It was an odd combination of 90s era bands hitting the Susquehanna Bank stage in Camden last night. Soundgarden came out a little rusty, seemingly going through the motions on hits like “Spoonman” and “Outshined” early in their set. Vocalist Chris Cornell seemed to have all of the right moves, they just seemed half-hearted and he looked particularly gaunt framed in front of the large screen. The big drum sound of Matt Cameron was also noticeably missing. They picked it up near the end of the 80 minute set with a searing version of “Rusty Cage” leading into an inspired “Beyond the Wheel.” It all looked and sounded fine, but overall left me wanting.
Nine Inch Nails have changed a lot since I last saw them over a decade ago, the night Trent Reznor tossed a mic stand off the side of his drummer’s head. A beefier, more muscular Reznor is less unhinged than he once was, but still prowled around the stage like a large rabid beast. “Somewhat Damaged” got everything kicked off and put everyone quickly in the spirit, as Reznor then took us down the spiral of emotions that was “March of the Pigs,” “Piggy” and “The Frail” (which was not on the setlist). Those tracks have only improved with age. One of the highlights for me was the sinuous, dank version of “Eraser” that plunged into the lush and desperate “Wish” towards the end of their set. Though not the tantrum of Tourette’s they once were, Nine Inch Nails still puts on an intense, if not overly precise show. Check out a photo gallery of both bands below.
Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden, Susquehanna Bank Center