10 Legendary Nine Inch Nails Concerts To Experience In Cleveland

Trent Reznor, founder of Nine Inch Nails, performs the tune during a performance on Saturday, October 5, 2013 at the CSU Wolstein Center. (General Dealers/Cleveland.com) General Dealers
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Nine Inch Nails, a band that hasn’t played in Northeast Ohio for almost 10 years. But it’s not for lack of trying.
Frontman Trent Reznor plans to celebrate the band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at their annual induction ceremony in Cleveland in 2020. But the pandemic got in the way.
Nine Inch Nails then announced two consecutive shows at the Jacobs Pavilion in 2021, but COVID-19 also disrupted that.
The band, founded by Reznor in Cleveland in 1988, will now hit the Blossom Music Center stage on Saturday, September 24th. The concert will be preceded by Friday’s “Nine Inch Nails Fan Day” celebration at the Rock Hall of Fame, which will include a live Q&A session with the band, which will be simulcast on Rock Hall’s social media.
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In honor of the return of Nine Inch Nails, we look back at some of the band’s most memorable performances in Cleveland over the past 30 years.
The first gig of Nine Inch Nails’ career took place on October 21, 1988 at the Dream nightclub in Lakewood. Formed by Reznor while working as an assistant engineer and janitor at Right Track’s Cleveland Studios, the band opened with Canadian industrial rock pioneer Skinny Puppy.
The NIN playlist consists of just six songs: “Sanctified”, “Maybe Just Once”, “The Only Time”, “It’s What I Get”, “Twist” (later “Ringfinger”) and “Down in It”. At the time, Nine Inch Nails consisted of just three members: Reznor on vocals and guitar, Chris Vrenna on keyboards and programming, and Ron Musarra on drums. Recordings from the 1988 tour showed Reznor sounding youthful, but demonstrating full dedication to the show, foreshadowing the epic live performance that Nine Inch Nails would become known for.
In October 1989, Nine Inch Nails released their debut album Pretty Hate Machine on TVT Records, an independent New York label. The band returned to Dream Night Club in December of that year with 11 songs titled “Head Like a Hole”. The list of concerts in the Plain Dealer is as follows:
“Today marks the debut of highly anticipated techno-pop band Nine Inch Nails entering the Dream Night Club at 11802 Detroit Ave. The show will be Nemesis from Detroit. Doors open at 8:30 pm, music starts at 10:30 pm. Show is open for viewers 18 years and older, admission is only $7.
NIN sold out several shows in Cleveland in 1990 and early 1991. This was followed by the first Lollapalooza, a touring festival co-founded by Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell. The tour ended on August 5, 1991 at the Blossom Music Center. Nine Inch Nails continued to work after dark. In the review, legendary Plain Dealer music critic Jane Scott recalled the energy received from “Dreadful Lies”, culminating in the finale of “A Hole in the Head”. Jane’s Addiction members Eric Avery and Dave Navarro joined Nine Inch Nails on stage, diving into the crowd along with Reznor and NIN guitarist Richard Patrick.
Nine Inch Nails have taken a three-year hiatus from touring. At the time, Reznor was feuding with TVT Records over finances and how the group was promoting. Nine Inch Nails eventually made a deal with Interscope Records, moved to Los Angeles (the home where members of the Manson cult murdered actress Sharon Tate and others) and released the “Broken” EP in September 1992. But it was the band’s second studio album, The Downward Spiral, that made Nine Inch Nails one of the greatest bands in the world. “The Downward Spiral” debuted on the Billboard 200 in March 1994. On May 9, 1994, a month after Kurt Cobain’s suicide at Nirvana, the band played Cleveland’s Agora on the Self-Destruct Tour.
Plain Dealer music critic Michael Norman wrote, “On Monday in the Agora mosh pit, watching a sea full of jubilant young corpses, it was hard at first to shake the recumbent Cobain. Image in a pool of blood on the floor of his home in Seattle. “.”
Just weeks after their legendary Woodstock ’94 mud show, Nine Inch Nails brought the Further Down the Spiral Tour to Cleveland with a series of performances August 29-30 at the Nautica Stage in Flats. Tickets for both shows were sold out. But the concert was remembered for its performance at the opening under the baton of Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love. It was Hole’s first American performance since Cobain’s death and Hole bassist Kristen Pfaff’s heroin use. Love can collapse on stage.
“She showed up on stage on Monday, very drunk,” wrote Michael Norman in his review for The Plain Dealer. “She seduces the crowd and acts incoherently. She exposes her breasts twice, both times in response to idiots urging her to take them off… Worst of all, the inhuman, weak-willed underclass who keep screaming, ‘Kill Kurt! You killed Kurt!
Nine Inch Nails are returning to Cleveland on their “A Further Downward Spiral Tour”, this time under more pleasant circumstances. A concert in December 1994 at the Odeon was a charity surprise show in front of 600 lucky people. The $5 tickets sold out in 20 minutes, with proceeds going to local charities.
“Before the show, we were all huddled backstage and I noticed a rather unattractive girl staring at me. Then I realized it was Trent (Reznor) trudging along,” Jim Lanza, Nine Inch Nails merchandise manager, told a casual dealer. “[Trent] really managed to get through the crowd unnoticed. The club show was more chaotic and rough than any big show I’ve seen on tour.”
Nine Inch Nails opened “Journey of Discord” at the Blossom Music Center in 1995. But for a good reason. Reznor is touring with his idol David Bowie. At the Blossom show, Nine Inch Nails performed in front of 23,000 people, turning their opening set into a Bowie performance, playing several songs, including “Hurt”, before the rock legend joined in on his “Outside Tour” track. Jane Scott’s excellent review on Plain Dealer is titled “Unusual Combination, Exceptionally Good.”
Nine Inch Nails did not tour North America during the latter half of the 1990s. When the group returns to the United States in 2000, the second part of the “Vulnerable Tour” will begin at the CSU Rally Center. To say that Reznor was skeptical of the music industry at the time would be an understatement.
“I don’t think the record companies are creatively committed to a band that can release 10 records later…” Reznor told Plain Dealer music critic John Soder. “Unless you’re a backstreet guy, or you’re not a hip-hop player, or you’re not a Limp Bizkits replacement in a 14-year-old crowd, it’s hard to exist right now.”
History shows that Reznor is not necessarily wrong. But he had a low opinion of Cleveland, too. Starting a tour of the city where he formed Nine Inch Nails was no big deal for Reznor.
“I love Cleveland. It’s a cool city,” Reznor said. “But when I lived there, I had a problem because the incest music scene wasn’t very supportive of me. When we left there, I came back from a long drive and thought, ‘Dude, it’s good to be home. “But everyone hated me. That’s when I said, ‘I got out of here.’”
Not surprisingly, Reznor was in high spirits in the latter half of the 2000s when Nine Inch Nails fulfilled their contractual obligations with Interscope and became independent artists. On March 2, 2008, Reznor released the 36-track instrumental album “Ghosts I-IV” on the Nine Inch Nails website, serving as a producer and side project. A few weeks later, Reznor issued a statement: “The band has reformed … we’re going to go on an extensive tour.” back in the city where Nine Inch Nails started and said that most of his family was in the gym on the 27-long track.
Nine Inch Nails last played in Cleveland nine years ago on the Tension 2013 Tour. The tour created an elaborate stage in collaboration with artistic director Rob Sheridan, including nine geometric light installations suspended from the stage. Nine Inch Nails played two hours in Cleveland, Reznor once again acknowledged his band’s Cleveland roots, acknowledging that he was “delighted to be back” and that the city played an integral role in shaping his personality and artist.
On Saturday, October 5, 2013, Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center nearly sold out, and Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor returned to the city where it all began. Chuck Yarborough, Easy Deal
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Post time: Oct-18-2022
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