Nine Inch Nails stun a capacity crowd at Target Center, 11/25/08

Categories: Concert Review
Photo by Steve Cohen

Tuesday night's Nine Inch Nails show at the Target Center was a run-on sentence of the most elegant composition. It was full of multiple clauses and digressions, ornamented by all the pretty verbs that can hang a crowd of thousands agape and breathless for three long hours.

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Slideshow: Nine Inch Nails at Target Center, 11/25/08

Boris, noise metal prodigies of the lowest RPM, opened the show, beset by enormous LED monitors that backlit their droning take on industrial metal. As musically oppressive as a funeral dirge, their pensive shoe-gazing and statuesque performance, which was as overwhelming in the Target Center PA as a tsunami at its highest crest, seemed mildly out of place in such an opulent venue, and one would certainly be wise to see them this Friday at the Triple Rock, where the finery of their music won't be lost in the cavernous echo chamber of a basketball arena. Still, they were received well, and kept the floor crowded, a hard feat for an opening act at such a marquee show.

Photos by Steve Cohen

What began with Nine Inch Nails' opening song, a track off his label-less release The Slip, was a marathon performance, extended an extra mile or so to pacify any lingering resentment from Reznor's cancellation earlier this month. Beginning in all the right places, with a first act laden with hits from his Interscope antiquity like "March Of The Pigs," "Closer," and "La Mer," a stirring piano prelude from his double-disc masterpiece The Fragile, Reznor commanded the stage with all requisite menace and contempt for himself -- and the crowd, his gear, and his own music for that matter.

Marvel as Reznor sends a mic stand spiraling over his head behind him, to crash recklessly against his own coffined keyboards! It's an act to be sure, but one of uncommon recklessness in a show with such immense resources. During an enthralling halftime break, a stage-wide LED curtain descended behind Reznor and his bandmates, leaving them to perform a pair of instrumental tracks off his four disc opus Ghosts at the outermost promontory of the Target Center stage, brilliantly illuminated by countless pixels of blinding, sodium white.

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