Nine Inch Nails Triumphantly Comes Out of Retirement at Chaifetz Arena 10/1/13: Review, Photos, Setlist

Todd Owyoung

Reznor showed another mic stand who's boss during "Piggy." He angrily kicked and stumbled over the stand while the band played a version that had an odd hint of sex appeal, thanks to some stunning bass by Pino Palladino. The band continued with "All Time Low" and "Disappointed," which launched a light show that ranks up there with any of Radiohead's. With multiple LED screens now in front of and behind the group, vertical lights moved in, out and around, sometimes encasing the guys in spinning boxes. As multi-instrumentalist Josh Eustis wailed on the saxophone, the lights picked up speed and changed perspective, giving the illusion that the stage was spinning like a carousel.

Reznor's voice was exceptionally strong during "Came Back Haunted," the lead single from Hesitation Marks. White light blips resembling the screen on the Ghostbusters' P.K.E. meter only reinforced that the song will be on every Halloween party playlist this month. Reznor continued stomping around during "Find My Way" and "Satellite," at some point changing from his black tank top to a black sleeveless shirt. He heightened the crowd's ecstasy with the fist-pumping, tongue-tying "Survivalism," which was accompanied by strobes and foggy green lights that made us fear that we were breathing poison.

The audience didn't seem to appreciate "Running." Despite the RGB light show that went with it, the beep-boop slow burner appeared to be the beer-fetching song of the evening, especially as it fed into the etherial "A Warm Place" from The Downward Spiral with Reznor playing synths and keys solo. But the crowd certainly woke up again during "Somewhat Damaged," a screamo tune with hints of metal from 1999's The Fragile.

This ramped us up for the loudest, most crowd-approved section of the show. Reznor grabbed a guitar again for "Wish," and as a grid of white rectangles flashed behind them, he and guitarist Robin Finck shared their trademark buzzsaw sounds, proving that "Wish" easily would fit into any gory horror movie. "The Hand That Feeds" was just as exciting, slowed down ever so slightly and featuring extra video-game-like bloops that you won't find on the album version. And the entire arena flailed to "Head Like a Hole," a Nails anthem if there ever was one. Reznor bounced around himself and the lower strobe lights spazzed out, making the entire scene feel like a hallucination. With a smile on his face, Reznor ended the song and the lights went down, allowing a fade-in of the letters "NIN" to take center stage on the light board as the band took its encore break.

But wait, there's more! Like, 30 minutes more!

Only a minute after leaving the stage, Reznor returned solo to plunk out "The Frail" on keyboards, standing ever so still until the rest of the band joined him for a hard-hitting version of "The Wretched." As Reznor screamed "Now you know! This is what it feels like!" white lasers shot out over the audience, moving low as if they were cutting right through us.

Continue for a St. Louis debut and the setlist.

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