I took a red eye flight to Atlanta, and then to Philly for the Camden show. I wasn’t able to sleep, but it really wouldn’t be a NIN/JA show if I wasn’t tired. One of my best friends, Christine, met me at our hotel in Philly, and soon we were on our way to the meet and greet. It was to be her first NIN show.
Arriving at the venue, we were figuring out where to park and were let into the area with the buses. However, we didn’t want to get towed so we moved the car into a normal lot, but thought it was pretty funny nonetheless. We walked up to one will call, and no one knew anything about where to go. Then we found the massive line, bizarrely snaking around and divided between donors and presale GA. I don’t think we ever found where the end of the line was. We had been told to be there at 2:30, but tickets/passes weren’t passed out until an hour later. And it was raining. And this chick near us had the most ginormous boobies that were about to pop out everywhere, plus she was wearing way too short of a dress. The boobies kept hitting us when she walked by. BFTs.
Once inside, we waited a bit more before being taken on a tour…which was different from the SF meet and greet. We went into the production office, where we chatted with Bill- the NIN production manager, and Mark, the Jane’s production manager. Bill was getting a haircut while he talked. It was quite odd. They basically talked about some logistical things, setlist creation, and their background that got them into the business. Tom Morello walked into the office while we were in there. Then we went to see where the trucks are unloaded, and the crew guys looked to be in a heated game of poker.
We were then taken to another room for the meet and greet. This time the guys were sitting behind a table. I think everyone had loads of stuff for them to sign, so when I walked up empty handed I think they were a bit thrown off. My goal this time was to talk and get hugs, since I missed that in Mountain View. I basically told each one that I was lucky enough to do this twice, so I wasn’t going to make them sign anything again, but I would like a hug. Robin was first. He seemed a bit confused, but was nice regardless and came around the table. Next was JMJ, who is, of course, the nicest human being and thanked me for being a part of this. Then Trent. I said hi, and he gives me a funny look and says, “aren’t I stalking you?”. Insert nervous giggle here. So I asked for the hug, and he said he’d get to me over there, where the pictures are taken. Last was Ilan. I told him I wanted another interview after the tour, because I know he is going to be super famous soon, and he said OK. He gives good hugs!
We were almost the last people to do the meet and greet, and time was running very short. Brett, JT, and Leo were really trying to hurry things up. We got in a new line for pictures- only one allowed and with both guests. When it was our turn, my friend and I each stood at Trent’s side, and the height jokes began (my friend is 6 feet tall). So Trent wanted two pictures- one on his tiptoes and one where he made himself *even shorter*. It was hilarious. So I was going to get my hug, but other people moved in for their picture. Leo came after me and told me to wait, he knows Trent promised me one. So when everyone was done with pictures, Leo told me to go over. Awkwardly, I’m like “I’m here to collect my hug”, and I think he said something like ‘no, that’s not possible’ or something, laughs, and gives me one. Then he said, lets do a second one, and I was like “OK”. It was a long one, and I could feel my heart leaping out of my chest at this point, so he probably felt that. Crazy. Then he looked at my friend and was like, ‘you, too?’ And she said like ‘sure’, so he gives her a hug and then continues to talk about her height. Then we are whisked right off into soundcheck.
Yes, my hair is weird because it got rained on!
They walk on stage, and Trent comments on the delay, and blames it on having to give out hugs, which is hilarious. There were only two songs at this soundcheck- ‘The Good Soldier’ and ‘Dead Souls’. We didn’t get to stay for Street Sweeper’s sound check. We were taken back into a lobby and then left there for awhile. Finally we realized that we had been forgotten, and found our way back to where they were serving dinner. The catering was Philly Cheesesteak. NIN was playing on a stereo as we ate, and there was a moment when ‘Closer’ came on, and I look around at the room full of uber NIN fans, eating in near silence, and thought, “wow, this is really really weird”. We were then numbered and divided into two groups to go onstage to watch the show. We were put into the first group. By this time, SSSC had already gone onstage, so we went to our seats and caught about half of the set. We had 5th row seats behind the pit, which weren’t too bad, but compared to what I normally do, they seemed a million miles away.
We went back to the meet and greet/catering room to be escorted to the stage. As we were walking through the cavernous backstage, I could hear ‘Home’ start. We were able to line up along the back sides of the stage- we took Robin’s side. I could also see Ilan very well. Though the sound is wonky, it was really cool to watch the crowd from this angle. I could see two friends of mine, Jackie and Eric, who were on their 11th of 12 shows this tour, front and center. It was cool to see Robin switch off guitars, and Trent come to the back of the stage for breaks. The smoke is really thick when you are back there. I was also overwhelmed by how much I became aware that this is their job. Watching from the back, you realize so much that they are working. Granted, it’s one of the coolest jobs on the planet, but it’s a job. And perhaps this was important for me to witness so that I can keep my bitching about this being the last tour at bay.
Halfway through the set, we were told to leave. Christine and I stopped to try to take a self portrait of us backstage. Bill grabbed the camera from us and worked on getting a picture, but it was too dark. Leo comes up behind us and takes a picture with us, shining the flashlight over our heads. It was really cool. Then, they led us to the center back of the stage and told us to stand there, because that was were the coolest perspective was. So we got out of leaving the stage 🙂 And I got to stand right behind Trent which was pretty cool. Leo and Bill are awesome.
I wish I had been out front for ‘The Line Begins to Blur’….
We were kicked out a few songs before the end, though. We stayed in the lobby to get a drink a chill out, and witnessed a crazy cat fight out there, plus a lot of other drunken people.
For Jane’s, we went back to our seats. It was interesting to watch from that far away, and realize the importance of the A/V elements. The sound was not so good where we were, though. It didn’t matter as we sang and danced in our seats. ‘Ocean Size’ fills an amphitheater nicely.
We hung out for a bit afterwards and then got lost on our way back to Philly. Don’t get lost in Camden late at night.
And Christine has been converted into a fangirl.
beginning of the end
march of the pigs
line begins to blur
the big come down
banged and blown through
the downward spiral
mr self destruct
the day the whole world went away
the hand that feeds
head like a hole
Ain’t No Right
Pigs In Zen
Then She Did…
Up The Beach
Been Caught Stealing
Had a Dad
Ted, Just Admit it…
Combined waiting time for five shows: 32.75 hours (Chula: 7am-7pm, Las Vegas: 9pm-4am, 7am-10am, 6pm-8pm, Santa Barbara: 1p-4:30p, Shoreline: 4-4:30p, Camden: 2:45-7:30p)
Number in line- Chula: #6, Vegas: #2, Santa Barbara: #30ish?, MV: didn’t matter!, Camden- didn’t matter!
Total number of times seeing NIN: 14