Published Jun 01, 2005Nine Inch Nails' first live performance in Toronto in several years was a big event for many: witness sad-faced fans left outside actually contemplating paying scalpers' prices. But before the simmering anticipation could explode into a frenetic Nine Inch Nails celebration, openers the Dresden Dolls did what they could to rile the crowd up even more. I walked in on a fascinating cover of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" and never have keyboard and drums alone sounded heavier. While some people just wanted Nine Inch Nails to hurry up and take the stage, many of those packed into the toasty warehouse had enough attention to spare a rousing cheer for the Dresden Dolls' sassy antics. A surprisingly short wait separated the two sets, and soon Nine Inch Nails walked out and started straight into "Pinion." It took about 40 minutes for Trent Reznor to address the black-clad horde in front of him, and he offered little more than a "glad to be back in Canada" and a "thank you" or two. What he lacked in dialogue, Reznor made up for in intensity (and the sound and lights weren't bad either, but a tambourine?). Perhaps Reznor's new clean lifestyle is good for his performance - he looked and sounded in fine shape. As with any band out to promote a new album, Nine Inch Nails played several tracks off their latest, With Teeth, but of NIN's earlier work only The Fragile was nearly overlooked. Closing with "Head Like a Hole," Nine Inch Nails made it clear that there was no room for prima donna encores, although the fans could clearly have lasted for many songs more.