Trent Reznor is ambitious. In the past year, he’s released a new album and toured with his other band How To Destroy Angels, and reactivated Nine Inch Nails for a new album and tour. So, after playing a string of festival dates, including Lollapalooza, Outside Lands and Made In America, you might think he’d stick with the same set from those shows for his Tension 2013 tour (which hit Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center on October 15), maybe adding just a couple of extra songs from the new album, Hesitation Marks.
But you’d be wrong. Reznor seems to be going through a creative rebirth lately, and doing the same show that he was doing just a few weeks ago on the festival circuit would just be too easy for the man. In fact, not only has he revamped the set and the production, but even his band. Preeminent ringer Pino Palladino has joined as the new bass player, and Trent has enlisted backing singers Sharlotte Gibson –part of the American Idol backing band– and Lisa Fischer, backing singer to the Rolling Stones who has duetted with Mick Jagger on “Gimme Shelter” on every Stones tour since 1989. The expanded lineup allowed Reznor to stretch out a bit, play less guitar, and focus on being the frontman (and also dancing a bit during the instrumental jams).
The band opened with the new album’s “Copy Of A,” as he did on the festival circuit, but with a totally different presentation. Gone was the Talking Heads Stop Making Sense tribute where Trent stepped out alone to start the song on a sampler, and the Kraftwerk tribute with the band all playing in a straight line. Nine Inch Nails just went right into it. Turns out that Trent doesn’t want a copy of himself.
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