Saturday, June 13, 2009

NIN/JA at Irvine Meadows, 4/20/09

I realize I've been remiss in my blogging habits, and for that I apologize. In fact, Kings, which I talked about below, has already been canceled (though for anyone who cares, NBC will be showing the final 7 episodes over the next few weeks, starting tonight). All I can do is blame my wonderful girlfriend, who I want to spend most of my time with. Anyway, I have three followers, and I'm told to be viable I need roughly 997 more, so I don't think I've been exactly letting anyone down. In any case, I will try to rededicate myself to doing this, starting now. 

About a month ago I went to see what could possibly be the last Nine Inch Nails show I ever see, along with a reunion of the original Jane's Addiction lineup (cleverly combined into NIN/JA for ease of promotion and T-shirt design). Trent Reznor has said that after this current tour he's gonna hang it up for a while, settle down with the new missus. Look at the guy—would you doubt anything he said? So it was with great excitement that I gladly overpaid for my friend Jamie (her birthday gift) and I to go, and the show was certainly not a disappointment.

Let me start by talking about the venue, Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre. It had been years since I saw any shows at that place, and I completely forgot what a nightmare getting to it from the 405 freeway can be. The exit is only one lane, and immediately after several lanes merge into one, so it was extremely backed up. You’d think the City of Irvine would be smart, like Indio when they host Coachella, and at least have some traffic cops at the exit, guiding everyone and allowing us to turn right from more than one lane, but then, if you expected that much from city government you’d be hopelessly naïve. As it was, it took us an hour and a half to drive what normally takes twenty minutes, and I was treated to a very intense flipping of the bird when I had the gall to try to get over at one point. This guy meant it; I’m convinced he’d been practicing the maneuver in the mirror for years, only to unleash it at exactly the right time.

Because of the terrible traffic (which I admittedly should have anticipated), we were still walking across the parking lot when NIN started their set, and we had to suffer through two songs from far away. Luckily the first was a song I didn’t know and wasn’t blown away by, and the second was “Terrible Lie,” which, while an amazing song, I’d seen them play twice before. I hustled across the seemingly never-ending grounds of Irvine Meadows, and then up the steps, and then up the steep hill, and finally to the line to have our tickets checked to get to our seats. Just as I got in they tore into “Heresy,” a relatively obscure song from The Downward Spiral, and one of my favorites that I’d never heard live before, and I finally felt like I was at the show.

The rest was predictably fierce, loud, angry and impressive. What wasn’t predictable, however, was the set list, which included lots of deep cuts in addition to the usual live staples. “We’re not playing any hits tonight,” Reznor said about five songs in, and while closing with “The Hand That Feeds” and “Head Like a Hole” made that statement not entirely true, before that he focused heavily on The Downward Spiral without playing “Closer” or “Hurt,” and included two obscure songs from The Fragile. All in all, I give it an A-. I would score it higher, but they didn’t play nearly long enough because someone made the odd choice to have…

...these guys headline. Now, I love quite a few Jane's Addiction songs, and I was extremely excited to see them in their original form, but not only is Nine Inch Nails the bigger band, their intensity is more than anyone should have to follow. So even going in it was going to be tough, but then Jane's got off to a slow start, and even when they seemed to hit their stride, Perry Farrell's voice wasn't up to the task anymore. "Mountain Song," "Ocean Size" and "Had a Dad" all sounded really good, but "Pigs in Zen," "Been Caught Stealing," and "Jane Says" all suffered because of his vocal limitations. I'm not saying they were bad, and the band absolutely ripped once they got through a song or two, but it wasn't as good as I'd hoped, and a bit of a drop off. Still, it was great to get to see them, and hear some of my favorites that I never thought I'd get a chance to see live.

All in all, it was a great night that couldn't quite finish as strong as it started, but more than worth it. Farewell, Trent; enjoy married life, and if you ever get the itch to come back someday, we'll be waiting to scream right along with you.

Here are the set lists, courtesy of Soundcheck, the OC Register's music blog:

Nine Inch Nails: Now I’m Nothing / Terrible Lie / 1,000,000 / Heresy / March of the Pigs / Metal (Gary Numan cover) / Reptile / Survivalism / The Becoming / Mr. Self Destruct / The Fragile / Gone, Still / The Way Out Is Through / Wish / Echoplex / The Day the World Went Away / The Hand That Feeds / Head Like a Hole

Jane’s Addiction: Three Days / Whores / Ain’t No Right / Pigs in Zen / Mountain Song / Had a Dad / Been Caught Stealing / Ted, Just Admit It … / Ocean Size
Encore: Summertime Rolls / Stop! / Jane Says


JR said...

trent, i want you in and around my mouth....

Hatfield said...

Wow, don't make me put comment moderation on. This is a family site!