Saturday, November 04, 2006

Nine Inch Nails - Woodstock '94

This show holds a special place for me because it introduced me to the music of Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails. I was home for the summer from college when Woodstock 1994 happened, and a friend and I decided we'd camp out in my parents' basement to watch the performances on TV for the weekend. Woodstock 1994 quickly earned the nickname "mudstock" because rain had turned the fields where the festival took place into a muddy mess. Mud was everywhere - during Green Day's set the band even got into a playful mud fight with fans until all of the band members and their gear were covered.

Nine Inch Nails was due to perform third to last on the same night as Metallica and Aerosmith. I'd heard some good things about NIN, and had even heard the single "Head Like A Hole" from 1989's Pretty Hate Machine, but I didn't know what to expect or whether I'd be into their songs.

The band took the stage after dark, with the sounds of the instrumental "Pinion" from the 1992 Broken EP gradually increasing in volume and in synch with the stage lights. The band was nowhere to be seen until the music reached its crescendo, and it was then that the TV audience could see the band take the stage.

And what and entrance! The band members were completely covered from head to toe in mud. A moment of solidarity with the mud-covered fans? Perhaps. Whatever the reason, the crowd was theirs from the second the started playing set opener "Terrible Lie". I was blown away by the visceral energy of the band's performance, particularly Reznor's. He was hitting the mic on his head during the opening song, screaming like a man possessed, and bounding around the stage. At different times during the performance he even attacked other band members. Apparently the band was riddled with equipment problems and frustrating monitor issues during the set, which may have led to the particularly intense performance. Nonetheless, it was awesome.

The songs were amazing too, and by the time they got to "Burn", from the soundtrack to the film Natural Born Killers, I was hooked. In my opinion, the NIN performance at Woodstock '94 completely blew away the Metallica and Aerosmith sets that followed - no small feat. I went out and immediately started collecting NIN's records, and I've been a fan ever since.

Here's the complete performance from Woodstock 1994.
Nine Inch Nails
Woodstock 1994

Terrible Lie
March Of The Pigs
Something I Can Never Have
The Only Time
Down In It
Dead Souls
Help Me I Am In Hell
Happiness In Slavery
Head Like A Hole
Buy NIN's music.

For a taste of newer NIN, check out I Am Fuel, You Are Friends for the band's recent Bridge School Benefit performance.



Blogger Beth said...

I don't know what's more shocking... that you were in college during the summer of 1994 or that you enjoy NIN. Wow.

November 05, 2006 4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog man. Check mine out sometime...you might find a few shows you like.

November 06, 2006 8:25 AM  
Blogger nate said...

I wasn't there, but I bought the bootleg of the whole show, later that year, in Germany and it has remained my favorite bootleg of all time.

Trent saying "I thought this was gonna suck, but it ended up being pretty cool is an all time RnR moment for me.

July 16, 2009 6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great blog. Wish I was there. NIN

February 14, 2010 2:31 AM  
Blogger Ryan D said...

I was there! Also in college at the time. Their set was possibly the most epic concert event of my life. I was tossed head first into a mud puddle and lost my binoculars but it was all good! I also lost my friends and never found them again--the days before cell phones, of course. One of the best dirty, rainy, drunken nights of my life!

May 18, 2014 9:10 PM  

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