Back on September 30th I went to see Serenity in the wee hours of the morning and came home to the depressing news that the Autolux/Queens of the Stone Age/nine inch nails show that was to happen at the Oakland Arena that night had been canceled due to health concerns for then nin drummer Jerome Dillon. It made me very unhappy. I was really anticipating the show and had taken the day off from work for it and was planning on getting there early enough for the soundcheck/meet and greet for spiral fan club members and everything. They rescheduled the show for November 19. The new drummer Alex Carpateras didn’t sound so good on the bootlegs I heard that were recorded in October and November so I was to the point that I wasn’t even looking forward to the show anymore. The entire concept of getting there early didn’t seem so worth it to me anymore.
We arrived around 5:30. It took us around 10 minutes to find the spiral entrance thanks to the help of some people in the general admission south entrance line. My wife signed up for a contest with Live 105 for Fiona Apple/Coldplay tickets. She’s still probably mad at me for not signing up myself. We went to Parking Lot “E” and the guard let us and one other lost fan in only after I said the email said to go there.
Brandi had our nice shiny tickets. We got in the spiral line and my wife pulled them out. I thought they were pretty cool and can’t wait to get more in a couple of weeks at Santa Cruz.
They let us in around 6:15 and Sweeney was walking around looking important and such. We walked the length of the Arena and to the left to get our GA wristbands. The merch booth was right there but they weren’t open yet. We found a great spot right in front of the soundboard and spent the rest of the night minus one small portion right there. I went out around 20 minutes later and bought the 9-30-05 dated lithograph and a purple shell nin sticker from the 1995 tour. The merch dude had no concept of what a lithograph was so I finally said that the lithograph is the orange poster. All of the “my size” t-shirts were sold out. I went back and my wife visited the restroom a few times throughout the night, but otherwise nothing else kept us from moving until a 7 foot hulk of a man decided to get in front of us.
Autolux started around 7:30. They weren’t bad. Very Sonic Youth. I reminded my wife afterward that we had already seen Sonic Youth twice at the Bridge School Benefit. Queens of the Stone Age… sucked. There’s no other word for it. A very buddyhead moment happened when they did No One Knows. This couple that were drinking heavily and I suppose having the time of their lives started screaming along and playing air guitar. The dude was in a nine inch nails shirt which is another buddyhead rule. He kept falling back into me and it was a rather annoying moment.
The curtain came down which perplexed my wife. I explained there’s been a curtain for pretty much every nine inch nails tour. The band started around 9:45 or so. Pinion/Love is Not Enough behind the curtain. You Know What You Are started the set with the band in full view. Aaron North has become a star of the show. And I noticed Alex wasn’t that bad. Terrible Lie was awesome. I’ve heard that song like five billion times and this was a great version. The Line Begins to Blur had a really cool video effect on the wall behind the band while the lights slowly turned on as the line effect passed through them. March of the Pigs had Trent knock over ALL of the mic stands toward the end of the song. Something I Can Never Have was quiet with just Trent and Alessandro for the majority of the song. The Frail/The Wretched sounded a bit more polished than the previous tour. It was when The Frail started that the 7 foot behemoth showed up to block our view. It was tolerable at the time. Closer/Burn/Gave Up were the “usual”. They didn’t really differentiate from the earlier part of the tour except of course that the lights were completely different. During Closer, Trent kept going to the back of the stage and hiding behind some of the lights. During Gave Up, my wife finally became too annoyed with the behemoth so we moved in front of him. Stayed there for the three curtained songs. Eraser and Right Where It Belongs had a very politically motivated video playing, while Beside You in Time had some random effects, culminating in the curtain “shattering” to end the song. My wife wanted the tamborine to come back. She got her wish. A-With-a Teeth-a. Someone taught Alex how to play Wish, which was comforting to know. The band didn’t seem to have any emotion at all during Only. But it was cool to experience live. During Deep my wife headed back to her in front of the soundboard perch. The song is much better live than on the Tomb Raider soundtrack, but still not so great. During Reptile, my wife brought me back to the front of soundboard perch. Dead Souls was a small surprise but good to hear. My wife didn’t recognize Suck. Hurt/The Hand That Feeds/Head Like a Hole were normal everyday closing tracks. During HLAH Aaron and Alessandro danced on Alessandro’s keyboard stand. Aaron completely destroyed his guitar at the end and tossed the pieces into the crowd.
Outside of the heavy pot smoke, the fact that we had to endure an hour of Queens of the Stone Age sucking and the fact that the show was almost two months late, I accept Trent Reznor’s apology and I am glad we had a great nine inch nails show.