i used to be a fairly big NIN fan in the early-mid '90s, but i lost interest sometime before the fragile. so when i first heard that NIN and a reunited bauhaus were coming to the amphitheatre formerly known as deer creek on july 3, i didn't think much of it. however, virago turned out to be eager to see bauhaus, so she suffered through ordering tickets via ticketmaster and we got lawn seats to the show. and hell, i made the NIN dictionaraoke (one of the most popular dictionaraokes), so it's only natural i see NIN in concert at least once. later, we found out that peaches was also opening, which was an added bonus.
it had been many years since i'd been to "deer creek"—the last show i distinctly remember attending there was lollapalooza '94 1997—and i was pleasantly surprised by the experience... once we got through the door, that is.
first off, i was impressed by the fact that we were not charged to park. free parking at a major concert! but once we got out of the car, we were stopped in the parking lot and informed that we couldn't bring in a blanket, so we had to turn back and put my blanket in the trunk. fortunately we had brought sweaters just in case, so we grabbed those to sit on instead. we were stopped again by another employee who had spotted our sweaters and was concerned that we might have a forbidden blanket, but we didn't. when we finally reached the door, we were told that we couldn't bring in umbrellas either. (the forecast said rain was possible.) we were a bit annoyed that nobody had thought to tell us this before, but when we tried to check our umbrellas at the desk, we were told that umbrellas were indeed allowed. so we got that straightened out and we were in.
peaches went on promptly at 7 and put in 30 minutes of music. it sounded pretty good, but we couldn't see much from out spots on the lawn. then, a mere 15 minutes later, bauhaus began playing their hour-long set. i wasn't terribly familiar with their stuff (other than a few "hits") but they put on a strong performance, and unlike in cleveland, they did play "bela lugosi's dead". a sizable portion of the crowd didn't seem to know or care about bauhaus, which surprised virago, but not me, since bauhaus never really crossed the line from "influential" to "multi-platinum" as NIN had. like i told her at the time, "the people who know are here to see bauhaus as much as or more than nine inch nails".
bauhaus ended around 8:45, and we only had to wait about 35 minutes before NIN came on. again i was impressed by what seemed to be short wait times for a concert of this size; it seems like i usually had to wait a lot longer for similar-sized shows in my youth.
when NIN came on, virtually everybody stood up. we didn't, as virago didn't feel like it, so i didn't get to see much of the elaborate lightshow or what was playing on the big screen behind the band. what glimpses i caught of it seemed cool; i wished they would have piped the video to the big monitors surrounding the pavilion so those of us in the lawn could see it better, but no matter. we did get to see some fireworks off the horizon to our left. (turns out symphony on the prairie was going on a few miles away.)
being that i've never even heard the last two NIN full-lengths, i was excited by how much old material they played: at least 4 tracks from pretty hate machine, some stuff from the downward spiral, and surprisingly (to me,anyway), 3-4 tracks from broken (depending on how you classify "suck"). overall, i knew most of the songs, which made it a bigger treat than i'd expected.
we decided to cut out during the encore, while the band was chugging through "the hand that feeds", and quickly realized this wasn't such a hot idea, because the blazing strobe lights from the stage disoriented us as we tried to make our way down the hill to flat ground. but we managed to make it without falling down, and we got to listen to "head like a hole" (which i had predicted to be the last song of the night) as we made our way back to the car. it was only 11pm, and we managed to beat the traffic. all in all, it was a lot of fun, and a few annoyances aside we had a great night.
the photo i've posted is taken from nin.com, courtesy frcphotos.com. fans can buy large prints of this photo and others from the show at frcphotos, as indy star music reviewer david lindquist explained in a recent entry on his blog. if you're interested, you can read lindquist's review of the show (he had a much better view of the stage than we did). ¶