Monday, September 8, 2008

Nine Inch Nails & Deerhunter @ The Forum - 9/6/08

It had been over 10 years since I set foot inside the Great, I mean LA Forum. I think the last occasion was either a Knicks-Lakers game or a Pearl Jam concert. Either way, it was 1998, Vlade Divac was the starting center for the Lakers, and nobody knew what the hell the Staples Center was back then. Fast-forward to last Saturday and I found myself (along with my brother) inside witnessing one of the most visually stunning concerts I had ever seen.

After a wonderful opening set by Deerhunter (man, I love that band), the real show began. The material was a great mix of new stuff (most of The Slip and Year Zero was played, along with a couple of selections from Ghosts I-IV) and crowd favorites ("Terrible Lie", "March of the Pigs", "Closer", etc.), with no over-reliance on aggressive material, which (thankfully) kept the crowd from getting too rowdy.

The true star of the show had to be the stage setup. The tour is dubbed "Lights in the Sky", which is an apt title since LED lights and video walls are used to display digital animations and engulf the band in color. Screens lowered from the rafters and rose behind the band, while at times rows of lights moved to create the illusion that the stage was moving.

Another highlight was during a brief set of instrumental songs from Ghosts I-VI a semi-transparent video curtain lowered in front of band and displayed animated images of rain, while the video wall behind them and above displayed images of a dark desolate forest. One of my favorite uses of the screens came during "The Hand That Feeds" where a giant photo of President Bush that served as a backdrop to the stage slowly morphed into a photo of John McCain. Of course, this was met raucus cheers from the LA crowd (myself included).

When it was over there wasn't anything I could find at fault about the entire show. Aside from the laughably disorganized LA Forum security staff, the show itself was flawless. If any of you have the chance to check out Nine Inch Nails when they return to North America, I highly recommend doing so.

1. 999,999
2. 1,000,000
3. Letting You
4. March of the Pigs
5. Head Down
6. The Frail
7. Closer (The Only Time)
8. Gave Up
9. The Warning
10. Vessel
11. 5 Ghosts I
12. 17 Ghosts II*
13. 19 Ghosts III*
14. Ghosts Piggy
15. The Greater Good

16. Pinion
17. Wish
18. Terrible Lie
19. Survivalism
20. The Big Comedown
21. 31 Ghosts IV
22. Only
23. The Hand That Feeds
24. Head Like A Hole

25. Echoplex
26. Reptile
27. God Given
28. Hurt
29. In This Twilight

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