Nine Inch Nails at Primavera Sound... If I want to be honest, that's the name that convinced me to buy my pass. Ok, along with the name of Queens Of The Stone Age, I can't lie. But man, the idea of seeing Nine Inch Nails in concert for the second time in less than a year... The previous time had been at Rock en Seine in Paris last August. Amazing concert, one of the two highlights of last year's edition (along with, of course, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club... Have I ever mentioned them?!). This time at Primavera Sound, Nine Inch Nails' concert was definitely THE highlight for me. A completely different stage set-up, more minimalist; a different setlist (which rocked everything down) and a Trent Reznor in amazingly good shape. Not that he wasn't at Rock en Seine. But I guess it was the beginning of the tour so after some months touring, this concert at Primavera Sound was simply brilliant.
Not so long ago, I read on Drowned in Sound this wonderful summary: "So thank heavens for Trent Reznor. With all tour reports from Blighty being unanimously positive, his return to the festival arena with Nine Inch Nails doesn't disappoint here either. 'March Of The Pigs' sounding brutal as ever, 'Wish' also demonic, but its left to the closing couplet of 'Head Like A Hole' and 'Hurt' to illustrate why he's held in such legendary status." Right on... Not sure I can find better words to sum that concert up!
The set opened on "Me, I'm Not", quickly followed by "Sanctified". I think at this point, the crowd was already won. Anyway, my neighbours on my right and on my left sides were definitely going for some back-up singing. Not judging: so was I! Then on to the first song from "Hesitation Marks": "Copy Of A". Even though that record left me somewhat confused, I have to say the songs sound really great in concert. And all the rest of the gig was a subtle combination of minimalist electro and roaring guitars. The genius part is that you couldn't even tell how the transition was made... Trent Reznor would alternate between a guitar, keyboards and nothing but his mic without you even realizing what was going on. It just happened. Like that. Because yes, it's Nine Inch Nails, it's Trent Reznor. What else do you need, really? Also worth highlighting on the set list, the irresistible duo "March Of The Pigs" / "Piggy", "Came Back Haunted", the apparent respite of "Find My Way" and the electric explosion of "Closer". Lots of back-up singing there as well... And as if this wasn't enough, the concert moved towards its end with "Wish", "demonic" yes, but also powerful, intense, perversely irresistible. It was followed by "The Hand That Feeds" and its accompanying crowd of fists and hands in the air, and then the above mentioned closing couplet of "Head Like A Hole" and the heart-breaking "Hurt".
And this was it... And I was left feeling both devastated by the haunting lyrics of "Hurt" as always, and in a daze for having lived again the Nine Inch Nails experience, even more intensely this time. And that's when the festival came to an end for me. There was literally nothing left to see... It all ended when Trent Reznor and his brilliant musicians left the stage. Nothing could go beyond that. And all that could have been... And all that was...