Tuesday, June 09, 2009

NIN 2009 Part 4 - Backstage @ Camden

Now for the fourth and final installment for the Camden show (for Parts 1-3 see the posts below). This is the part where things really get crazy. After dinner, we were divided into two groups - one group that would get to watch the first half of NIN's set on stage and one group that would watch the second half. We really wanted to be in the first group so that we wouldn't have to miss much of the show, as the second group had to report backstage when they heard a certain song play so they were definitely going to miss a few songs. We made sure we were at the front of the line and got assigned to the first group so we were happy. We then went to our seats watch SSSC do their set. Our seats were good - fourth row behind the pit on Justin's side. Although we missed the first couple of songs but got to see most of it. They were awesome. Due to the cold temperatures and the rain you could actually see steam coming off of Tom Morello's head when he played. I tried to get some pics of this, but they really didn't come out too well.

After SSSC was finished we reported back to the room where we met the
band and had dinner to get escorted to the stage. We were instructed not to touch anything as we could mess up the power or sound. We were also told that we were to stay in areas marked by orange tape on the ground. Our group was divided into people that would be on the left and those that would be on the right of the stage (we were on the right, Justin's side). This is where we got really lucky. I was first in the line for the people going to the right side of the stage, and we ended up being the first group to get escorted out there. This is key, as you will see in a minute. So there was a crew member who led us from the room through the venue, which was crowded, then through a "authorized personnel only" door, then down a hall. At the end of the hall was another door, and when we went through it we are on the back of the stage. It was totally pitch black and my eyes were having a really hard time adjusting to the sudden change. I just kept walking forward. Hops snapped a photo at this point which gives you a pretty good idea of what it was like - basically walking into darkness. If you look really hard, you can see the silhouette of Bill (the production guy who did the push-ups in Post 1) to the left of my head.

So I kept walking until all of a sudden in front of me I saw Robin. Jus
tin was next to him and the were doing something to his guitar with a blue light. I just smiled really big and said "hi". They said "hi" back. Clearly we weren't supposed to back there yet until they were out on stage, but there we were. Then, out of the darkness comes Trent. He comes up to me and says "What you are witnessing is the beginning of a show". I could have died. I said something like "thanks", then Hops snapped a photo - with flash. Trent gave him a look like - why are you trying to blind me before I go on stage? Hops immediately apologized. Other people had at this point realized Trent was there and a couple of them tried to talk to him, but obviously he needed to get on the stage. So disappeared into the darkness. Then reappeared and said to me "Feel free to push up". So I followed he and the other guys out to the stage and stopped at the orange tape of the floor.

Here is the photo - a nice shot of Trent's elbow. You can see Justin behind Trent and Robin right in front. I was just off camera to the right.

So at this point, I really didn't have much of a view because a lot of the other people in our group were aggressively pushing up for the best spots and I'm really short. I was thinking this was going to stink if I couldn't see anything. Then there was a voice behind me - it was Keelie the nin.com rep - saying "no not here - go to your right, to you right!". I then realized we were supposed to actually walk behind the lights on the stage to get over to the right side where we were supposed to stand. I guess I was the first person to figure this out, so I just ran over to the other side and got the perfect position. It was awesome. I was still
reeling from having that mini-conversation with Trent, and they were out there playing. Insanity.

The rest of the experience was basically watching the first 8 songs of the set. We were directly behind Justin, and also had good views of the guitar techs and drum tech so it was cool to see what they are up to during a show. We could see the entire crowd. We also saw all of the technical mishaps - a big one at the beginning of Burn which Trent was none too happy about. It was pretty cool. During one song Justin actually came back to us to ask us if we were having a good time. Duh! Of course - it was awesome! Its funny because I think some of the people were either too distracted by wanting to get pictures or felt like they couldn't move enough to really get into it, but I was jumping all over the place. The sound back stage is also weird - you can hear drums but not much guitar or vocals. Now I understand why they all have those packs with earpieces to hear themselves with. Hops took a ton of photos and a partial video too:

Eventually Keelie came back to tell us it was time to take off so the next group could get their chance. Leaving the stage was really disorienting because again it was really dark, you couldn't hear anyone very well, and there was smoke everywhere. I was so afraid I would trip over a wire and unplug something important. Afterwards, we made our way back to our seats where some crazy hippie fans of Jane's Addiction had decided to park themselves. After kicking them out of our seats, we enjoyed the rest of the set from there. Afterwards, one of the fans we had chatted with while waiting in line came over to say goodbye. He told me that he could see me on stage and that I was going crazy during the Big Come Down - which is absolutely true since it is one of my favorites. I thought that was a great way to end the night. Really, a remarkable experience that Hops and I will never forget!

My next post will be a quick summary of the show we went to the next night in Holmdel. We have some great pics to share as we had 4th row for that show. Plus, if you've ever wondered how Dave Nevarro decides which lovely young ladies from the audience he wants to hang out with after the show you'll want to read my next post...

For more pics of the backstage experience follow this link:

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