Sunday, June 14, 2009

NIN 2009 Part 5 - Holmdel

See the below posts for Parts 1-4 of this NIN series, which detail our amazing backstage experience at the show in Camden.

But now for the promised and I'm sure eagerly anticipated summation of our night in Holmdel NJ. But first, I must provide some road trip background.

After crashing at a hotel in Philly after the Camden show on Friday night, we wo
ke early to drive out to Holmdel, which was about a 2 hour drive. We were exhausted from the prior night, but ready to enjoy the show from the front as pure spectators. Plus Hops was excited about returning to a venue that he frequented for shows when he was in highschool. Our only tactical error here was that we failed to reserve a hotel room in the Holmdel area until just a few days before the show. We ended up at a Best Western about 20 minutes south of the venue. In retrospect it was probably not as bad as we thought it was - it was fairly clean, convenient and inexpensive. However, we were both a little disturbed to find that the shower/whirlpool was located in the bedroom rather than the bath. Needless to say, we wore flipflops when we showered.

So once we checked into the hotel, we embarked upon the search for a liquor
store to buy some beer. Two funny things about Jersey: 1) they won't let you pump your own gas & 2) you have to go to a liquor store to buy beer. So after driving around for about a half hour and with a little help from Hop's Google app on his BlackBerry we located a store and snagged some nice local microbrews for the lot from a brewery called River Horse - a stout for me and a wit for Hops. Then it was off to the venue. Upon arriving we had no problems parking and picking up our presale tickets. Unlike in Camden, the weather was gorgeous so we set up a couple of camper chairs in the shade under some trees by our car and ate some sandwiches we had picked up before leaving Philly that morning (from DeBruno bros. specialty foods market - which you should check out next time you are in Philly if you like good food). The venue is unique because its a very park-like setting and was a perfect spot to enjoy a few cold ones before the show. The crowd was an interesting mix - most were blasting NIN, with a few Jane's and, not shockingly given we were in NJ, some Bruce. Hops was happy. Around 6:30 we decided to go into the venue. The picture to the right best describes the luxury that is being a presale ticket holder - you get to go in a separate entrance without the big line. The picture is from inside the venue looking back at all of the non-presale people waiting to get in. Ha-ha (simpson's style).

So once inside we checked out the merch again. I got a T-shirt, patch and a sticker. Then we headed for the seats.
Holmdel is a nice venue for us because they have permanent seats where the pit would normally be. Since we are way too old and rickety to go into the pit, this is just about as close to the stage as we can get these days. With our presale tickets were were in the fourth row, on Justin's side. The other cool part about Holmdel is that the the actual structure is really sculptural. You can see this from the picture, it is looking back towards the lawn from our seats as the crowd is starting to roll in. Also pictured is Hops himself, doing some pose that apparently all his friends from his NJ days will get and find hilarious...

So SSSC was first up, and boy are they amazing. I mean really people, if you like Tom Morello's guitar (and how
could you not?) then you really, really must check these guys out. That means you Phoofy! We struggled to get a good picture of these guys because Boots is always running around and Morello never stops moving. This is the best we could muster. This is a picture of me after their set - that is how good they are!

Next up was NIN. All I can say was that it was an amazing set. Probably the best of the three we saw this tour, although all have their highlights. I liked this set because it was pretty hard, very little slowing down. I actually got a stitch in my side from jumping around and dancing so much (I know, I'm old and out of shape!). But seriously, by the end of the set I was soaked with sweat and completely exhausted. I was particularly happy because we were on Justin's side and after meeting him the day before and being behind him backstage it was really nice to get to admire his showmanship. As much as I enjoyed Jeordie when he was touring with NIN, I just don't think he holds a candle to Justin. Justin is animated and really into the show - he is also great at feeding off the crowd's energy and giving it right back. Its nice when you feel like the guys on the stage can see how much you are enjoying the show and can give that back to you. I mean, we are working hard out there! Unfortunately we don't have many great pics of Justin, but I must say that he was a big highlight for me at this show. We do, however, have some really great pics of Trent. This one is one of my favorites from during Reptile, but you can find some of the other best ones at the link to the Flickr pics at the end of the post.

Here is a video that Hops took during the song Echoplex.

The other highlight of this show was catching Trent'
s water bottle. For those of you who haven't been to a NIN show, throughout the show the guys will throw plastic water bottles out to people in the pit area. Usually these are open so that the crowd gets sprayed with the water as it flys through the air. Aside from catching Trent's tambourine, getting a water bottle is a pretty cool souvenir. So when I saw Trent was getting ready to throw one I was jumping up and down. I must have looked exhausted (I was!) and he sent it our way. It was still half full and I proceeded to drink every last drop! Here is a picture of me with the bottle after the show. Hops keeps saying he might accidentally throw it away, which I keep explaining would clearly be grounds for divorce (no worries - I have it safely hidden away).

Jane's was up next. Although I'm not a huge fan, I really enjoyed the show. Perry Farrell is a great front man - very
charismatic. And watching Dave Nevarro pick out which nasty chicks from the audience was pretty funny. Seriously, these girls would fight their way up to the front of the aisle to our left and start dancing and doing other things that I will not mention here because this blog is PG, all in efforts to get Dave's attention. He would point and nod at the ones he liked. Towards the end of the show when Perry went to introduce the rest of the band, Dave was almost too busy consulting with his guitar tech on which girls he liked to actually do his wave to the rest of the crowd when his name was called out. It was hilarious. After the show, all those girls stayed at the front of our section waiting for that guitar tech to come back out and let them know which ones were getting backstage. I felt bad for the guitar tech. The following is a picture of the look that Dave gives the lucky ladies in the running to be selected. Please do me a personal favor and double click on this one so you can really see it up close and personal. its priceless.

After the show we hit Taco Bell (why does tha
t always sound like such a good idea after midnight?) and crashed at the hotel after showering in flip flops. The next morning we headed east to the beach for a few hours of R&R and a quick lunch before hitting the road for the 4 hour drive back to DC. I wore my new shirt from the tour:

Next post -the last show of the tour. We almost get washed away in a ugly storm
preshow, then get to have the best seats in the house....

Link to other pictures from this show on

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