CANOE -- JAM! Music - Artists - Nine Inch Nails - Concert Review: Air Canada Centre, Toronto - August 5, 2008 Air Canada Centre, Toronto - August 5, 2008 By JASON MacNEIL - Sun Media
TORONTO - Nine Inch Nails founder Trent Reznor has a few things in common with the late 19th Century American tycoon Andrew Carnegie.
Carnegie was a noted self-made man, becoming one of the more noted industrial magnates in history.
Reznor has always done his own thing, bucking the major label machinery and releasing three albums (Year Zero, Ghosts I-IV and The Slip) since splitting from Interscope Records last year.
And he too is an industrial magnate.
Make that an industrial rock magnate who hasn't played Carnegie Hall.
Currently on the Lights In The Sky tour, Nine Inch Nails lived up to the tour name with one of the more impressive and elaborate light shows around.
So visually stunning were the effects that at times the music was second fiddle to what most fans filling a large chunk of Toronto's Air Canada Centre were seeing. Whether it was the appearance of rain on a transparent light panel placed in front of the band which would occasionally keep them from sight or drummer Josh Freese tapping on square panels on another lighting area to create the drum backbeat during Echoplex in the encore, it made recent visual effects by Coldplay and U2 seem dated by comparison.
But at the core were Reznor's well-crafted songs that have just a little bit of something for everyone - plenty of guitar brawn, some techno, dance and ambient accents and equally alluring grooves.
Although Nine Inch Nails led the 130-minute show with a handful of songs from The Slip, including the foot-stomping 1,000,000, things truly didn't get off the ground until the hellish March Of The Pigs began as Reznor told the crowd to "get the f--k up."
And while most of the new songs were ear candy to hardcore fans, an equal number were content for tunes from Pretty Hate Machine and the band's 1994 breakthrough The Downward Spiral. Here Reznor placated them with Head Like A Hole, the slow but creepy Piggy and Terrible Lie.
The fact guitarist Robin Finck, who toured with the band in 1994, recently returned is a huge bonus. Finck worked his magic on several songs including the punchy Survivalism and early on for Head Down which had him looking like a futuristic Neil Young during one solo.
But regardless of his cast, Nine Inch Nails goes as far as Reznor goes. Most of that angst has subsided somewhat but he was still capable of being the petulant little 43-year-old, routinely tossing microphone stands around and once tossing a keyboards over the lip of the stage. Yet that angst suited Closer perfectly as he uttered the line about wanting to, er, do something to you like an animal.
With the evening beginning to draw to a close, Reznor saved the signature almost for last when he softly performed the tender and still stellar Hurt as lighters flickered throughout the venue. Rather quitting while ahead, Nine Inch Nails closed with In This Twilight as the band exited one by one with Reznor the last to leave.
The idea of Nine Inch Nails lasting another 20 years is a stretch but with Reznor's prolific output of late he would probably only need a quarter of that time to put out two decades worth of material. And that can only be good news for Nine Inch Nail fans.