Sunday, September 21, 2014

Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden & Oneohtrix Point Never | July 19, 2014 | Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas, NV

Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden & Oneohtrix Point Never | July 19, 2014/Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas, NV

   The 40th year of life has been one with quite a few changes. Most have not been good changes but there have been special moments with good friends and family that will make life turning 40 worth remembering. 
    For example, my buddy Jesse and I continued to celebrate turning 40 by heading out to Vegas to enjoy life the best we can under personal changes and conditions we were both being directed into. Vegas is the place to let go of the bullshit in life and find good times. This trip was no exception but we both could feel a real absence of a certain soul in life that should have never left in the first place but you cannot dictate your desires for things to be as they were or are in life but this trip was an opportunity to let go and turn new pages and open doors into worlds ahead that were very unknown or expected to experience.

   As for the time in Vegas, it was all about enjoying new restaurants, bars, lounges, hotels or locations we haven’t necessarily been to or simply go back to some of the better spots we always enjoy best and tear shit up right there. Lots of discussions leading up to the trip always (to me) bring up going and doing something only in Vegas. A concert or an event you just may not see in your town. It turned out that a chance meeting with an funny little Irishman made that happen….

   Sitting at one of the center bars inside, I believe was the Hard Rock Hotel, we met this young kid from Canada, originally from Ireland who was in the country doing God knows what but I believe he was in America for school.  He was alone and spending plenty of money into the machine before him at the bar. The question came up, “what brought you to Vegas?” and he replied that he came to town to see Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden at Planet Hollywood. Somehow in my research I did not see that was going on the week we were there but with a little bit of liquor and fuzzy logic, Jesse and I both said, fuck it, let’s see if there’s tickets available. Off to StubHub at that very moment and with a little time, BINGO…tickets purchased! Finally something special to do while in Vegas!! Damn the costs! As for the young Irishman, we had him come with us over to the Hofbräuhaus for a stein of  tasty lager. The odd thing was, he didn't last long for he looked at the both of us, got up, walked backwards and kept looking then simply darted off into the crowd. The behavior was weird, who knows what he was thinking! By chance, a few days later, we found him once again sitting at bar in some casino and nothing really ever got answered as to why he left so abruptly but we let it go and drank with him once again for a brief time.

   After some issues getting the tickets printed at our hotel the day of the concert, we finally got that adventure done and then spent the rest of the day doing what we do best then making our way over to Planet Hollywood that evening. God bless StubHub for this concert because we got seats 10 rows back from the stage, dead center. The seats were beyond tight but we knew we’d be standing once the show began. Everyone around us were in the same frame of mind so it was all good.

   The opening act for the night was a DJ named Oneohtrix Point Never. The DJ made the most God-awful techno bass EDM bullshit noise on the planet. You fucking people who find this shit entertaining live are idiots! Sure, it's fine for clubs who have no taste but NOT for this show/crowd! There’s a douche up on stage, in front of a computer pressing buttons that repeat like a skipping record! No soul, just a computer programmed with a guy who said NOTHING! I don’t think he even introduced himself to the crowd because the people around me were just as unimpressed as we were with the WTF expressions on their faces as well.

   Up next was Soundgarden and damn were they good! It’s taken me 20 years to come around to enjoy Soundgarden for what they are and what they have made over the years. Even after this concert, I don’t think I could call myself a big fan but I would say I have grown to respect and value Soundgarden’s musical contributions to Rock & Roll. The passionate, painful voice of Chris Cornell along with the solid guitar of Kim Thayil and the rockin’ angry spirit of bassist Ben Shepherd gave Soundgarden a larger than life presentation on stage. Matt Chamberlain was the drummer from The Smashing Pumpkins played for Matt Cameron who’s on tour with Pearl Jam. Soundgarden played all the hits and plenty more from their impressive catalog of work. The stage production and lighting was beautifully integrated with the song that was performed. All in all a great experience witnessing one of the biggest rock acts in the country.
    I knew I couldn’t last the evening without trekking all the way to the top of the venue to drain the main vein. Talk about an exhausting adventure to get in, out and back to my seat before Nine Inch Nails hit the stage but I literally made it right in time as the lights went dim. Nine Inch Nails was beyond fantastic and I can probably hear some of out there saying well, what the fuck, Nine Inch Nails is full of computer-generated beats and EDM experimental l bullshit but I’ll tell you right now, Trent Reznor was one of the originals who took the style and created MUSIC with it! Yanno, lyrics, a vibe, a voice, a band, and a soul to the style. THAT’S THE DIFFERENCE why Nine Inch Nails is so successful and their style will never feel dated. It’s timeless music.
    If you haven’t been following Nine Inch Nails’ music since The Downward Spiral, you may not have known a lot of the music played that night for they covered their entire catalog and then would do crazy industrial/techno solos of aggressive noise. The music in the last 15 to 20 years since The Downward Spiral has been fantastic, weird, unnecessary or wasteful but they played the best known tunes from those releases.  Being the first night of this tour, you could see some production issues that weren’t working on stage and it was somewhat acknowledged at a certain point during their set because some was that obvious. Nine Inch Nails overall was spectacular and the stage lighting that set the mood that was given during songs really made for a special event unlike no other. 
   A great trip to Vegas once again was closing down on July 21st. By then, I was physically so exhausted and begging for sleep along with a smooth flight home that it was the possible trigger of what entails for the remainder of my life. I took my sweet time getting to the Las Vegas Airport that day and took my sweet time navigating to get where I needed to be once there. Keep in mind as well, it’s been over 100 degrees the entire time we were there and my body no longer holds up too well to the heat no matter how much I love it so it was all I could to walk, cool down, walk and cool down again. 
   The silver lining to the discomfort was as I had just finished going through security then I took a few moments to find the first set of chairs before you board the tram to take you out the gates to cool down. No one was around me and I was facing the window so I really wasn’t turning over my shoulder to see who’s coming by at that moment.  Then I heard a voice who was right behind me talking to two other people and the voice was instantly recognizable! HOLY SHIT, it was Vinnie Paul from the legendary gods of Metal, PANTERA, DAMAGEPLAN & HELLYEAH!  I couldn’t stop turning over my shoulder at that point and his assistant couldn’t help by recognize that I had become an audience to their discussion. I apologize to interrupting their conversation but I took my moment to thank Vinnie for all the years of fantastic music he’s given to the world and my life. We started talking more about his new band, HELLYEAH which I think he thought I didn’t know existed but just kept saying "Yah, yah yah, I know!" He pulled out a promotional postcard of the new album Blood for Blood from his personal bag and I gladly accepted. They went on their way and that was that. I didn’t not shake hands or take a picture, just a very low-key moment to say thank you for the all the great memories and music that man created and continues to create today! CFH always! 
    It will be hard to top Las Vegas, 2014 with so much going in life…so this time around what happened in Vegas, needed to be shared…well…perhaps still not EVERYTHING ;) 

Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails - early in show

Nine Inch Nails - The different lighting productions were astounding!

Soundgarden - first song in set, Shepherd made his way around the audience to get them engaged!

Soundgarden - Great stage sets/lighting throughout the performance


Soundgarden - live n loud
The postcard handed to me by Vinnie Paul of Pantera/Damageplan/Hellyeah

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