Nine Inch Nails #56 – “Cleveland”

As we know covid ruined everything. NIN had planned a 2020 tour that would have brought 5 shows to Toronto, cancelled. They planned a “rock and roll hall of fame” 2 nights in Cleveland for 2021 which I got a ticket for one night, cancelled. 2022 tour, closest date again is Cleveland. Since I don’t like the 3 most recent EPs I really wasn’t excited to see a tour for them, so when tickets went on sale AND I was “at work” I didn’t set alarms to try for tickets, or anything like I would have done in the past. I remembered late for the first pre sale, but went on and never got out of the lobby to try for tickets until they were all gone. I attempted 2 more pre sales and the public sale, each time forgetting to go right on at 10am, and I was not willing to pay surge price, or $40 for lawn so I was left without tickets. And sadly, I wasn’t sad about it. I didn’t really want to drive down there, and I didn’t want to spend absurd prices, and I didn’t want to be on the lawn.

But as it goes, Mary saw a set list from early on in the tour, and really wanted to go. Spent months looking at ticket prices, and finally just bought 2 lawn from a fan on ETS for cheap, thinking as it got closer, and then day off, ticket prices HAD to go down so we could get seats. Well, they didn’t. We were relegated to the lawn.

We are old now, we got to sit in between bands, low stress. I am never going to queue all day for the rail again, so I thought it would be fine. Well, I learned that is not the case for me. lol

Since this turned into a sort of “rock and roll hall of fame” show, and the band did a live Q&A at the hall the day before there was the thought that maybe some guests would show up. Adam got to go to the Q&A and said he suspected there would be some appearances. Foreshadowing…..

Nitzer Ebb and Ministry opened. I am not very familiar with either, and they were fine. Didn’t love it. Seen worse. NIN opened with Somewhat Damaged. And that is when I realized I cannot see them from so far away. I could not see anything in detail, and the side screens showed the view of a singular camera guy who walked the stage the entire show. So it was lovely and artsy and beautiful but not good for actually SEEING what’s going on. Set started pretty typically, into March of the Pigs, Piggy etc. I did have the thought that this was just going to be the same thing I’ve seen 55 times. 2 new songs, one that I don’t mind one that is boring. Blahblahblah. We get to Reptile. This is the true moment when I realized I can’t be so far away. I need to feel Reptile in my chest. Those killer guitars, the drums, the vibe…I just couldn’t feel it so far away and it made me sad, even tho it sounded amazing as always (unless Peter Murphy is guest starring. I’m still bitter about that).

Middle of the set went to new songs again, one that Robin sang! But it was NOT AT ALL familiar to me, to the point where I wasn’t even sure it was a nin song. It was. I hate it. Another boring new song that I will forgive, purely because TRENT PLAYED SAXOPHONE. Wish I was close so I could see sexy old man Trent playing sax. lol Back into the old stuff. I will say there is a benefit to the new things I hate – it makes the old stuff even better haha. Then we get THE PERFECT DRUG. I had COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN that they had fiiiinally put it into the set a few years ago. Awesome. Burn is back, another moment to be closer.

We get to the Frail, and as it winds up and you wait for the Wretched you hear Eraser start. It always makes me laugh when the Wretched doesn’t start, and I think of Adam haha. But this time… Eraser begins, and there seems to be a lot going on on the stage. I CAN’T REALLY SEE THO cuz LAWN! The video guy is wandering around, and Trent and Robin walk on stage (they had gone behind some light screens)…and there’s people around, and then the camera is on this blond guy standing there….wait, what? I know that guy, I just saw him play at Gratwick Park. It’s Richard Patrick! So while I knew there was the guest possibility of, say, Danny Lohner, because he was part of the Q&A, given Trent and Rich’s history, that was really fucking unexpected. And then I realize, Danny is on stage, and then there is a little guy playing drums – Chris Vrenna! And someone is there with a theramin…it’s Charlie Clouser. So basically it’s everyone important from past band lineups on stage all at once. Robin and Richard (and Trent) are playing guitar. Ali, Charlie and Danny are on bass/keyboards/gadgets. 2 drummers. They do eraser, and all of the rest of the set – Wish (another moment wishing I could feel it), Sin, Gave Up….Hey Man Nice Shot! and finally Head Like a Hole. It was awesome having all those guys up there, and a really nice thing for Trent to do. Especially cuz though obviously I know nothing about their lives, it still feels like a bit of an olive branch to Richard. Danny is still so entertaining to watch, he broke a keyboard like it was the old days lol. Man it was great.

HLAH finishes and the NIN logo comes up and we wait for an encore….but it doesn’t come. They had been doing them, unlike that one tour that didn’t (summer 06?) and they hadn’t played Hurt. Also, I had accidentally seen a previous setlist that showed an encore of AND ALL THAT COULD HAVE BEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! whaaaaaaaaaaaaat? What what what? The 1 song I really never thought they’d ever play. I was kinda mad for seeing that setlist, for several reasons. One, I’m not totally sure how I feel about them playing it live. I always said I wanted to hear it live, because I loved it so much. But on the other hand, I feel like it’s a very special song, AND it’s kinda strange so I don’t know how it would translate and I wouldn’t want it to be bad. The other reason is, now that I saw that they were playing it, if they DIDN’T, I’d be mad lol. And they didn’t. There was no encore. NO HURT!!!!!!!!!!! HOORAY!!!!! So I’m kinda mad, kinda relived I didn’t hear it in the end.

I’m really glad I got convinced to go. I really truly was not going to go, and I wasn’t that upset that I wasn’t going, but it really was good. I realized that I did miss them. It felt good. Kinda like home. But never lawn again.


  • Somewhat Damaged
  • March of the Pigs
  • Piggy
  • Heresy
  • Less Than
  • The Lovers
  • Reptile
  • Sanctified
  • Copy of A
  • Shit Mirror (the song I feel like I never ever heard before)
  • God Break Down The Door (a bunch of noise but with SAX)
  • The Perfect Drug
  • Closer
  • The Big Come Down
  • Burn
  • The Hand That Feeds
  • The Frail

Enter Richard Patrick, Chris Vrenna, Danny Lohner, and Charlie Clouser

  • Eraser
  • Wish
  • Sin
  • Gave Up
  • Hey Man Nice Shot
  • Head Like A Hole

Then there was the epic zombie hoard walk to the car, and then sitting there not moving eating car charcuterie (that’s what seeing nin at 40 is lol), finally got out an hr and 45 min after the show ended.

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