show. I’ve been to enough Nine Inch Nails shows to know that Trent Reznor – and everyone working with him – takes the experience of live music to new heights, every time he tours. “That’s what’s been missing from live music. . . ” I thought, rememberingReznor’s speech during the final Nine Inch Nails show in 2009.
From the flicker of the first light and the vibration of the first sound, How To Destroy Angels made an immense impact when they took the stage. It’s likely you haven’t experienced anything like this. The show was immersive, high-vibrational, other-worldly, and evolutionary. Eyes wide, considering the spectacular production surrounding me, I reached for my camera. By the time I got the camera out of its pouch I had missed 3 seconds of the show; those lost 3 seconds can’t be regained.
There’s no need to try to capture the show. You cannot do it. You cannot accurately capture How To Destroy Angels in a 2 nor 3 dimensional medium. The show encompasses at least 8 dimensions. Feelings, ideas, and music was delivered uniquely, with consistent intention and care. The experience expands your perspective, as new possibilities are constantly put in front of you. There’s no time between performances to recover from the state of awe felt during each song. When HTDA begin the next song, your eyes get wider, your smile gets larger, your vision and dreams expand — you cannot believe what you’re feeling.
Don’t worry about capturing How To Destroy Angels. Put away your devices. Experience the gift they’re sharing with you and all in attendance. I’d recommend you don’t watch the teaser video, don’t watch people’s shaky videos with blown-out audio on YouTube, don’t worry about how you’ll get to a How To Destroy Angels show – just make sure you get to one: http://tour.destroyangels.com/.
Two-thirds of the way through the show, I had tears in my eyes. They were tears of gratitude for the inspiration, the expansion, the art, the reminder to continually create at the highest level, with absolute integrity. HTDA provided an experience that moved me completely, on every level – visually, aurally, intellectually, and spiritually.
I remember the last time I saw Trent Reznor on stage – he made a vow to all of us, “I won’t let you down.” He is a man of his word. How To Destroy Angels is not some “fun side project”. Or maybe it is, but every second was created, delivered, and shared beyond the most artistic, creative, professional standards. Nothing was compromised. Everybody involved in creating this experience should be celebrated. There should be an awards ceremony where there’s only one award – and it goes to How To Destroy Angels. “This is our first show. Thank you for being here,” Mariqueen said, further highlighting all that I was feeling. HTDA is something profoundly unique.
$27. The ticket was only $27. Thankfully, every now and then, Trent Reznor reincarnates to challenge our standards and our expectations. How To Destroy Angels isn’t giving their fans a run for their money, but they sure are giving everyone else one.
April 11, 2010
This One Is On Us
The Echoplex, Los Angeles
Nine Inch Nails: Another Version Of The Truth
On Sunday night fans inside The Echoplex went off. The energy in the room was higher than what you’d see at many live concerts. But there was no concert at The Echoplex Sunday night. Instead, there was a screening of a live, fan-created, Nine Inch Nails DVD project: Another Version of The Truth. This is among the most energetic live concert DVDs ever produced, which is not hurt by the fact that it features one of the (if not the) best live bands in the world, Nine Inch Nails.
Here’s some background on the project as posted on the official website, ThisOneIsOnUs.org: On 5th May, 2008, Nine Inch Nails released “The Slip” for free via their website, as a gift to their fans. Or as Trent Reznor put it: “This one’s on me”.
On December 13th, 2008, dozens of Nine Inch Nails fans recorded the last show ofthe Lights In The Sky tour at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas.
On January 7th, 2009, over 400Gb of video from the Victoria, Portland and Sacramento shows from the same tour were unofficially released by the band.
By working together, the Nine Inch Nails fan community have created “Another Version of the Truth” – a 3 disc release bringing together numerous editors, designers, and web programmers to create a professional digital film, followed by a physical release created by fans for fans.
For the past twenty plus years Nine Inch Nails has consistently pushed the boundaries, done things their way, maintained their integrity and the art of what they do, and in the process, have built a trusting and enduring relationship with their fans. Another Version of The Truth is one result of this relationship and should be an inspiration to bands and fans — this is how good it can get. This is what happens when you do it “right.”
March Of The Pigs
Every artist should strive for a fanbase as loyal and supportive as Nine Inch Nails fans. Every music fan should be so moved by their favorite band that they will invest not only their money, but more important, their energy, their creativity, and their undying passion, in a long-term relationship with the band. Every record label should pay attention. . . because this is what it’s about. However, until labels figure out how to authentically build an enduring relationship between Artist and Fan (as opposed to getting in the way of it), thankfully there are bands like Nine Inch Nails and fan groups like This One Is On Us who know what they’re doing.
Head Like A Hole
This One Is On Us did an amazing job with Another Version of The Truth. It may be fan-created, but it is professional quality and absolutely brilliant. They took hundreds of gigabytes of footage and created a piece that actually makes you feel like you’re at the show. I am a live music junkie and I’ll be among the first to tell you that there’s no substitute for being there. That said, I felt the drive, enthusiasm, and impact of the Nine Inch Nails Lights In The Sky tour – it felt like we were there. The audience sang along, screamed along, cheered and clapped. When I felt it was nearing the end, I actually got sad – I didn’t want it to end. When it was over, I had that post Nine Inch Nails concert rush and “All That Could Have Been” was my soundtrack for the drive home. If they truly don’t play live again and you never saw Nine Inch Nails, Another Version of The Truth will make you hate yourself for missing it. For those of you who have seen NIN live, Another Version of The Truth will help you relive it. I recommend watching it at least once a day.
The This One Is On Us organizers did an amazing job hosting this event. The sound was great, the screen was placed at a perfect height so that the audience at the screening was watching from the same perspective as the audience at the concert. When there were crowd shots, you were among them. When the audience at the screening put their hands in the air, they were among the hands on the screen. In fact, when I posted videos from the event on YouTube (see below), people emailed me asking if it was 3D. The organizers secured The Echoplex for the screening which added to the energy of the event. Nine Inch Nails played one of their final Wave Goodbye shows at The Echoplex last year. You could still feel the energy of the band in the venue which added to Sunday’s event.
Finck, Cortini, Sheridan, Freese
As it turns out, several members of the band from the Lights In The Sky tour were in the venue and participated in a surprise Q&A following the screening. Josh Freese, Robin Finck, and Alessandro Cortini sat on a panel and graciously answered audience questions about the tour, rehearsals, and the possibility of a reunion. Rob Sheridan, Nine Inch Nails’ creative director, was also in the house to answer questions. Sheridan shared a great deal of amazing information about the technology used on the tour, decisions that needed to be made based on budgets, what happened when things didn’t work, along with funny anecdotes about how Reznor and Freese worked with the technology.
Below are some videos of the screening itself. Yes, that’s the audience at the screening singing, cheering and clapping along with the band and audience on screen. Screenings of Another Version of The Truth are taking place around the world – check listings here. And, since chances are Sheridan and the band may not show up at other screenings, I’ve also posted some clips from the Q&A.
There is another fan-created project to be on the lookout for as well: Nine Inch Nails: After All Is Said and Done, produced by A Tiny Little Dot. After All Is Said and Done will document Nine Inch Nails last show ever that took place at The Wiltern on September 10, 2009. I was at that show (review, pics, set list and videos are posted here) and met the organizer of A Tiny Little Dot, “Synthetikz”. He’s a really good guy who obtained some amazing footage. I posted the trailer below so you can see for yourself.