Tuesday, June 16, 2009

NIN 2009 Part 6 - Merriweather

Well all of you Hopsfans...this is Mrs Hops' sixth and final post. So unless Trent Reznor changes his mind and decides this tour isn't his last, I don't expect to be posting again here any time soon. I hope you all have been entertained!

If you haven't already, please check out parts 1-5 below for our backstage experience at Camden and our terrific show at Holmdel - Hops' home town amphitheater.

After the Holmdel show we hit the beach. As most of you know, we Hops folks are pale and fragile, so needless to say every inch of my body that wasn't covered in SPF 1000 was burned afterwards. Very, badly burned (like Will Ferrell in Austin Powers style).

Monday night we took a night off from NIN to go see TV on the
Radio at the 9:30 Club. This is by far our favorite venue in DC and an awesome spot to catch show. While we waited in line to get into the venue, we saw Clarence Greenwood, aka Citizen Cope getting into his car. He is a local celebrity and musician we love. So the night was off to a good start. We watched the show with a couple we are close friends with, which is always fun. Afterwards, we hit the iconic DC restaurant Ben's Chili Bowl for a snack. And you thought Taco Bell was a bad idea before bed!

On Tuesday evening we headed up to Maryland for the final NIN show for us this
tour, and since this is NIN's last tour, my final show ever! Again we had presale tickets. As we left for the show the sun was shining and all was well. However, as we approached the venue the skies suddenly darkened. As we parked in the lot we could hear NIN doing their soundcheck in the venue - they were playing Metal. As the skies quickly grew darker Hops joked that Trent Reznor had angered the weather gods. So we decided to wait out the weather in the car. It was a wise choice, as about a half an hour of major rain, lightening, hail and storms followed. In the pictures you can see the clouds rolling in, the rain through the skylight in the car (that lamppost had a "The Fray" flag attached to it, which we thought was hilarious), and Hops not looking to happy about the situation.

So once the rains rolled past, we decided to head to pick up our tickets and quickly got into the venue, skipping the normal line again and going through the presale line. Merriweather is a nice venue in a park-like setting. The whole design of the amphitheater is meant to assimilate with the surrounding natural scenery. The venue was actually designed back in the 60s by Frank Gehry who is better known now for his sculptural titanium facades (Rock and Roll Museum in Seattle, Bilbao Guggenheim to name a couple). Anyway, if you ever go there to see a show it is worth a walk around. There are several interesting sculptures throughout the grounds and most of the food and beer is way above typical amphitheater fare. In fact, I was able to find one vendor selling Stout! I attribute this to the fact that the venue is managed by a local company rather than Live Nation. In fact the management company is the same as the one that runs the 9:30 Club, where we saw TVOTR the night before. We learned this during the backstsage tour we had back in Camden, as they said it would be a different crew doing the Merriweather show since it isn't a Live Nation venue. We even saw our favorite pierced and inked 9:30 club stage guard working at the front of the pit, who we affectionately nicknamed "Mr. Brownstone" (a nickname he earned when we saw Velvet Revolver at the 9:30 Club a few years back). As we went to our seats I was very excited because we were in the first row, dead center, behind the pit. When standing, our feet were about at the same level of the shoulders of the people standing in the pit, which was about 20 feet deep. It was almost as if we were at the same level of the stage standing 20 feet away with no one in between us and the microphone. To pass the time before SSSC took the stage, Hops texted a message to some number that posts your texts on the big screens at the venue. It had something for Trent and something for me. Does this mean we get to have another wedding???

So SSSC took the stage and rocked it out as expected. This time we got a great video clip of their song Somewhere in the World Its Midnight. I would actually consider this to be one of their tamer songs. Unfortunately the audio is
horrible, but you get the idea. Be sure to watch the end where Boots talks to the crowd. He is awesome. Have I mentioned before that you really must check them out?

After yet another great SSSC opener, we were ready for
the main event. Which in my mind was NIN. Don't get me wrong, Jane's was great and I'm glad we watched their whole show in Holmdel, but we had already concluded that we would watch NIN tonight and leave afterwards. There were a couple of reasons for this: 1) I really wanted the last thing I saw at my last NIN show to be NIN, and 2) we both had work the next day. So needless to say from where we were sitting it really felt like a small, small club show. I often felt Trent was singing directly at me just because we were the first people in the row directly across from him above the pit (don't worry - I'm not delusional and don't actually think he was singing to me). It was just very cool to have such a unique perspective directly in front of and on the same level as the band. Plus Hops and I were dancing and jumping around like crazy people and not everyone in the front row was as animated as us. So I know they must have at least noticed us! Trent was very intense during the show - there was no talking and no band intro. It was a great mix of hard and slow songs and both some of mine and Hops' favorites were included. The highlight for me was seeing The Becoming live. Trent hadn't been playing this since the 90s before this tour and it was my first and only time getting to hear it live.

Here is a partial video of The Becoming. Yes, that is me screaming at the first note (Hops says that I am to NIN what his buddy Boaz is to Phish). And Hops was kind enough to pan over to me towards the end so you can see what I call "dancing" to NIN's music looks like. Unfortunately the camera was zoomed out at this point and it looks a lot further away than it actually was - the SSSC video and pictures are a little more accurate in that regard.

After the show, we were exhausted from the 5 day concert trek. But how can you pass up late night chili? We finished the night off with some jalapeno poppers and chili mac at Hard Times down the street from our house in Old Town before calling it a night.

Overall it was a great experience. Hops was a great sport to go to all the shows with me and I'm fortunate to get to see my favorite band several times on their last big tour - not to mention having gotten to meet them and go backstage. Thanks to all of you for reading these posts and sharing the experience with us!

Mrs - Hops - out.

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