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Despite Inconsistencies, Nine Inch Nails Provide Big Impact

August 4, 2008 1:05 AM ET

It's hard to dislike Trent Reznor: the guy regularly gives away excellent music, goes out of his way to design a visually stunning stage show and even fought through voice problems tonight. While his set got off to a fast start with a hard-hitting combination of "1,000,000" and "Discipline" (both from The Slip) and delivered "Closer" early, Reznor soon settled into some of the complex instrumentals from the Ghosts I-IV album. While the combination of live instrumentation was impressive (when was the last time you saw a rock show with a marimba solo?), the crowd's interest waned, even with the dynamic lighting display matching the music note for note. It wasn't until Reznor hit the back half of his set — lead by insane shout-alongs on "Wish," "Terrible Lie" and "Only" — that the fans really got on board with his particular blend of stadium-sized pathos. During his encore, Reznor mentioned that Nine Inch Nails played the first Lollapalooza 17 years ago, which was a tribute not only to Reznor's tenacity but also the staying power of the fest.

More Lollapalooza Coverage: Rock 'N' Roll Diary

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

More Song Stories entries »
 
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