Review: QOTSA and Nine Inch Nails

ROCKING OUT: Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme opened the double bill with an explosive performance.
ROCKING OUT: Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme opened the double bill with an explosive performance.

Nine Inch Nails and Queens of the Stone Age

TSB Bank Arena, March 20

Reviewed by Alex Liu

There was one thing on my mind as I walked through the entrance of TSB Bank Arena – who's playing first?

The dual-headlining acts of Queens of the Stone Age and Nine Inch Nails have been deciding this with a coin toss, and no one knows (no pun intended) who's up first except the bands themselves.

Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor won the toss for the second night in a row, and the daunting task of opening was left up to Josh Homme and his Queens.

But as soon as they stepped on stage, it didn't matter. The audience erupted and the ear piercing riff of My God is the Sun exploded into the arena. The Queens were certainly not just the 'opening act'.

Once-seated audience members stood and danced as the band delivered an incredibly varied and satisfying set list. Crowd favourites Go With the Flow and Little Sister found their way into the mix, and no one could help but sing along with Homme's velvet falsetto during Make It Wit Chu from 2007's Era Vulgaris.

An extended version of Better Living Through Chemistry was a high point, and the band signed off the night with a Song for the Dead.

Nine Inch Nails' New Zealand visits have not been a regular affair and it was the first time in a while for Wellington.

Reznor and his boys transformed TSB Bank Arena into a grungy industrial dance club. Smoke filled the stage and spilled out into the crowd, creating an almost nightmarish-feeling among the audience.

The light show was one of the best I have ever seen at a music concert. Strobes and twisting coloured lights spat through the smoke and created a mesmerising and hypnotic sight, synchronised perfectly to each song.

The dynamics of having blinding strobes flash during Copy of A to a single, lonely centre light filling just Reznor's face during closer Hurt made this gig feel more special than any other.

From Head Like a Hole to the recent The Hand That Feeds, each song was performed by a passionate Reznor – a showman like no other. One of many highlights was Reznor standing at his piano playing What If We Could. The crowd fell silent. A magical concert moment.

The Dominion Post