Concert Review: Nine Inch Nails Kicks Off New Tour In St. Paul

The combined bands will play Armed Forces The Pride of America, Aces High, Masters of the March, and The Ultimate Patriotic Sing-Along. The theater, on the east side of Oregon Road, is handicapped-accessible and has free parking nearby. Mr. Dais said he believes eight or nine of the band’s 45 members are veterans. The youngest band member is 18. The veterans, he said, try to educate the others about military service. The band also does one benefit concert each year. Admission is not charged but we pass around the plate, Mr. Dais said. A concert in March to benefit the Cherry Street Mission Ministries raised $2,000, he said. A concert is scheduled for Dec. 8 to benefit St. Pauls Community Center. For more information, call the Fine and Performing Arts Department at the college at 567-661-7081.

Walt Disney Concert Hall Turns 10

But the opening night of NINs Tension 2013 Tour Saturday at Xcel Energy Center was an invigorating, if not necessarily satisfying mix of artful noise, bleak balladry, disco funk, cutting-edge lighting and middle-age angst. At 48, the intense but more centered Reznor doesnt put the same slit-your-wrists arrrghhhh into his performance like he did when he was in his 20s and 30s. In fact, he politely said thank you many times during the two-hour performance and apologized for some opening-night snafus. He did almost lose his patience when he had to ask four times to turn on the stage lights so he could introduce the band. Some of the musicians including bassist Pino Palladino, who has toured with the Who and John Mayer, and NINs first-ever backup singers Lisa Fischer (the Rolling Stones) and Sharlotte Gibson (Whitney Houston, Rod Stewart, Avenged Sevenfold) were making their stage debut with NIN. And Reznor himself was playing six songs from Hesitation Marks for the first time live; NIN had performed at several festivals in Europe and the United States this summer with a slightly different band. The 24-song set could have benefited from more rehearsal (more technical than musical issues), better pacing and the inclusion of NINs biggest hit, Closer, which was typically the closing number this summer. But then the St. Paul show had a more organic feel than NINs other Twin Cities performances in this century. Hands clenched around the microphone, biceps bulging and sweat pouring down his face, Reznor came out roaring at the X. With the overhead light rigging hanging low to make it seem like the band was performing in a club with a 10-foot ceiling, NIN opened with the thrash and throb of Copy of A from the new album and the electro shock of 1,000,000 from 2008s The Slip. Soon thereafter, the pulverizing March of the Pigs reminded the near-capacity crowd of 12,000 of NIN mid-90s heyday. But momentum slowed with the new disco funk All Time Low, which was the nights low point. Other new numbers including Came Back Haunted with its David Bowie-like swagger and the moody ballad While Im Still Here had more impact live than on record. Ten tracks from Hesitation Marks were included, though Reznor never plugged the album. To the delight of the crowd, the home stretch featured old favorites, including the electro-stomp Wish, Only with its jittery rhythms, The Hand That Feeds with its bazooka-resounding brutality and the headbanging hit Head Like a Hole. Then Reznor, who had stalked the stage with seething energy but none of the scary danger of old, went arty on Even Deeper, allowing Fischer to unleash an otherworldly coo that built into a scream.

Okay, both the Hall and the Philharmonic triumphed, with antiphonal sounds originating from various nooks and crannies throughout the evening, including the loft surrounding the magnificent organ, where concertmaster Martin Chalifour opened the concert by bowing some Bach. (Designed by Gehry with sound design by Manuel Rosales, the organ, with its 6,125 pipes — resembling French fries, pick-up sticks or whatever flights of fancy one’s imagination takes — is dazzling.) By all accounts of that night — and there were many, as hundreds of journalists from around the globe descended upon the 2, 265-seat venue to file their reports — when Salonen brought down his baton at the end of Stravinsky’s electrifying “The Rite of Spring,” a star, Walt Disney Concert Hall, was born, and downtown Los Angeles would never be the same. But getting there, as mentioned, was quite the journey. Ground was initially broken (initially being the operative word), on December 10, 1992, when an array of politicians, arts bigwigs and Diane Disney Miller took shovels to dirt, signaling the beginning of construction for a seven-level parking structure that would ultimately yield 2,188 parking spaces. Before that groundbreaking, though, various and sundry things happened that had consequences for the Hall. Of course, Santa Monica resident Gehry, whose work, unfathomably, does not dot his adopted city (he was born in Toronto), had been selected to design the theater in 1988, ultimately besting a field of 72 international competitors. There had also been plans for a 5-star hotel and the Champs-Elysee-fication of Grand Avenue, with Disney Hall serving as a kind of anchor. Although the hotel idea was ultimately scrapped, the easy-access parking lot at the corner of Olive and First Streets is still operating. But parking lots aside, it was 1991 when the Pritzker Prize-winning Gehry submitted his design for the Hall. Resembling a majestic seagoing vessel, its sails billowing in the wind, the 367,000-square-foot venue was to be a cluster of eccentric shapes, with undulating walls in a variety of curves, clad in off-white limestone. The radical design, not surprisingly, drew mixed reactions: From being dubbed “post-earthquake architecture” and a shoe box left out in the rain, to an undisputed masterpiece, it set tongues a-wagging. It was also taking on a far different look than Lillian Disney must have originally envisioned. Partial to gardens — but seeking a hall with superior acoustics — Disney wanted the building to be a tribute to her classical music-loving husband Walt, who died in 1966 at age 65.