On May 16th 2014, Nine Inch Nails played the Rockhal in Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg. We got to the venue quite late so we missed Cold Cave who opened for NIN, but from what I heard we did not miss all that much. NIN took the stage at 9pm sharp, openeing with "Me, I'm not" which we saw from the back of the venue as we headed in. By the time of "Copy of A" we had found our spot a little to the left of the stage and about 10 meters back from the speaker stack which turned out to be quite a good spot as the volume was not quite loud enough, and thus was quite shaky in the back half of the room as the sound in the Rockhal is far from stunning unless it's cranked up enough. We were however in a spot that sounded quite alright, but had the usual stiff Luxembourgish crowd, but that did not keep us from dancing although I think the people around us did not quite like it, but who cares, it's a rock show, and a good one at that. So after a few menacing looks I pointed out that NIN has some really great live releases that can be peacefully watched at home, which was not a comment to well taken, but again it's a rock show.
For the first 3 songs, ("me i'm not", "copy of a" and "1'000'000" the band was standing in one line at the front of the stage, and they only showed us the drum kit for the next tracks, which were also much more powerful with the support of a real drummer, than the first 3 tracks.
By the 4th song which was "march of the pigs" I had a hard time to hold back and actually bumped into quite a few people while dancing, at the least there was 3 of us dancing so we did not get beat up. From what I could see the only real movement in the crowd was in the very front rows, and no real moshpit to be seen anywhere, otherwise we would have moved there. Here the power of a real drummer vs. a sampler was clearly felt. "piggy" was next, and brought the dancing down a bit as it is such a slow song, but still had more power due to the drummer than the openeing songs. The light show was stunning and had some special lights, that were possibly designed just for them, lots of movement, and flashing lights.
The next few tracks were all accompanied by the drummer, "Survivalism", "gave up", "sanctified", and "closer" which as usual put the crowd into a mild frenzy. About halfway through the show a few more friends found us, so there was about 5 or 6 of us dancing and jumping and headbanging, which made for a bit more fun. Then the backdrop hid the drum kit away again for some of the newer tracks: "the warning", "disappointed", "came back haunted", "the great destroyer", "the day the world went away" . Then when they went into "eraser" the drum kit came back out, and I was blown away by this hypnotic song, which has always been in my favorites.
"Wish", "only", "the hand that feeds" and a very powerful version of "head like a hole" closed out the set, at 1 hour 30 minutes sharp. Trent came back on stage for a short encore of only "hurt".
Overall I'd say a really good show, a good mix of old and new songs. As usual very little interaction with the crowd, and a focus on the music, which is always welcome! In the end personally I preferred their show at Rockhal a few years ago on the Wave goodbye tour, but it was a better show than the one I saw last August at Pukkelpop. I will certainly go see them again!
The full set list can be found here: http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/nine-inch-nails/2014/rockhal-esch-sur-alzette-luxembourg-63c0be07.html