“We finally f-cking made it here,” Trent Reznor told the crowd at the Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, a short drive south of Cleveland, Ohio, on Sept. 24. The show — noted by Cleveland.com as being a delayed celebration of Nine Inch Nails’ induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame — marked the first time that the band, which was founded in Cleveland in 1988, played Northeast Ohio since 2013. The show was a homecoming in more ways than one, as former members Chris Vrenna (drums), Danny Lohner (multi-instruments), Charlie Clouser (keys/synths), and Richard Patrick (guitars) joined Reznor, 57, and the rest of the current NIN lineup.
From there, this massive NIN lineup played a handful of songs from the band’s expansive discography, including “Wish,” “Sin,” “Eraser,” and “Give Up,” before ending the night with a performance of “Head Like A Hole.” The group also performed a cover of Filter’s “Hey Man Nice Shot,” which is noteworthy because Richard Patrick formed Filter after an acrimonious exit from NIN in 1993.
NIN initially planned to do something in their hometown as part of their 2020 induction into the Rock Hall of Fame, but the COVID-19 pandemic scuttled both the 2020 show and the 2021 gigs at the Jacobs Pavilion, per Cleveland.com. Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Robin Finck, Chris Vrenna, Danny Lohner, Ilan Rubin, and Alessandro Cortini were inducted as part of NIN, and Richard (who played on the band’s breakthrough, Pretty Hate Machine) wasn’t thrilled with being excluded. However, it seems that two years later, he was able to put aside the hurt feelings to reunite with his former band for this show.
Richard spoke about his exit from the group on a 2020 episode of the Stop! Drop & Talk podcast, per Loudwire. “[Trent Reznor and I] were just two knuckleheads from Cleveland, Ohio — we were not big yet,” he said. “But eventually, we did get big, and there was a point in time where Trent just kind of looked at me, and I said, ‘Wow, you’re going down to New Orleans to go live in this beautiful house that you’re getting, and I’m gonna go back to my mom and dad’s house.’ And Trent goes, ‘Well, go write a record.’ And I was, like, ‘Wow!’ What do you say to that?”
“But the final straw was Trent going, ‘Hey, listen, Rich, I know you need some extra cash. Listen. Down at the end of [the street], there’s a little pizzeria, and they need drivers. So maybe you can go make some extra cash over there. And I’m, like, ‘Wow!’ This was when I had [Filter’s] ‘Hey Man, Nice Shot’ was written, and I had five record companies ready to sign me. And I was, like, ‘Hey, dude, I hate to tell you this now, but I quit. And I’m so sorry. But I fucking quit. I’m not gonna sell pizzas and I’m not gonna drive for a [pizzeria].”
Filter’s 1995 debut, Short Bus, would be certified Platinum. The follow-up, 1999’s Title of Record, would duplicate that success, thanks mostly to the hit song “Take A Picture.”