By Cara Alwill
After rescheduling two out of the four Los Angeles dates on the “Wave Goodbye” tour, Nine Inch Nails pulled out all the stops for their California fans, wrapping up the band’s live farewell with a show at the Wiltern last night, which featured a guest appearance from Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro on three tunes.
What tricks were up mastermind Trent Reznor’s sleeve this week? While New York fans were treated to a performance of the entirety of The Downward Spiral and guest appearances by Bauhaus’ Peter Murphy, the Los Angeles shows has secrets of their own. Gary Numan joined the band at the Echoplex on September 6 and again at the Henry Fonda Theater on September 8. The Echoplex — a dingy, overheated basement club venue which shares its name with a song on the 2008 album NIN The Slip — was the perfect setting for Reznor’s rage-filled, claustrophobic songs. The encore, a chilling cover of Joy Division’s “Dead Souls,” had a few false starts, but Reznor and company quickly recovered to deliver a heavier, more rock-infused version of the track.
By the third night at the Fonda, the band was joined by some of Reznor’s best friends and favorite icons. Mike Garson (who has played with David Bowie), Eric Avery (of Jane’s Addiction), Danny Lohner (who has played with NIN and Methods of Mayhem), and Greg Puciato (of Dillinger Escape Plan) all joined Reznor on stage for more than a handful of songs.
The song lineup changed every night, but NIN classics like “Head Like A Hole,” “Piggy,” and “Hurt” were staples, as were covers of several songs by Gary Numan (who joined Reznor on stage for a few shows).
If this truly is the end of an era, it is safe to say that Nine Inch Nails did not just go out with a bang. Rather, they went out screaming, raging, thrashing and impressing their fans more than anyone could have imagined.