Last night, (July 24th) in Tinley Park at First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, beloved alternative rockers Soundgarden and industrial rockers Nine Inch Nails brought their long awaited co-headlining tour to a legion of loyal fans.
Earlier this year, due to the surprise break-up of Death Grips, NIN and Soundgarden found themselves looking for a new opening act for their upcoming North American tour. Brooklyn based experiential sound collagist Daniel Lopatin, otherwise known as Oneohtrix Point Never was tapped personally by Trent Reznor for the first leg of the tour. NIN fans were exposed to OPN Last year when Trent featured the OPN subdued remix of "Find My Way" on the deluxe edition of NIN's "Hesitation Marks,". Ironically Trent did so without knowing at that time that OPN would be the opening act on the first leg of his upcoming North American tour. Lopatin's 30 minute set of ambient dronescapes over mind-bending abstract visuals has been dubbed "Cyberdrone". Loyal NIN and Soundgarden fans who arrived early were pleasantly surprised as Lopatin sculpted the growing energy of the amphitheatre as it was brought to life as both the pavilion and the lawn began to fill up with a high anticipation for an amazing night of rock music.
Soundgarden was next to take the stage. The band consisted of all the original members (Chris Cornell on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Kim Thayil on lead guitar, and Ben Shepherd on bass) except drummer Matt Cameron, who announced late last year on November 15, 2013 that he would not be touring with Soundgarden in 2014 due to prior commitments promoting Pearl Jam's album Lightning Bolt. Ironically, former Pearl Jam powerhouse drummer Matt Chamberlin was tapped to fill in during Camerons absence and he didnt miss a beat. It was abundantly clear throughout the set that Cornell who just celebrated his 50th birthday on July 20th has not lost his ability to captivate the crowd with his unique soaring vocals layed on top of native Chicagoan Kim Thayil's deep driving guitar riffs and Ben Shepherds deep bass lines and energetic emotional performance, as he wandered around the stage. At one point Kim brought out his guitar tech Josh Evans out on stage to also be recognized as a native Chicagoan by the hometown crowd. Cornell referred to Chicago as the bands second home. Behind the band a large video screen projected visual affects including clouds and pluming smoke to accent each song. The production for Soundgarden was far less that what would come from the Nine Inch Nails visuals. The highlight of the bands performance came about half way through the set during "Jesus Christ Pose" when the band as a whole really locked into the rhythmic pocket driving the groove.
Soundgardens 80 min set featured a mix of 14 deep cuts, old favorites, and newer songs that celebrated their 30+ year long history including "Beyond The Wheel" from the "Ultramega OK" album released in 1988, "Searching With My Good Eye Closed", "Rusty Cage", "Outshined", and "Jesus Christ Pose" from the "Badmotorfinger" album released in 1991, "Burden In My Hand" from the "Down on the Upside" album released in 1996. "Rowing" and "A Thousand Days Before" from the "King Animal" album released in 2012, "Spoonman", "Black Hole Sun", "The Day I Tried To Live", "My Wave", "Superunknown", and "Fell On Black Days" from Superunknown released in 1994 and reissued in June 2014.
After about a 30 min with the house lights still illuminated Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor came out onto a bare stage with only an analog synth and a microphone. As he began singing "Copy of A", additional instruments were carried out on stage one by one followed by each band member which included Robin Finck, Alessandro Cortini and Ilan Rubin. A collection of a half dozen or so large individual video screens were manually pushed out onto the stage by the crew. Throughout the show the video screens were moved by hand around the stage to create different visual elements for each song. Although Reznor stayed onstage for the entire set, the other band members moved in and out of the light. They also rotated in front and behind the video screens. Reznors microphone stand had a camera on it that controlled the visual effects on the video walls as he moved around the stage. The bands performance was energetic and spot on. Nothing short of what 3 decades worth of fans have come to expect from the band.
Nine Inch Nails song selection transported the audience through 3 decades of music with deep cuts and fan favorites off of almost every album they have been released including "Sanctified", "Terrible Lie", and "Head Like a Hole" from the 1989 release "Pretty Hate Machine", "Wish" from the 1992 release "The Broken EP" "March of the Pigs" , "Piggy", "Closer" "Eraser" and "Hurt" from the 1994 release "The Downward Spiral", "Only" and "The Hand That Feeds" from the 2005 release "With Teeth", "Me, I’m Not" and "The Great Destroyer" from the 2007 release "Year Zero", "1,000,000" from the 2008 release "The Slip" and "Copy of A" , "Came Back Haunted" and "Find My Way" from the 2013 release "Hesitation Marks" and "Gave Up"from the 2014 release "The Recoiled EP"
The selection of songs from both bands surely fulfilled the nostalgic need of the fans in attendance who waited 10 years to see Soundgarden and NIN on tour together, especially since according to Trent Reznor, it will be a "long time" before they get to see NIN live on tour again.
Soundgarden Setlist: (Album listed next to song title)
Searching With My Good Eye Closed (Badmotorfinger)
Rowing (King Animal)
Outshined (Badmotorfinger )
Black Hole Sun (Superunknown)
Jesus Christ Pose (Badmotorfinger )
The Day I Tried to Live (Superunknown)
My Wave (Superunknown)
Fell on Black Days (Superunknown)
A Thousand Days Before (King Animal)
Burden In My Hand (Down On The Upside)
Rusty Cage (Badmotorfinger)
Beyond the Wheel (Ultramega OK)
Nine Inch Nails Setlist:
Copy of A (Hesitation Marks)
Sanctified (Pretty Hate Machine)
Came Back Haunted (Hesitation Marks)
1,000,000 (The Slip)
March of the Pigs (The Downward Spiral)
Piggy (The Downward Spiral)
Terrible Lie (Pretty Hate Machine)
Closer (The Downward Spiral)
Gave Up (Recoiled EP)
Me, I’m Not (Year Zero)
Find My Way (Hesitation Marks)
The Great Destroyer (Year Zero)
Eraser (The Downward Spiral)
Wish (Broken EP)
Only (With Teeth)
The Hand That Feeds (With Teeth)
Head Like a Hole (Pretty Hate Machine)
Hurt (The Downward Spiral)