Dear Mr. Reznor,
More after the jump.
Nine Inch Nails played what is reported to be their final show (ever) last night at the Wiltern Theater. To say that the last four dates of the tour, played here in Los Angeles, were “epic” would be a bit of an understatement.
Nine Inch Nails band leader Trent Reznor knew he didn’t want to spend all of his time on the road anymore, but he also wanted an opportunity to give the band (and the fans) a proper send off. Thus, the Wave Goodbye Tour: four shows in New York, two in Chicago, and the final four here in L.A. All in very small venues.
Each of the concerts had unique set lists, covering the vast NIN catalog as well as some of Reznor’s favorite cover tunes and guest artists’ songs. There were guests at each of the shows. In New York, Peter Murphy joined NIN on stage by being lowered (upside down, like a bat) from the ceiling.
Here in Los Angeles, electronic music pioneer Gary Numan joined the band at all four of the shows. Reznor introduced Numan by saying that he was most influential when Reznor was trying to discover his own musical identity. Last night’s guest list also included Dave Navarro (of Jane’s Addiction,) Mike Garson (keyboards with David Bowie, Smashing Pumpkins, et al,) Atticus Ross, and The Dillinger Escape Plan.
Early in last night’s set, Reznor thanked the audience for coming and for supporting the band for the last 20 years “…but I’m not going to get all weepy just yet.” The band then launched into another fan favorite song. Later on in the show, Reznor assured the audience that while the band wouldn’t be touring anymore, they would continue to make music together and individually.
James Brown was known as “the hardest working man in show business.” Having seen Brown live twice, I can confidently say that he had nothing on Trent Reznor. Never have I seen so much energy (and sweat) poured out onto a stage than these final NIN concerts. Reznor & Co., as they say, left it all on the stage.
After a nearly 3 1/2 hour set of almost 40 songs, the end drew near. Following a very moving rendition of “Hurt,” Nine Inch Nails closed the show with “In This Twilight.”
With Reznor playing keyboards at center stage, the band slowly departed. First, guitarist Robin Finck took off his guitar, waved to the crowd and left the stage. Drummer Ilan Rubin then stood and gave a wave, and followed Finck from the stage. Bassist Justin Meldal-Johnson laid his instrument at his feet, waved and joined the others off-stage, leaving only Reznor playing solo on piano.
As he played the last few notes, Reznor thanked the audience, gazed at them one last time, then waved goodbye and disappeared into the darkness.
I look forward to whatever future music Reznor creates, but I will truly miss the live shows. Nine Inch Nails records are great, but nothing compares with the excitement, the raw energy, of one of their concerts; especially these last four.
Thank you, Trent. You have truly changed the world with your music. We’ll miss you, but hopefully not for long.