Photos: Nine Inch Nails at the 1stBank Center (review, video) - Reverb

Nine Inch Nails at the 1stBank Center, 11-13-13 (photos, review, video)

There was a point during Wednesday night’s Nine Inch Nails show in Broomfield – about 4-5 songs in, actually – when someone in section 107 held up a lighter. It was a complete throwback gesture to the days before mobile phones, and it was somewhat bittersweet. Because if that person came to the 1stBank Center hoping to fully recapture their gritty goth glory days with the industrial Nine Inch Nails of the ’80s and ’90s, their wish was definitely not granted.

That’s not to say the show was wasn’t spectacular – it was – but it was a different Nine Inch Nails than the band that went on hiatus in 2009. Trent Reznor spent the time away scoring movies, winning an Oscar and playing with How to Destroy Angels, and the result is a more seasoned and mature side to his music, as seen on the band’s latest album, “Hesitation Marks.” The songs performed off that album Wednesday night – 10 total – actually featured back-up singers, funky Bowie-tinged bass lines and even a baritone sax solo. “Hesitation Marks” is actually – dare I say it – danceable Nine Inch Nails. But, of course, it’s also full of the dark, smoldering sexiness fans have come to expect from Our Lord Reznor.

And that is how the show was: Hard, grimy, haunting, yet packed with serious funk. It launched with synth-heavy new-ish single “Copy of A,” tore straight into “1,000,000” from 2008 release “The Slip” and then into a stripped-down, vocal-focused version of “Terrible Lie” off the band’s 1989 debut, “Pretty Hate Machine.” Ten of “Hesitation Marks”‘ 14 songs made an appearance, with the remainder of the show’s 25 songs total spread between seven other records. The black-clad audience seemed to enjoy the funky new tracks; a look around at the crowd revealed many singing along word-for-word. But it was clear the enthusiasm was reserved for the older tracks. Case in point: when the distinct opening drums of “March of the Pigs” sounded, a middle-aged woman next to me began jumping around and screaming along with every angst-riddled word, as did most in the arena.

And as Nine Inch Nails built the mood of the set, a blinding and dynamic light show brought the crowd further into the machine. From the giant LED screen dropping down in front of the band, encasing them in a digital cage, 3D effects and video projections, to the individual light cubes that strikingly bathed each member of the band in a separate light box (think of every stereotypical “abducted by aliens” movie shot, and you’ll get the idea), the lights added an incredible layer to the experience. Check out the pairing of striking imagery with the more-haunting-than-usual version of “Hurt” in the video below to get a taste.

Opening act Explosions in the Sky had a daunting task keeping the audience tame for 45 minutes. A NIN crowd is generally there for one reason: to pay homage at the altar of Reznor. And that means that any opening band is sure to be judged with an even harsher eye than usual, and historically is sometimes not even tolerated. It was a bold choice to have post-rock, all instrumental Explosions in the Sky open, but it somehow worked. I admit to loving the band for years, but it was great to look around and see fans from all walks – Affliction-wearing MMA bros to a dude who looked like Marilyn Manson on a really bad day – closing their eyes and just feeling the music.

Set List:

Copy of A
1,000,000
Terrible Lie
March of the Pigs
Piggy
All Time Low/Closer
Disappointed
Came Back Haunted
Find My Way
Various Methods of Escape
Sanctified
(Altered version)
The Big Come Down
In Two
Survivalism
Running
A Warm Place
Somewhat Damaged
Wish
The Hand That Feeds
Head Like a Hole
Encore:
All the Love in the World
Even Deeper
While I’m Still Here
Black Noise
Hurt

See our live chat from the Nine Inch Nails concert below:


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Laura Keeney is an online news producer and journalist for The Denver Post. She’s quite obsessed with Joe Strummer. Follow her @LauraKeeney and @onnabugeisha.

Seth A. McConnell is a staff photographer for the YourHub section of the Denver Post and is a regular contributor to Reverb.

  • Eric J. Schultz

    Awesome show! (hated the opening band though – almost fell asleep standing up)

  • Ring_of_Fire

    Though perhaps on a printed setlist you found somewhere, The Frail, The Wretched, and Satellite were not played.

    The REAL setlist was as follows:

    Copy of A
    1,000,000
    March of the Pigs
    Piggy
    All Time Low/Closer
    Disappointed
    Came Back Haunted
    Find My Way
    Various Methods of Escape
    Sanctified
    The Big Come Down
    In Two
    Survivalism
    Running
    A Warm Place
    Somewhat Damaged
    Wish
    Hand that Feeds
    Head Like a Hole
    ———
    All The Love in the World
    Even Deeper
    While I’m Still Here
    Black Noise
    Hurt

  • Ring_of_Fire

    You also screwed up one of the encore songs – and, honestly, one of the best moments of the night in All the love in the World.

    Honestly, I think you left after 7-8 songs and wrote your review, relying on the internet to “get you close” with your setlist, hoping no-one who was actually AT the concert was going to stumble across it.

    Boo.

    • http://heyreverb.com/ Matt Miller

      As you can see by the second-to-last video, the reviewer was at the show and filming the last song of the night.

      • Ring_of_Fire

        Oh cute! A mod!

        Look, I caught your reviewer making up a setlist. At best, that’s pure laziness, because the correct list was out on the internet about an hour after the show was over.

        At worst, it’s someone reviewing the show that wasn’t there for the whole thing.

        So, yeah, not the worst. Good for you guys. Really.

        The least you can do is say, “Hey, you’re right! We screwed up…we should have made sure our setlist was correct before we posted it.”

        • http://heyreverb.com/ Matt Miller

          You can’t accuse the writer of lying about attending the concert when there’s obvious video evidence above. She was a few songs off with her set list, but that doesn’t mean you caught my reviewer doing anything unethical. In fact you made an unsuccessful attempt at playing Internet troll.

        • http://www.denverpost.com/ Laura Keeney

          Time to weigh in on this.

          I can understand pointing out something that’s incorrect. But calling my integrity and credibility into account is absolutely uncalled for.

          I did not make up a set list. I was there the entire show – as Matt pointed out, I shot video of the incredible version of “Hurt.” I took notes during the entire show, wrote the review in the middle of the night, and checked my list against one I found online since there were a few songs I was not sure about. I mistakenly used the incorrect one when I sent this in to my editor at the crack of dawn. It happens. It’s been corrected.

          I’m sure you have something better to do with your time. I know I do. Thanks for reading.

  • 400lbgo

    Great show. Great versions of every song. “Terrible Lie” was very emotional and timely.