NIN|JA – 5/31 Verizon Wireless Music Center

After pining for over two months to attend this concert, and taking every opportunity to plug it to anyone who would listen, this last weekend I finally got to see that which is the Nine Inch Nails and Jane’s Addiction. As an added bonus, Tom Morello and Boots Riley’s Street Sweeper Social Club would open the show, bringing together the awesome guitar work from the former’s time with Rage Against the Machine and the latter’s work with The Coup.

SSSC was a great opening act. As mentioned before, Morello’s guitar work inspired many thoughts of RATM and Riley’s lyrics combined to create something intangible, yet very pleasing to the ear. The crowd got into it, fists pumping in the air as we all celebrated the birthday of one Mr. Tom Morello. At the end of the set, out comes Perry Ferrell with a birthday cake and in unison, everyone serenades Tom with a rendition of “Happy Birthday”. Overall, SSSC‘s set, while short, was full and included the audience. The Social Club aspect invited all fans in attendance to become a part of the movement, and channeling The Coup, Riley called for “The Revolution”.

After a brief intermission, the lawn started occupying more people. I heard a few in attendence stating “If Reznor opens for Jane’s Addiction, I’m out of here”. Well it is the NIN|JA tour, makes sense he’d open, doesn’t it? Regardless, this held for me something I had wanted to do for years. I hadn’t really become a fan of NIN until about seven years ago, when my life circumstances and situations at the time made for very good union with the music. Since, I’ve been a solid fan. Mind you, there are only a few groups I will hardcore promote and while NIN isn’t one of them, they are a group in my top fifteen. With friends of mine having seen Reznor play many different times at many different venues, I knew if I didn’t see him live I’d be doing myself a great disservice… and boy was I right. With thunderstorms looming in the distance, severe weather alerts and tornado sirens howling in the background, shit was getting interesting.

It started raining. I began to wonder why it seemed I got rained on whenever I went to a concert at Verizon, and then I got pulled out of my moment by hearing the beginning of “The Fragile”. I could go into a deep, long, drawn out explaination of all the things flying through my mind at the time, being overtaken by the music and the rain falling down on me. I digress. Suffice to say, while feeling the warm drops hit my face and looking above toward the heavens and singing along, I made a memory that will be with me for the rest of my natural born life.

I was then able to hear my all time favorite NIN song, Mr. Self Destruct, which snapped my conciousness back into reality and out of the solace in my head. Head Like a Hole was a complete and total crowd pleaser. Our time was coming to an end. Before long, Trent was talking to the crowd about how he didn’t want to say that he was quitting because it would make them sad. He thanked everyone for their years of support, his band for playing with him through all the years, and then finished it off with Hurt. Lighters all over the pavillion and throughout the lawn were held high, and the entire crowd was singing along in unison. Ovation. Intermission.

Quite a few people began to leave, which totally baffled my mind. How and why on earth would you leave when one of the most influential alt rock bandswas about to come on stage? Nevermind the fact that this was a complete reunion of the band. If nothing else, Perry Ferrell is going to entertain the shit out of everyone because he is, well, certifiable. Down drops this large projection screen, with topless women on it. HEY-OH! Up goes the curtain and music starts blasting from the stage and blanketing the venue.

I wasn’t a Jane’s Addiction fan in my teenage years, and with breakup after breakup, spinoffs like a bad sitcom and reunion tours here and there, I never became one. I am glad that I was able to see them this night, and got a kick out of the show they put on. “Hello, Indiana!” chirps Ferrell “you people seem like you like to have a good time here in Indiana!” the crowd responds. “I sing from my balls!”

I’m not sure if the show was more of Perry being ridiculous or if it was about music. Either way, the two were blended quite well, and between songs, Perry is talking with the people in the front row and asks what they’d like to hear. “1 percent? ok, *turns to band* we can do that guys, right?” They then play that song. Running around with a bottle of wine he’d take swigs off of from time to time, he then went for a cigarette. He asked if anyone had a light, and people started throwing lighters on the stage. The band started playing a little bit, then he called them off because he needed to get the cigarette lit properly, and said so. Once the fire issue had been solved, they start rocking it out again. For an encore performance, Jane’s Addiction gave a few songs, one of which was “Jane Says”. This was a very fun song to watch be performed and sing along to.

On the way out the parking lot was near empty. I’ve never seen such a thing. I am glad to know that I was a part of something that so many others had apparently felt wasn’t worth their time or thought “was going to suck”. To each their own.

keep on keepin on