Toledo, OH, Toledo Sports Arena, February 21, 2006

 

Written and photos by: Jason Perlman

 

For any Nine Inch Nails fan, the chance to see the band in a venue that has open seating on the floor, and only holds about 7,500 fans is a dream come true. So when the band announced its Toledo, Ohio date at the Toledo Sports Arena, the dream became a reality.

Trent Reznor has taken his project to a level that almost defies logic. Nine Inch Nails has somehow, in the last few years, went from a band that seemed to only appeal to the outcasts of high schools across the country and is now a mainstay on popular radio. And this accomplishment wasn't done with changing sounds and trying to make singles for records, but rather Reznor's vision finally became seen as what it truly is; utterly emotional beats mixed with unquestionable truthful and heartfelt lyrics.

Maybe Johnny Cash can be credited with allowing others to see the genius of Reznor's lyrics, but when a band performs live, there is no safety net to catch them if they fall. And for Reznor, he has found a band to play behind him that can walk the tightrope time and again without ever even thinking of having something below to catch them.

As the show started, lights shone from behind a sheer curtain, and the band played the entire first song, The New Flesh/Pinion, silhouetted against the white curtain. As soon as the curtain lifted, smoke came billowing out from the stage and fans were greeted with sharp, flashing strobes as Reznor took his signature pose behind his mike stand, strummed on his even more signature, deep black Dean guitar and dove into Love Is Not Enough like a hawk eyeing a dying field mouse in a freshly-mowed, grassy marsh.

For 120 minutes, sweaty, crazed devotees were treated to a variety of material spanning the extensive career of NIN. Although many were disappointed that Reznor never broke out the piano to play Hurt, it would seem that for those who see NIN anytime they are within 500 miles, it may not be such a band thing. After all, Dead Souls was added to the set list.

The 23-song night was packed with tons of music, and as usual, very little talk from Reznor. Although he says very little between songs, his words during the songs speak volumes to the community listening to every syllable Reznor sings.

With good reason, NIN and Reznor are synonymous with one another, but as mentioned above, the band Reznor brings with him on tour adds much animation and aptitude to the live show, that it cannot go unnoticed. So, to those who have no idea NIN is more than Reznor, here are the band members' names, Alessandro Cortini (keyboards), Josh Freese (drums), Aaron North (guitar), and Jeordie White (bass, guitar).

As NIN continue to support its mass success off of its newest record, With Teeth. If one were to go to NIN's bulletin board and read about this show, many comments would be made about the people of Toledo. Everything from Neo-Nazi to White trash is being thrown around like wrappers from a hamburger. But looking from the outside, that is what makes Reznor and NIN so spectacular. The fact that such a variety of people can get something out of his music and lyrics and relate in a way that otherwise would never have put these people in the same room. So rather than look at those perceived differences, all fans should relish that one band can give so much to so many. After all, isn't that what music is supposed to be about?

Nikki Sixx
Mick Mars