Last year saw the triumphant return to music for Nine Inch Nails, with the release of the mesmerizing ‘Hesitation Marks’, which saw Trent Reznor and Co. make a true return to form. Ask the 11 odd thousand people that crammed into the 02 arena about how excited they were for tonight, and you’d be sure to find the same answer. The atmosphere was slowly simmering, like a pot of water and once NIN hit the stage, the venue reached boiling point, blowing the top off the 02 Arena.
Before that though, was darkwave synthpoppers Cold Cave which is the brain child of Wesley Eisold. They act as a decent warm up, with their Pet Shop Boys/ Gary Numan inspired bangers that gets the eager punters off their feet, with an awesome rave atmosphere taking over the venue. They didnt falter once, as they played to their strengths which sounded great in such grand settings. But this night belonged to one band and one band only, as the crowd looked at their watches in anticpation for the headline act.Credit: Graham Berry
Stepping out with the stage covered in complete darkness, the NIN lightshow shines 4 silhouettes across the stage as the 02 Arena blows up – not literally. Opening with ‘Me, I’m Not’, it would set up what would be one of the best live spectacles that you will see this year. You can’t deny the godly figure of Trent Reznor, the man is an absolute powerhouse and for the last 25 + years he has defined the industrial/gothic side of life. He is like a fine wine, he gets even better with age, his voice sounds as youthful as ever and give him any instrument and he will bend your mind with it, the man is a class act.
On top of his genius, Trent has assembled probably his best NIN incarnation in recent times, Robin Finck will make a grown man weep with envy, as the struts his stuff on lead guitar and synths. On drums the ever so talented Ilan Rubin, who at only 25 has found himself in one of the biggest bands on the planet. He is a musical maestro, coming out from behind the sticks to take up bass and keyboard duties. Last but not least, is the ever multi tasking Alessandro Cortini who seems to have more arms than a octopus, one minute he is playing percussion the next he is playing bass. Tonight just shows the incredible musicianship on show here tonight, they are true elites in the game and leave the crowd absolutely speechless.Credit: Graham Berry
The set came loaded with a huge moving screen that would created these face melting light shows and image compilations, making for an intense live experience. ‘Copy of A‘ and ‘Came Back Haunted’ from the 2013 behemoth Hesitation Marks sit perfectly next to the classics like ‘March Of The Pigs’ and ‘Closer’, as they ignite a Gothic rave in the middle of London, the seating area shakes from the bouncing crowd. NIN are world beaters, put them in any sized venue and they will bring it to its knees, their light show is probably one of the best on the planet at the moment – with the use of smoke making for an eerie atmosphere. Perfect for the music of NIN.
Ending with the iconic ‘Hurt’, this song brings down the curtain on what has been a momentous occasion in the bands history, after 25 years this band are still relevant as much as they were back in the day. With a stage show like this and enough anthems in their arsenal, why they are not headlining festivals such as Download or Sonisphere is completely beyond me. All hail Nine Inch Nails!
Review by: James Hingle
Photos by: Graham Berry