Nine Inch Nails played Scotiabank Place, here in Ottawa on November 11th, 2008 with opening band Boris. Two years ago, they were supposed to play here, but got cancelled that afternoon because Trent was sick, and they never rescheduled. Anyway, after eating some yummy dinner at our friend's Aaron, and playing some Rockband2, we headed down to the show. We weren't in a big rush to get to the show, as the opening band Boris, I was not impressed with what I heard on youtube. After passing security, we can hear Boris playing, it sounded quite noizy. Ok, like love NIN, and they can be very noizy, but theirs is intelligent noise, Boris is just noise. Anyway, we head looking for beers. So, as it turns out, Scotiabank's liquor license was suspended for the night because one idiot made it outside in the smoking area with an alcoholic beverage. First, this really sucks, second, as if one person can cause the Scotiabank Place to stop serving the whole night. Head to our seats (which were amazing), and heard the last few songs from Boris. Some of it was kinda cool, but not in to them in general. Surprisingly, there was no one in the 200 level, only 100 level was sold. The turn out was not very good (I heard in another review, New Jersey was the same). It is a week night, but also a holiday, but still that was wierd.
YAY, NIN (Frontman Trent Reznor, guitarist Robin Finck, keyboardist Alessandro Cortini, drummer Josh Freese (who is leaving the band after this tour) and bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen hit the stage starting with 999,999, 1000000, and Letting You from their new CD Slip (great CD), then into March of Pigs, a great classic. The set list was amazing, they played many of their new, old and in between. Even some instrumental stuff from the new Ghost CDs released earlier this year. They played about 30 songs over 2 hours, basically non stop. I have seen NIN 3 times now, and this was one of the best shows with the sound, set list, and the coolest visuals. There were screens high up, above them, mid height, and behind them, plus a wall of pod lights. These see through screens and pod light wall would go up and down through the show, displaying awesome cascading visuals that went with the music. These massive screens were not the typical projected screens that are normally at a Nine Inch Nails show, but actual wall of millions of computer controlled LEDs, so no shadows, or other lighting changing the effect, instead these very bright visuals. As things were shown on the front screen lowered, they were busy changing the stage in the background. It was so seemless. All of a sudden when they started into some Ghosts songs, they had re-arranged the stage and had a huge xylophone, tall tube chimes, upright bass, and a drum kit setup way up on the stage with these screens in front and behind them. While they played these mellow instrumental songs, the lighting effects were so well done, finishing off the Ghost's section of the set list, into Piggy with the upright bass. After a quick interlude (of course using the cool effects on the screens), a roadie came out and started "whipping" the screen clear to see the background, and NIN started Wish.
Trent hardly spoke to the audience, only during the encore, he thanked us for coming to the show, and mentioned they have elected a new President in the States who is actually showing some intelligence. The first song of the encore, Fresse came out alone on the stage and started touching the screen showing this massive wall of drum sequencing squares which would highlight as he touched them, adding a new sound to the overall beat. After many loops, he had the electronic beat for Echoplex done, he went to the drum kit to finish the song with the rest of the band. Then as the song was winding down, he came back out and slowly removed parts of the beat seamlessly until there was no beat. Another example of the interaction with the visuals, was a simulated rain storm, you could not see anything behind this screen at the front of the stage, and whenever Trent came close to the screen, that part of the rain fall would go clear so you could see Trent. We captured many pictures at the show, so you can see some of the amazing effects I am mentioning.
Overall, it was a really awesome concert, well worth the money. The sound was amazing, the visuals and lighting were well done, the setlist I have no complaints (ok one little one, they did not play Burn, which is one of my favorite songs, but at least they played that in Montreal last year), and Nine Inch Nails played for a solid 2 hours.
Here is the setlist, I maybe wrong on a couple of the songs, but is should be pretty accurate.
march of the pigs
5 ghosts I
17 ghosts II
19 ghosts III
the big come down
31 ghosts IV
the hand that feeds
head like a hole
the good soldier
in this twilight
Here are some of the pictures we took of the show (NIN Photos)
A video explaining how the special effect screens worked
The Youtube NIN channel showing many other videos from NIN