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Nine Inch Nails at Radio City Music Hall- Ny, Ny

NIN radio city
It’s been over a week since this show. I’m blasting Copy of A and it instantly transported me back to RCMH. One of the greatest bands, one of the greatest LIVE acts, the largest indoor theater in the world, great friends, great seats, hard to beat. Part of me really wanted to have NIN on the list of my 52 from last year. Opportunities were there but I prefer to see them in their own show vs a festival. This tour comes at the end of a 3 EP release schedule. This tour is similar to the 2009 “farewell tour” where the staging took a back seat to a changing setlist each night. In that case, it wasn’t missed because we thought we were seeing the last NIN shows ever. In this case, the mystery of the setlist is welcome but much more could have been done with the space.
Rumors of this epic tour started right away; they played almost all of Broken the first night. Soon after, they played The Perfect Drug for the first time. People who were on the fence started looking for tickets and I was glad my friends were willing to wait in the rain all those months ago to ensure we had tickets. This was the tour you had to buy tickets for in person. Sure enough, dozens got there, in the rain, in the cold, early in the morning and made new friends. We bought eight tickets and were sure we’d be able to sell them if we had to. That proved more difficult than expected.
By showtime, we still had two tickets to sell. A few deadheads were out front looking for miracles amongst the others selling tickets. The best offer we had was $40… face value was $150. One person was willing to pay $50. Another person was so rude about his $40 spending limit that giving it as a miracle felt like the better move.
Aside from the incredibly smelly person behind me, the show was amazing. The eclectic setlist was welcome. The Joy Division cover (Digital) was fantastic, the Bowie mention before I’m Afraid of Americans was touching, and we got to hear The Perfect Drug. One highlight was the custom lights for Copy of A. Moving strobe footlights cast trippy shadows of the band on the stark grey backdrop behind the stage. Simulated motion of the shadows danced and built as the song progressed. It solidified the LCD Soundsystem direction and further enshrined Hesitation Marks and an important release.
Mimefrog would later state it was the best show he’s ever seen. I missed the opportunity to mosh but the setlist was sufficient for being trapped at seats. There was plenty of room between rows…side note: The seats are perfectly staggered and the stage is lower than the seats. The venue is designed for a seated audience. When the person in front of you is standing and they move just to the left or right of their seat, they will most definitely block your view. While annoying, it really just solidified the joys of general admission.
Nine Inch Nails is a must when they come to town. There are a few albums I could do without but the intense, visceral connection I have with the rest will move me for the rest of my days. There is a lot to be said about the growth of the sound and message over the years. From emo boy to dark depressed perfectionist to liberated music maker, and on to funk band (ish?) NIN has tracked parts of my life at key moments. I liken Trent to The Simpsons. When I was a kid, the show was about Bart. As I grew up, it became about Homer. Everything in its right place.
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