Nine Inch Nails/A Perfect Circle, Cleveland State University, 4/12/00-

In their first North American performance in five years, Nine Inch Nails – Trent Reznor, Charlie Clouser, Danny Lohner, Robin Finck and Jerome Dillon – dazed a frenzied audience of mostly hardcore fans with an attack of stunning, hypnotic visuals and pure rage. Pink Floyd’s set designer Mark Brickman, incorporated three towering LED screens on stage that displayed flowing water, serene rocky shore scenes and a swirling tide, to augment the band’s energetic music.
Trent Reznor built up suspense by playing “Somewhat Damaged” behind a gray curtain, followed by “Terrible Lie.” Since NIN’s lastest release, The Fragile, contained more intricately woven instrumental and electronic layers than previous albums, the new songs took on a vigorous new sound. Instrumentals like “The Frail” and “La Mer” saw Reznor center-stage, pounding his keyboard. As the hyper, 90-minute show wound down, Reznor surprised everyone by slipping in the gripping instrumental “Just Like You Imagined.” Though the concert seemed a bit short, it ended appropriately with the solemn cry, “Hurt.”
Opening act was A Perfect Circle, created by Tool lead singer Maynard James Keenan and guitarist Billy Howerdel. Keenan, who was outfitted in a shirtless gray business suit and a long brown wig covering his shaved head, generated psychedelic wailings and trance-inducing vocals that left the appreciative crowd motionless. (John Pratt)