Review - Nine Inch Nails @ the Joint, Las Vegas (10/21/17)

Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails
Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails (Photo: Kevin Keating)
Nine Inch Nails returns to the Bay Area this weekend with a headlining slot at the Aftershock Festival in Sacramento tonight! But last night, we had the chance to catch their solo show at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino’s Joint in Las Vegas. If you’re a fan of NIN like we are, you’ll recognize the ensemble he’s brought back together for this touring incarnation of Nine Inch Nails; he’s joined by Ilan Rubin (drums), Allesandro Cortini (keyboards/bass), Robin Finck (guitar), and Atticus Ross (samplers/keyboards).
Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails (Photo: Kevin Keating)
Compared to prior tours, the presentation was fairly sparse. There weren’t massive video screens, or elaborate stage props -- I'm assuming it had to do with the fact that they've been on the summer festival circuit where bands only have a limited time between acts to set-up and can't afford elaborate stage pieces. And however sparse the stage was, the light show stood out as a key component of the performance. Some of the brightest lights I've seen were used to make the stage explode in light in conjunction with the music. During "Copy of A," trippy shadow effects 'copied' band members to the massive hanging curtain at the back of the stage in a surreal display of the advanced lighting system.
Robin Finck of Nine Inch Nails
Robin Finck of Nine Inch Nails (Photo: Kevin Keating)
But clearly, it was the music that stood out throughout the night. Any cobwebs that might have formed since NIN last hit the road were no where to be found. And the set included nearly something from every full album that NIN has released, plus a touching cover of David Bowie's "I Can't Give Everything Away." I'll date myself by saying this, but I've seen NIN play live through the years from nearly the beginning of their career, and it's been extremely rare for any individual member to be given time in the spotlight for a guitar or drum solo. In general, Trent Reznor is Nine Inch Nails, and the musicians he's assembled for tours have been close, but essentially hired guns to perform his music. Last night was the first break in that tradition that I can remember. During "The Great Destroyer," Trent & company left the stage to let Atticus Ross launch into a 'sampler solo' that may have lasted for 2-3 minutes. Atticus tweaked nobs and tapped pads to trigger a cacophony of sounds that left the audience in a stunned silence after the biggest 'electronic' moment of the evening. If it wasn't official before, Nine Inch Nails may now be Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails (Photo: Kevin Keating)
Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails (Photo: Kevin Keating)
After a few years off to start a family, it's almost as if Trent's coming back with a vengeance to make up for lost time. In recent months, Trent's released two new EPs and added another movie score with Atticus Ross to their growing list with the recent Ken Burns documentary series, The Vietnam War. Supposedly, there's a third EP due before the end of the year, but a release date hasn't been announced. Pile on top of all that, he's been on the road headlining the major music festivals around the country this year, and I can only imagine that he's planning a dedicated tour for some point next year -- at least we can hope!
Ilan Rubin of Nine Inch Nails (Photo: Kevin Keating)
Ilan Rubin of Nine Inch Nails (Photo: Kevin Keating)
There are only a few more festival dates lined-up this year, but let's hope they hit the road again in 2018, and if they do, be sure to check them out!

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Nine Inch Nails Setlist The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas, NV, USA, I Can't Seem to Wake Up 2017

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