Soundgarden & NIN, July 27th 2014 @ The Molson Amphitheater, Toronto Ontario
on July 30, 2014 11:39 AM in
If you would have asked people close to me previous to this event, there would definitely have been at least a few in the crowd that would have expressed a great deal of surprise at the fact that:
A) The reviews up to this point have been coherent
B) The reviews are here AT ALL
Ya see…I enjoy the drink. It tastes good.
I like it.
The feeling is not always exactly mutual.
Alcohol and the MemoryDepartment™ in my brain are bitter, bitter enemies. This rivalry as grown so rancid over the years that there are times when entire concerts have been lost to the void. That is a terrible feeling to wake to the morning after a concert, especially one you have been aching to see for some time.
That wasn’t the case Sunday night in Toronto though, thankfully.
Since I started this blog I have developed a few solid methods for memory retention that seem so be working quite wonderfully actually. So far anyway.
I do tend to get caught up in a good time though which can, on occasion, lead to issues where time constraints are involved.
It was bound to happen eventually. Of course worse things could happen, but it still sucked.
Some friends and I ended up at Kensington Market earlier in the day and it just so happened to be Pedestrian Sunday. The last Sunday of the month, they shut down the entire market to vehicles and a multi-block party ensues. Incredible food was being doled out on every street, music being played from rooftops, people partying from rooftops, people EVERYWHERE! The atmosphere throughout the place was electric and happy and just a very fun thing to be a part of.
Now don’t get me wrong people aren’t drinking alcohol in the streets (openly), it’s not that kind of party, but there are a number of places to stop at along the way where a whistle may be whetted should that particular urge arise. And it did.
And the next thing I know we are sitting in a friend’s garage drinking beers, listening to tunes, having a great time, without a care in the world. Then Alex says, “Don’t you have a concert to go to?”
Pull tickets out of wallet, check start time printed on said tickets: 7 PM
Time check on phone: 8:05 PM
A cab is commissioned as quickly as the space-tiime continuum will allow for and we show up to the Molson Amphitheater as Soundgarden is halfway through a searing rendition of Superunknown, their 9th song of the night in a set of what would be 14.
Before going into the next song “Blow Up The Outside World”, Chris Cornell informed the crowd about how it was actually written in the back of a tour bus right here in Toronto many years ago. Cornell sounded amazing all night long, whether he was singing back and forth with the crowd at the end of “1000 Days Before”, or truly showcasing his voice on their final track of he night “Beyond The Wheel” as he swung the mic stand around above his head like a sword. While it was a similar set to the one played a week prior at Pemberton Music Festival there were a few songs throughout they changed up which is always a nice touch.
Full setlist here: http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/soundgarden/2014/molson-amphitheatre-toronto-on-canada-13c161ed.html
Yeah it sucks to miss the 1st half of a set for sure, especially of such a great act, but if we must find a glass-half-full viewpoint on this one it’s that this was my 3rd Soundgarden show in 4 weeks. Not a bad run. I think, given all the circumstances surrounding the event, Soundgarden would forgive me.
Trent Reznor took to a completely empty stage with nothing more than his performance controller on a stand at the front where we would station himself to kick off the show with “Copy Of A”. As the song built momentum other members of Reznor’s crew would materialize from the sides of the stage and begin setting up and playing their own equipment. Momentum kept building to the bridge where lights at the front of the stage blazed to life projecting giant shadows of the men rocking out onto the floor to ceiling backdrop at the rear of the amphitheater stage. As the opening song drew to a close the movable screens that make up some of the stunning visuals of the performance were moved into place and everything was ready to really go.
As they went into “Sanctified” followed by “Came Back Haunted” I thought this was probably going to be the same setlist that I witnessed at Pemberton. Turns out it was actually one song shorter than that one with them only playing “Hurt” during the encore while dropping “The Day The World Went Away” from the set.
Full setlist here: http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/nine-inch-nails/2014/molson-amphitheatre-toronto-on-canada-bc161ee.html
While it is nice when bands change up their set from venue to venue to keep that element of surprise, it is more than understandable why NIN would stick to a script for this. With all the moving screens, lights, and visuals that have to be coordinated to flow seamlessly together it is too much of a gamble to try and change things up by the night, at least too much. Besides being a great selist anyway, the energy the band exudes into the crowd coupled with all the visual stimulation that goes along with it makes for an intense and crowd-pleasing experience. This was my second NIN show from this tour in 9 days and I loved this one as much as the 1st.
As has been the case over the course of the last few years Trent continues to look as though he takes his health far more seriously now than in his youth (obviously). Sporting a black wife-beater that was soaked with sweat by the halfway point of the show, Reznor appeared to be in great shape.
During “March Of The Pigs” lights from the rear of the stage strobed like lasers cutting through the dense fog surrounding the band onstage. Moving into “Piggy”, a far more relaxed and chill song than its predecessor, the big flashy lights were exchanged for a solitary stage hand that would follow Trent around the stage holding a single spotlight at his face as he sang.
To start their classic “Closer” the band was staged behind the wall of screens. With a distinct red theme about the stage at this point, a closeup of Trent’s face appeared digitized on the wall of screens as he started singing in a way that reminded me of how he looked on the metal pushpin toy in their “Only” music video. The song ended with a giant red line stretched horizontally across the screens that seemed symbolic of a flatline on heart monitor as the familiar synth keys took us out of the song.
After “The Great Destroyer” where the band typically plays in front of the lit up wall of screens, the drummer started the next song from behind the wall. Although transparent where he was located it was made to look as though he was playing amongst clouds and waves churning and crashing around him. A very cool effect as that grew in to “Eraser”.
Ending with “Hurt” made for the second time that evening a song was played that was covered by the late, great Johnny Cash. The other being Soundgarden’s “Rusty Cage”.
The thunderstorm & monsoon rains that moved in for the end of the show only added to the backdrop at the Molson Amphitheater as the show drew to a close. Walking out of the venue it didn’t seem to phase even the concertgoers that neglected to being an umbrella (me included) as everyone was so charged from the show nobody seemed to care about getting a little wet (a lot wet). This was made even more apparent by the guy dancing fully clothed underneath a torrent of water spewing down from a drain pipe high above in an overpass at the train station. Seriously, it was like a mini Niagara! Unfortunately I was too daft/drunk/whatever to get my camera out in time to document the event.
No matter, I got the pics that count. I will have an album of the show posted shortly under the “Digital Evidence!” header at the top of the page.
Til next time friends….