Okay guys, this is the one you've all been waiting to hear about: the Houston show. Let me just say it lived up to all I thought it would and could be.
The set list:
The show started off with the HLaH single/video clicking sound intro instead of the "pinion" intro. The place instantly erupted. At the end of the song, Trent repeated "Bow down before the one you serve..." after all the music had ended. SICNH seemed to have more feeling in it than I've EVER seen before, and this was my fifth show. I think the entire club was singing along to it, especially the "fading fucking reminder..." part. "March of the pigs" was the standard -- no new surprises. (I was hoping for "and all you Houston motherfuckers are all right," but no such luck.)
"Reptile was intense, with Trent repeatedly pounding on his guitar with his mic in unison with the beat. "Suck," "get down," and "piggy" had no new variations. (It was nice to hear "get down" again. Hadn't heard that one since the first leg of the Self Destruct Tour 1994.) "Closer" was good, but I had to sit that one out. Too many idiots in the pit. At the end of the song, Trent kicked his keyboard over, almost hitting the security. The "down in it" keyboard didn't even last to the first set of lyrics. Trent just demolished it. No reason, just went over, picked it off the stand and trashed it. Numbers is a REALLY small club, with a REALLY small stage. Every time Trent trashed some equipment the roadies had to walk through the band, bumping into the band members just to fix things. Oh, Trent did manage to sing all the DII lyrics too, a rarity (at least on my boots). "Wish" and "gave up" were rough songs to be in the pit for, and "happiness" didn't have as much equipment-trashing as normal.
For the encore, the Numbers owner had to say, "Come on, this is nine inch nails!" before the crowd clapped enough to make NIN want to come back out. I guess these days, crowds just expect an encore as part of the show. At this point, Trent offered this explanation: "Thanks a lot for having us out. We really appreciate it. It's just that...we've become this big hokey (he actually used that word) band lately, and...this bullshit tour with Bowie that sucked (huge clapping).... We just wanted to come back and play the clubs that really appreciate us before we just...disappear." Then he started playing "sanctified."
More notes: The part about "this bullshit tour with Bowie that sucked" was verbatim. Could be taken as a slam on Bowie, but I really think maybe he just hated the venues and the people he was playing for. I think he would've rather toured by himself again; hence, we have these (more than one?) new club shows. The "before we just disappear" part, I think, was just a reference to the "downward spiral" (if you will) of commercialism most bands end up in, not a reference to the band dissolving. After all, the new T-shirt said "NIN" on the front with "nothing 95-96" on back.
At the end of "dead souls," the band left with a simple "thank you," and that was it.
Notes about Helmet, the opening band:
Notes about the ticket system:
They were actually checking the number on the voucher plus the identification number to make sure they matched. For example, on my voucher they wrote "TDL # ****" and my full name. They checked this with the original, which they had in files, and my DL card. They checked all 800-850 of us, by twos (the maximum ticket purchase).
Security was tight. I received a full body-cavity search (fist fuck!) and a metal detector search. I had to put up the disposable camera I brought to sneak in.
If this is a new tour, I would highly suggest (duhhh) you do anything humanly possible to acquire tickets. I hope this satisfies everyone's curiosity.
Oh, and no new material. Someone posted, and a certain Top 40 station (KRBE 104.1) has said, that NIN was to "test" new material, but there wasn't any.