Back in the Manchester on the Year Zero tour

One thing I can say about my life so far: The best time I've ever had was finally getting to see Nine Inch Nails for the first time, live in Osaka on the With Teeth tour. It took me a while to get to see them but the feeling was like an epiphany. It's not often NIN tour and everytime they do, I'm right there buying the tickets.

Many people have questioned whether or not Uncle Trent still has it in him. Not necessarily in a live sense but mainly because 'With Teeth' was not the most successful NIN album and now the new album, 'Year Zero', is following 'With Teeth' rather closely. Has Uncle Trent got anything left to write about? 'With Teeth' has certainly grown on me however and I think that this will be the case for most NIN fans.

After the support band, Ladytron, leave the stage after subjecting us to some impressive pipework from the the lead singers, the Apollo becomes what can only be described as a scene from "The Fog". The amount of dry-ice that must have taken probably put ICI out of business! For a while I was debating which song NIN would open with. To my immense delight, NIN open with "Mr Self Destruct", possibly the best choice in my opinion.

The second song, "Last" was an odd choice and not one I expected. It's only by the third song, "Sin", that we actually get to see Mr Reznor. He's looking a tad cold with a jacket that makes him look fat. He certainly doesn't look like his sweaty, bic'ed, mean looking metal self, as he was in Osaka, but the fury is most definitely still there as he breaks out the guitar for "Terrible Lie". He even had the patented "Reznor Guitar Throw (tm)" in effect!

Throughout the performance, I get the feeling the songs are much meaner and more intense. The added bass drums in "March of the Pigs" gave me this feeling, along with the extra guitar work in "Closer". Much of the synth has been moved over to funky effects on the guitars, which gives NIN a much more metal sound. One of RoomThirteen's prolific writers, who shall remain anonymous, once likened NIN to an Industrial version of the Pet Shop Boys. Under great duress I could see where he was coming from. This gig proves however, that NIN are all about blistering, intense, Industrial metal.

"Something I Can Never Have" is probably my favourite sad song, and it's played beautifully. We are treated to the joys of "Eraser", "Burn", and "La Mer" which was a great surprise. "Wish" was another good example of a track made even more intense tonight, especially with a light show that would have killed anyone with even a hint of epilepsy. A few tracks were missing from the line-up. The likes of "Starfuckers Inc", "The Wretched" and "Piggy" sadly didn't make it, but with such a back catalogue, it's hardly a wonder.

NIN begin to close the set with "Only", moving into the awesome, one and only "Hurt". The crowd are really singing along and the tension is almost palpable. "The Hand the Feeds" blasts in at supersonic speed straight after. NIN finish with "Head like a Hole" and the crowd finally loses it.

Sadly there was no encore and the crowd hadn't gone very insane throughout the gig which I was quite surprised about. I, on the other-hand, couldn't sit still (yes I had seating tickets which sucked). If it wasn't for the lack of an encore and lack of insanity from the crowd, Mr Reznor would have garnered a 13 from me. Tonight, he showed he can still rock harder live than on the albums and still make me feel amazing.