Photos: Nine Inch Nails and Explosions In the Sky at the Xcel Energy Center (St Paul, MN)

Nine Inch Nails (Los Angeles, CA) and Explosions in the Sky (Austin, TX)
September 28th, 2013
Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, MN

Gallery: Nine Inch Nails
Gallery: Explosions in the Sky


Back in eight or ninth grade, I was in charge of holding the Sony Discman with surgeon-like precision (because it had zero skip protection) while riding shotgun as my brother drove the red Pontiac minivan to ski practice or school. This is where I first heard our borrowed copy of Nine Inch Nails’ “Pretty Hate Machine”. What was this music? Where could I get more? Who was behind it? That would be none other than Trent Reznor, and last night was the first time I would get to see Nine Inch Nails live.


Nails took the stage with LED lighting hanging just above their heads, giving the stage a small, enclosed feel. This soon changed as the huge video screen lit up and another, more see through screen came down in front of the band. The lights that once hung just above the band raised up, changed angles, and added to the brilliant and intense light show. I say intense because during “Survivalism”, I debated on closing my eyes for a bit, powerful!


The encore song choices felt more on the experimental side than the vast majority of the main set. The setlist may have left fans divided on how they perceived the night. There was a ton of new material on the set list, but enough older work to keep the long time fans engaged, though maybe not thrilled. Whatever you did take away from the song selections, the visual and audio mastery that Nine Inch Nails brings is something you absolutely must witness.


This was my first NIN concert, and to be honest, I was blown away. Were you there? Let us know what you thought of the show.


Nine Inch Nails Set List:
Copy of A
Terrible Lie
March of the Pigs
All Time Low
Came Back Haunted
Find My Way
I Would for You
A Warm Place
Somewhat Damaged
Wish (Broken)
The Hand That Feeds
Head Like a Hole

Even Deeper
In This Twilight
While I’m Still Here
Black Noise

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  • Hey Ryan,
    My wife and I were there as well last night and just wanted to say amazing pics! Last night was also our first NIN show and I have to say that it was pretty amazing…..
    But we were kind of wondering what everyone else thought of why Trent didn’t play Closer last night. We were not dissapointed in the least but a little sad that he didn’t play it.
    What does everyone else think?

  • Ive been waiting to see NIN for most of my life ( I missed their last our, and I was a bit too young to see them before that) and I was thoroughly satifsfied to say the very least! I might even try to catch their show in Portland. As for Closer, my fiance was wondering the same thing and I speculate that Trents intentions were for us to feel something and to be moved by Hurt, especially with the imagery played along with it. Maybe to replace a cheap thrill with something to leave thinking about?

  • Hard to be disappointed in the Xcel show, esp after such a long set, but… I, too, was confused by what wasn’t played. Quite a lull in the middle – I get it, they need breaks – and relegating the intro of such a monstrous band to the very end? Probably too much to hope for Get Down Make Love. Came Back Haunted and Wish were my faves.

  • It was my 19th NIN show and I was blown away. I was on the gate in the middle so I can imagine anybody who didnt have that gate really needed that time…it got pretty brutal for some songs as to be expected. I seem to be the only one excited to not hear that live for once. I read he was sick of playing Head Like a Hole so I imagine it is the same with their really only huge radio song. I would have loved to hear Mr Self Destruct, Dead Souls or Burn again though. Maybe next month for my #20 in NC.

  • How long was the duration of the show? There was an opening act as well, correct?

    I’m seeing them in Orlando on Halloween, and am meeting some friends afterwards. Trying to get any idea of timing.

    According to the tickets, show starts at 7:30.

    Thanks in advance

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