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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

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

More Song Stories entries »
 
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