Strolling into Kings Theater last night (10/16), into the sea of black clad fans for the third NYC show of Nine Inch Nails' Cold, Black and Infinite tour, I was amazed at how striking the juxtaposition was. All this darkness against the bright and shiny ornate beauty of this grand theatre. Then standing in the back looking into the sea of people as the lights rose on stage for second opener The Jesus and Mary Chain, what was seemingly incongruous suddenly felt ever so right.
The Mary Chain have been performing basically the same set each night on this tour with a few different tracks here and there thrown in each show. It’s a “hits” filled set and last night didn’t disappoint. Although they are no longer that menacing band that elicited a sense of danger, songs like "Just Like Honey," "Head On," "Some Candy Talking" and "Blues From A Gun" can still hit you right where they need to. William Reid, once again off to the side, cloaked much of the night in smoke and darkness, ripped into each song with those buzzing guitar lines he long ago perfected. And then there's Jim Reid, front and center, hunched over, trying to wring every last drop of emotion from all those great songs. Nary a word was said until the end with a “Thanks and it was a pleasure to play for you" before launching into "Reverence" from 1992’s masterpiece Honey’s Dead, and then drawing out the classic line “I want to die just Like JFK” for maximum impact.
After a short break, the lights come up, and Trent Reznor is center stage uttering “I smashed myself to pieces. I’m gonna fuck myself up." The crowd let out a roar for the still never officially recorded dirge “Now I’m Nothing” which they have resurrected once again for this tour after it was away for some years. This led of course into "Terrible Lie" with the white lights and strobes exploding and we’re off. While the previous show at Radio City got a ton of songs from The Fragile, tonight was all about Pretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral. There was "Mr. Self Destruct," whose punk undertones were emphasized even more this evening. That led into a stomping "March of the Pigs" and then a nice little surprise. First time for this tour, from Pretty Hate Machine, the wrenching "Something I Can Never Have," delivered with Reznor’s eyes tightly closed, the singer gripping the mic screaming over and over, and the “You make this all go away” line sounding as powerful as I’ve ever heard it performed. This led into "Sanctified" from the aforementioned album, whose almost-trip hop-like beats were magnified tenfold this evening. That fed perfectly into the middle part of the show with the new songs from the recent Bad Witch and Add Violence being showcased. Songs like "The Lovers," "Shit Mirror" and "Ahead of Ourselves" all had their beat-driven underbelly, aided by new full-time member Atticus Ross, brought to the forefront. The beats went on further with another surprise tour first: The Downward Spiral’s "I Do Not Want This," with its blasting Sturm und Drang made all the more feverish by Ilan Rubin’s pounding drumming. How do you top that? Well, naturally, with a green haze lit stage and the band careening into "The Perfect Drug" which had the audience going apeshit (not that anyone wasn’t into the show before that -- they were crazy all night), and didn’t let up right into the set closer, an absolutely epic "Head Like a Hole." As with The Mary Chain, there wasn’t much chatter from the stage tonight except for a few thank you’s. During the encore though, after introducing the band, Trent said "We’re gonna play a song by a huge influence on us" and we got "Metal," from Gary Numan’s seminal Pleasure Principle album, which NIN covered on The Fragile remix album Things Falling Apart. Wrapping up the show as always was "Hurt," bathed in this beautiful theater in a bright orange glow which had much of the audience raising and swaying their hands like they were in Sunday morning church services. With that, another great show in the books for what is turning out to be a stellar tour. What’s in store for the last stop in NYC tonight? We shall see.
The run wraps up at Kings Theatre tonight (10/17), once again with The Jesus and Mary Chain and Daniel Avery (who we unfortunately missed last night) opening. Videos and setlist of night 3 below...
Nine Inch Nails at Kings Theatre - 10/16/18 Setlist (via)
Now I'm Nothing
Mr. Self Destruct
March of the Pigs
Something I Can Never Have (Tour debut)
Ahead of Ourselves
God Break Down the Door
Closer (with ‘The Only Time’ interpolation )
Find My Way
I Do Not Want This (Tour debut)
The Perfect Drug
Head Like a Hole
Metal (Gary Numan cover)
Night one pics: