Tuesday, July 29, 2014


I had three bands on my "bucket list" and I checked the second one off last week.

Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden and Bruce Springsteen (I once made noise about wanting to see the rumored Slayer/Anthrax/Megadeth/Metallica tour, but I don't actually care about any of those bands anymore) were the three bands I'd never seen live but always wanted to. I kind of figured that it would never happen, since Springsteen never comes anywhere near Salt Lake and neither Soundgarden or Nine Inch Nails were actually bands anymore.

Never say never, I guess.

I got the chance to see Nine Inch Nails last fall for the first time, and I got to see them again last week. They put on an amazing show last time I saw them, so I was looking forward to what they'd do this time. What they did this time was bring Soundgarden as their opening act.

Casey, Oz and I drove out to Denver last weekend to catch the show at Red Rocks Ampitheater, which is about half an hour outside of town. It's built into the side of the mountain and one of the coolest venues I've ever been to. The views are amazing and the sound is incredible (though it's a little bit of a hike to get to, and getting out afterwards takes far longer than I would have liked).

Before the show started, I had no idea what to expect from it. I'd never gotten confirmation on just whose tour it was: was NIN opening for Soundgarden? Was it the other way around? Were they co-headlining and trading off each night? I was a little stressed, because while I love Soundgarden, I wanted NIN to play for as long as possible. Turned out to be a Nine Inch Nails tour, with Soundgarden as support.

Casey, Oz and I hit up the cafe to eat French fries during the ambient DJ that was opening the show and we got back to our seats just as Soundgarden dropped the curtain in front of the stage and launched into "Searching with My Good Eye Closed" and didn't let up for over an hour. They didn't have as much time as they would have liked, so they stuck mostly to the hits, but threw in a few of the less popular tracks, which was awesome. They played "Like Suicide" and "The Day I Tried to Live" and closed their set with "Slaves & Bulldozers" which just left a huge smile on my face.

Soundgarden sounded perfect, but they're kind of boring to watch. It didn't lessen my enjoyment, but it was a little bit of a letdown. Kind of looked like they were just going through the motions at times, but at least I got to see them.

The beginning of NIN's set caught me by surprise because there was literally nothing on the stage until Trent Reznor walked out, stood next to a single light and hit a few buttons on a sequencer. "Copy of A" started, and one by one, the rest of his band joined him across the front of the stage. Huge, LED screens moved behind each of them and the show got underway.

The setlist was very similar to what they played last year when I saw them (with a few exceptions, like taking out "Reptile" which was a bummer, but adding in "Closer" and "1,000,000" so it was okay), but the stage show this time was much more involved and intricate. There was also a smaller band this time, which made it easier for the seven (!) screens to be moved around while everyone was playing their instruments.

Totally worth the trip out there (and I'd never been to Denver before, which is an awesome city that we'll talk about a little bit more), I've hit two out of three and now I'm just waiting on The Boss. Let's get to it, Bruce.

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