Aubrey Kazdan's Logo
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Centre stage photo of Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Alessandro Cortini
Date of the show: 09/24/2022
Live Music

Nine Inch Nails @ Blossom Music Centre - Cleveland, OH

A reunion for the ages: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Alessandro Cortini, Robin Finck, Ilan Rubin, Charlie Clouser, Chris Vrenna, Richard Patrick and Danny Lohner; all on the same stage together for the first time.

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you my fascination with Nine Inch Nails borders on obsession. I credit my entire fascination with music to my exposure to their 2008 record "The Slip". A friend from school had asked me to rip a CD of their digitally released album and bring it to him. Luckily, my gut told me to play that CD in my dad's car on the way to class and something just hooked me.

Fast forward 15 years later, I've gained a lifelong obsessed.

My fascination with the band spans a wide array of records from Trent Reznor and fellow collaborators such as Ilan Rubin with The New Regime, Saul Williams, Joshua Homme from Queens of the Stone Age and Atticus Ross' film score work, but I admittedly had very little knowledge of the band's early days. Something about the way this particular show was marketed told me that this would be a very special occasion, but I had zero knowledge of just how much context I was missing.

After driving six hours to Cleveland the day before, I woke up around 9am the day of the show to be one of the first in line for what I can only describe as one of the messiest venues I've ever been to: Blossom Music Centre. With only a single tight road leading inside and a strict "NO LINE-UPS BEFORE 5PM" rule. I, along with most of the fans on the band's official Discord channel, were confused as to when we should all show up to the venue to get a good spot in the floor area.

A fellow fan of the band that I had sold a ticket to offered to drive me there around noon just to get a sense of how things were gonna be. We ended up in a parking lot about a five minute drive from the entrance to Blossom. There were about twenty other intentionally-dressed Nine Inch Nails fans there waiting with us.

For the next four to five hours, we all just hung out. All the new faces would normally scare the crap out of me, but I knew we were all there for the same reason and that gave me comfort. I got out of my shell and talked to as many as I could. One of them said that he slept in that parking lot overnight and that this would have been his 80th or so show seeing the band. Myself and a few others all found out we had tattoos dedicated to the band so we all took a picture for the hell of it.

Nine Inch Nails tattoos
Nine Inch Nails tattoos

The Show Itself

Fast forward a few hours later, I manage to snag myself a spot front-and-centre. The excitement I feel is beyond anything I have ver felt before. Everyone in the crowd is speculating what kinds of surprises we are in for.

Cue to the first opener: Nitzer Ebb. Like I mentioned earlier, I knew very little of the influences that helped Nine Inch Nails formulate in the first place so this was an eye-opening experience for me to say the least. Nitzer Ebb, a two-man act fronted by Douglas McCarthy on vocals and Bon Harris on synthesizers. The synthesizers and vocals both sounded larger-than-life, bringing together a sound that was unlike anything I had ever heard. It was hard not to dance.

Ministry was the next act. I could not describe in words just how loud they were. Despite my ear plugs, the crunching bass and screeching guitars blasted through my ear drums. Al Jourgensen on vocals stared daggers into the crowd whilst (somehow) soaring above the instruments. I cannot recommend enough that any heavy metal fans out there see this band given the chance.

Finally, Nine Inch Nails took the stage. Their set started with the electrifying opener, "Somewhat Damaged". The crowd was on fire as we all screamed in unison: "WHERE THE FUCK WERE YOU?" Their set continued the frenetic drumbeats of "March of the Pigs," followed by the singalong highlight "Piggy".

They blazed through some of their greatest hits before fog overtook the stage and Trent Reznor took to his keyboard to play the iconic melodies of "The Frail". This song normally is proceeded by "The Wretched", however, instead we all started hearing the familiar sounds of an eraser; a prelude to a track not heard in years.

The fog on the stage was so dense that you could almost not see a single instrument. It was so overwhelming that the backstage crew managed to sneak in a second drumset belonging to none other than Chris Vrenna, an previous member of Nine Inch Nails from the late 1990s. Vrenna introduced himself by playing the opening drumbeat to the song "Eraser."

The song's hypnotic rhythms were almost overshadowed by the incoming introductions of several other band members: including Danny Lohner, Richard Patrick, and Charlie Clouser. The crowd's reaction was simply indescribable. We were seeing people who were all formative members of Nine Inch Nails onstage together for the first time in decades, alongside the current members of the band.

All nine members of the band blazed through a 6-song set of classics such as "Sin", "Wish", and "Gave Up", while also including a first-ever cover rendition of "Her Man, Nice Shot" a cover of a song by Filter fronted by Richard Patrick. As the band finished with "Head Like A Hole", I couldn't help but simply stand there sweat-drenched and in awe of what I just witnessed. I was definitely not the only person feeling this way, as I had just witnessed history.

I left with a smile that just wouldn't leave my face for the next month.

The Setlist

  • Somewhat Damaged
  • March of the Pigs
  • Piggy
  • Heresy
  • Less Than
  • The Lovers
  • Reptile
  • Sancified (alternate version)
  • Copy of A
  • Shit Mirror
  • God Bread Down the Door
  • The Perfect Drug
  • Closer
  • The Big Come Down
  • Burn
  • The Hand That Feeds
  • The Frail
  • Eraser (+Clouser, Lohner, Patrick, Vrenna)
  • Wish (+Clouser, Lohner, Patrick, Vrenna)
  • Sin (+Clouser, Lohner, Patrick, Vrenna)
  • Gave Up (+Clouser, Lohner, Patrick, Vrenna)
  • Hey Man Nice Shot (Filter Cover) (+Clouser, Lohner, Patrick, Vrenna)
  • Head Like a Hole (+Clouser, Lohner, Patrick, Vrenna)


  • Image of the band Nine Inch Nails
  • Image of the band Nine Inch Nails
  • Image of the band Nine Inch Nails
  • Image of the band Nine Inch Nails
  • Image of the band Nine Inch Nails
  • Image of the band Nine Inch Nails
  • Image of the band Nine Inch Nails
  • Image of the band Nine Inch Nails
  • Image of the band Nine Inch Nails

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