I am blessed. I can't stress that enough. This week was one of the best weeks ever. It all started when America FINALLY did something RIGHT and Barack Obama was voted to be the 44th President of the United States. This was only the start of great things to happen...
On Thursday, November 6th, 2008 at 8 p.m. I found myself in my sister's company driving to Atlantic City to catch a VERY SPECIAL club performance at the House of Blues in the Showboat Casino on the Boardwalk of AC. The performance was for one Mr. Trent Reznor and his rogues in tow, Robin Finck, Alessandro Cortini, Josh Freese, and Justin Meldel-Johnsen. Nine Inch Nails playing a 2000 capacity No'leans themed club. Can it get any better? Oh yes, I think so.
First off, you must understand the JOURNEY that led me to this fateful night. I was IMMEDIATELY UNABLE to get tickets to this event the conventional superfan way-the NINOfficial Tickets presale was KILLED within seconds- I never had a shot in hell. I was determined to go. I discovered that there was a presale for AMEX cardholders... and all that was needed was a secret password. Not being a cardmember, it seemed like a long shot. Like a good girl I awaited the day for the presale with some major anxiety. I knew this was my only chance- because once those tickets went public I was screwed. I was at work, and should've been working, but I just had to try. I tried entering a few numbers from my mother's card. No go. On an impulse I googled "nin presale password" and came up with a website boasting presale codes. I saw "MYHARRAHS" and thought, "eh, why not try?" I typed it... and got in. I was exasperated. The search for tickets began, "Your request cannot be processed" was what I was greeted with. Damn. I refused to believe this was the end of it. It seemed like a miracle I even got in, and now it was REFUSING ME?! NO~ I reentered several more times... I was about to give up... I clicked "look for tickets" one last time... when BEHOLD to my utter amazement, I was with TWO balcony seats on the left. I purchased without hesitation, not sure how I would get there and who I could go with. I still couldn't get over my luck. I figured I would worry later.
Christmas came early for my sister. The ticket was hers as the awesomest gift I could ever bestow upon her. The deal was she'd drive. Beautiful. NOW back to the night. The great thing about seats is, they're assigned. No matter what happens- that is YOUR SPOT- as sweet as GA is, it is NOT convenient for those of us who are employed, and it's even worse for those who are vertically challenged. I happen to be both of those things. We arrived shortly after the doors opened. The Pit was already hundreds deep. Because we were 2 out of the lucky as hell 600 to have seats, we were able to buy merch and imbibe overpriced drinks (they were, surprisingly, quite generous with the booze though, so YAY). We slowly sauntered up to the balcony- only to discover that they were at an extremely angled position- another glorious attribute- I knew right then and there that I would be able to SEE! Wow! What a thrill!
Then... the show begins! HEALTH was the opening acts, and may I just say that they were one of the most SOLID openers I have ever seen for Nails. They were balls to the wall LOUD, the drummer was insane, and the beats were quite formidable for vigorous head nodding and pouting lower lips of approval. I am considering a purchase. No shit.
THEN the telltale guitar riff of Pinion floods the speakers. A sea of humans all stand up and cheer. and the show commences. They opened with Love is not Enough- perhaps one of my favorite latter day Nails hits. I was never happier. This was a stripped down show- the lights were simple, the set was bare- the band mates were clearly visible the entire performance. Better still was my VIEW. We were on the far left balcony- Trent positioned himself on stage right- which meant I saw him as clearly as I ever had without having to get injured in a pit. He is now built like a swarthy motherfucker- with the advantage of an angled seat, I could truly pause and take the time to appreciate how his physique has evolved to always pique my interests. 10 years ago I liked the skinny dudes, now that I am a bit older, I like my man with a healthy dose of MEAT. And, Boy oh boy, Trent is one meaty as hell sexy ass mother fucker. haha. Ok, enough about Trent's hot bod- on to the REAL MEAT- the show itself.
The room exploded in a fury as soon as Pinion came on- and it stayed that way for an explosive TWENTY SEVEN SONG LONG PERFORMANCE. You read it right baby. How Josh Freese's arms didn't fall off is still beyond me. The sound was stellar. The view was pristine- and I was actually able to dance and rock so hard I have bruises and a stiff neck to prove it. With each song I got a little more lost in the moment. It dawns on my right then and there that this is MY meditation. Screaming, thrashing, gyrating, pumping my fists in the air, and banging my head. Some people garden. Others take breathing exercises. I kick and scream. Go figure.
Before Nails came on, my sis and I discussed all the great Nails shows we've been lucky enough to see together. I reminisce and say with deep regret that I only saw the triple threat bill of Peaches, Bauhaus, and Nails once. She called me greedy. She was right, in a sense, but how often do I get to see Trent Reznor and Peter Murphy on the same bill?
Survivalism blares on in a wild fury and I am wrapped up in a moment. I notice in a calm meditative moment, that there is a lanky white gentleman perched on the edge of the platform of the drum set. I find it odd- and barely register what is about to happen... the music ends and cheers come all around. Trent gets on the mic to address us, the eager and devoted audience. He says something along the lines of, "You never know what to expect... here to perform with us is, our special guest and dear friend, PETER MURPHY"!!!! I begin a BANSHEE WAIL that NO DOUBT left some fans around me DEAF. I didn't even care- IT WAS A DREAM COME TRUE! The signature "centipede synth" (as I have lovingly deemed it) comes on... and I continue to shred my vocal chords. I am about to hear PETER MURPHY sing REPTILE with Trent Reznor. Holy Mother of God, the ticket which I once complained about as being steep suddenly became GROSSLY inexpensive.
The show goes on... I am a furious ball of angst ridden energy. I have never felt better. As Head Like a Hole closes... the lights slowly come back on. The show ends, finally. I have a dramatic chesire grin drawn across my entire face. It didn't go away. In fact, it only got broader. Next thing I know we are making our slow descent downstairs. We are scanning the floor for people we know. We run into an old NIN Show buddy.. and are chatting it up. It is then that I see Rob Sheridan. Nine Inch Nails exclusive art director, graphic designer, and photographer. To put it simply, the guy is a personal hero of mine. He is young, gifted, and has a DREAM JOB. Basically, he's achieved a career I would literally murder for. My sister chides me on and on to approach him. I've gone up to him only once before- at the Fragility tour when I was a fresh faced teen. And from what I recalled, I was an ASS. I didn't want to make the same mistake. The sis won't let up though, and finally, we find ourselves approaching. She opens the floor for discussion with a compliment. Smart. He is openly communicative and not at all put off by our approach. I rack my brains trying to ask a question I have recently grown curious about... "Why hasn't NIN come back to NY?" He smiles and lets me know it is no vendetta against NY... it's simply scheduling and contractual conflicts he hopes shall be remedied soon. Thank god. He then let's us know that this was a good show to play because it reminded Trent of how FUN it can be to just play and not worry about all the effects, and that the intimacy of club shows is a great return to the basics. There is a subtle hint that more club shows may come into play. Oh boy...Then Rob reveals that Peter Murphy coming out was completely spontaneous. He was planning on hanging out... but then he showed up and said "I think I'd like to sing Reptile if you wouldn't mind..." WOW. Solid brass balls. I only wish I could show up at a show and sing along with Mr. Reznor. I guess that's what being the Godfather of Goth is all about.
We finally leave the venue. We hang around out front for a bit, not doing much of anything... when I register a girls face is lit up yet completely terrified in one instant. I follow her eyes... and see PETER MURPHY walking towards the casino. Holy Shit. All inhibitions are thrown out the window and I literally FLOCK to him. I say, "Thank you so much... I saw you perform in June in Manhattan and you were simply phenomenal!" We shake hands and he says in his rich beautiful English timbre.. "Oh, at the... Blender Theatre in Grammercy, right? Why, thank you." He smiles warmly while shaking my hand. I study his face, make up... I am simply BEAMING. I couldn't help myself. I am about to take my hand from his soft, lanky delicate yet firm grip, when another person stops him to speak. He turns, yet remains with my hand in his grasp... he switches the position of his hand.. but doesn't let go. I am HOLDING HANDS with Peter Murphy.
I bask in the glory of the moment before his friend tells him they really must be going. He smiles one last time at me before he departs. Wow. My sister tried to get a pic of us... but it wasn't meant to be. She DID however get a shot of the Man himself on her camera phone... This was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. One I shall hold dearly always. Now... If I could only meet the Man that all these people know... there must be a reason unbeknownst to me why it hasn't happened. I stay blindly faithful that my time of intimate contact will come... when it's meant to..
The AWESOME SET:
2. Love Is Not Enough
3. Terrible Lie
5. Letting You
6. March of the Pigs
8. The Frail
9. The Wretched
10. The Collector
12. Reptile (with Peter Murphy)
15. The Beginning of The End
16. Ghosts 31
18. Head Down
19. Gave Up
20. The Line Begins To Blur
22. God Given
23. Down In It
25. Starfuckers Inc.
26. The Hand That Feeds
27. Head Like A Hole