Nine Inch Nails
Aragon Ballroom
Chicago, IL
w/ suprise guest Peter Murphy

I think we’ve figured out that this was our fourth NIN show of the past 12 months, with each show being in a different U.S. city. Not a bad effort on our part, I think, for the aptly named “Wave Goodbye Tour” for NIN. (Though, to confess, the other 3 dates were just NIN related dates – NIN|JA tour, etc. Only this one date in Chicago was technically on the “Wave Goodbye” tour.) With Trent apparently changing gears from NIN, at least for a while, we decided to catch him while we could and headed to Chicago for a long weekend to catch the show.

We weren’t disappointed.

The lighting for NIN shows has been astounding this past year – and on “Wave Goodbye” they change gears from the LED curtains to “intense” (their words!) strobe effects which are as visually intense as NIN’s songs. At this show we were standing near the soundboard (the nickname for the venue is the “Aragon Brawlroom” – and we’re headed on vacation in a week… with no broken bones…) – and it was almost as entertaining to watch the NIN lighting guy thrashing while working his board as it was to watch the show up on stage. (No kidding – he was practically moshing with the board. Shirtless & all. Impressive!)

The set list was terrific, with lots of “classic” early NIN songs. And – a TOTAL treat (for me anyway!) a special appearance – “the 5th member of NIN” per Trent – Peter Murphy. WOW – as a huge Bauhaus, Peter Murphy and even Love & Rockets fan from back in the day – I was thrilled! (We’d heard he’d been at the dates in NYC – but didn’t know he was doing the Chicago dates too – lucky us!) Murphy sang along on NIN’s “Reptile,” then Murphy and NIN did a version of “Strange Kind of Love” that morphed toward the end into “Bella Lugosi’s Dead,” then they did a cover of “Final Solution” by Pere Ubu. The sound guy didn’t quite get the mics coordinated on Reptile – but seemed to have it figured out by “Strange Kind of Love” (thank goodness!) … I was in dark/goth heaven. (Brian was faintly amused.)