By Justin Park
Nine Inch Nails performed its final shows in California on the
Wave Goodbye tour after 20 years on the circuit.
The concerts took place in Chula Vista, Irvine, Santa Barbara
and Mountain View from May 16 to May 22.
“I’ve been thinking for some time now it’s time to make NIN
disappear for a while,” said Trent Reznor in a Feb. 16
As a one-man band, Reznor handles vocals, guitars and production
To accommodate the material for live performances, Reznor
recruits a diverse array of musicians for each tour.
The 2009 lineup features guitarist Robin Finck (Guns N’ Roses),
bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck) and drummer Ilan Rubin
The band opted for obscure songs instead of hit singles. Notably
absent was 1994’s “Closer,” which gained notoriety for its sexual
“The approach to these shows is much more raw, spontaneous and
less scripted. Fun for us and a different way for you to see us and
wave goodbye,” said Reznor.
NIN delivered on its promise at Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre in
Chula Vista by kicking things off with “Home,” a track found only
on international editions of the 2005 “With Teeth” album.
Earlier in the evening, Reznor joined opening band Street
Sweeper Social Club for a rousing rendition of the MC5 classic
“Kick out the Jams.”
Although SSSC and Jane’s Addiction provided variety, NIN
After the sound cut out during “Terrible Lie,” the band
channeled its frustration by redoing the song with impassioned
“I think you owe me a great big apology,” Reznor sarcastically
NIN paid tribute to its influences by covering Gary Numan’s
“Metal” and David Bowie’s “I’m Afraid of Americans,” the latter of
which Reznor featured in the music video as Bowie’s stalker.
A fountain of primal energy was tapped for the capacity crowd at
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine, creating a visceral
“Mr. Self Destruct” and “Heresy” melted the faces off of those
who assumed NIN lost its luster over two decades.
“I am the end of all your dreams,” Reznor sang on “Mr. Self
The Wave Goodbye tour reintroduced old favorites such as the
apocalyptic “The Day The World Went Away,” which was featured in
trailers for “Terminator Salvation.”
At Santa Barbara Bowl, the audience was treated to a
comprehensive retrospective of material from 1989’s “Sin” to 2009’s
Although loaded with aggression, tranquil moments were provided
in the jazzy “La Mer.”
The final show at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View was
marked by religious zealots denouncing the evils of rock music
outside the venue.
Fortunately, the concert occurred without issue as NIN delivered
another exceptional performance.
20-year-old Rubin perfected the offbeat rhythm of “Discipline,”
while Meldal-Johnsen’s hypnotic bass line in “Survivalism” kept
Finck ripped through “Wish,” unleashing his wrath after an
unproductive eight-year stint in Guns N’ Roses, while Reznor
exploded during the penultimate “Head Like A Hole.”
The haunting ballad “Hurt,” immortalized by Johnny Cash’s
rendition, closed out the shows with grace.
Fans took their post-show antics to extremes as reports of a
hijacked Mountain View police cruiser made the local news.
Celebrities such as actress Rosanna Arquette, ex-drummer Josh
Freese and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak were spotted enjoying
Although NIN plans to continue making music in the studio, fans
will undoubtedly miss the monumental tours that brought 20 years
worth of songs to life.
Photo courtesy of Christopher Alvarez
Nine Inch Nails waves goodbye
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