Self Destruct Tour

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Self Destruct
Tour by Nine Inch Nails
Trent Reznor Self-Destruct.jpg
Reznor performing during the Self-Destruct tour, circa 1994–1995.
Associated album The Downward Spiral
Start date March 9, 1994
End date September 8, 1996
Legs 8
Nine Inch Nails concert chronology

The Self Destruct Tour was a concert tour in support of industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails' album The Downward Spiral, which took place in early 1994, running until mid-1996, and was broken into eight legs.


The tour was filmed for the Closure tour documentary, a double-VHS set that documented live performances of the tour as well as the band from 1989–1991, and an extra VHS tape featuring the band's music videos, which was released in late 1997. It was rumored to have been re-released in 2005, but Interscope Records refused to release it, which led the content's mysterious leak onto torrent websites in DVD format – supposedly at the hands of Reznor himself.

This was Nine Inch Nails' first tour since the early 1990s shows for Pretty Hate Machine. During this time, Nine Inch Nails' music became angrier and more aggressive with releases like Broken and The Downward Spiral, which led to the concerts being often very violent and personal, with band members often injuring themselves. The stage set-up consisted of grungy curtains which would pulled down and up for visuals which might be played during songs (such as 'Hurt'), or pulled up for live performances of more aggressive songs. The back of the stage was littered with darker and standing lights, with very little actual lights.[1]

Trent Reznor overhauled the band line-up and image for the tour; guitarist Robin Finck joined to play guitar while Danny Lohner joined on to play bass guitar. However, Chris Vrenna and James Woolley were brought back from the Pretty Hate Machine Tour Series. Image-wise, instead of the sloppy, low-budget style for previous tours, the band often dressed in black leather smothered in cornstarch, with band members often changing their hairstyles to radical hair styles for every concert. Robin Finck used makeup to hide his eyebrows, and Reznor would often don his 'fishnet gloves' (as they would come to be known) for the show. The band's showy yet intense tour style gave the band comparisons to David Bowie, whom Reznor was a big fan of. Later in the tour, Bowie and Reznor's protégé, Marilyn Manson, would often join the frontman on stage to sing their songs—as evident in the Closure tour documentary.[1]

The tour included a set at Woodstock '94 broadcast on Pay-per-view and seen in as many as 24 million homes. The band being covered in mud was a result of pre-concert backstage play, contrary to the belief that it was an attention-grabbing ploy, thus making it difficult for Reznor to navigate the stage: Reznor pushed Lohner into the mud pit as the concert began and saw mud from his hair going into his eyes while performing. Nine Inch Nails was widely proclaimed to have "stolen the show" from its popular contemporaries, mostly classic rock bands, and its fan base expanded.[1][2][3] The band received considerable mainstream success thereafter, performing with significantly higher production values and the addition of various theatrical visual elements.[4] Its performance of "Happiness in Slavery" from the Woodstock concert earned the group a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 1995.[1] Entertainment Weekly commented about the band's Woodstock '94 performance: "Reznor unstrings rock to its horrifying, melodramatic core--an experience as draining as it is exhilarating".[5] Despite this acclaim, Reznor attributed his dislike of the concert to its technical difficulties.[1]

The main leg of the tour featured Marilyn Manson as the supporting act, who featured bassist Jeordie White (then playing under the pseudonym "Twiggy Ramirez"); White later played bass with Nine Inch Nails from 2005 to 2007.[1][6] After another tour leg supporting the remix album Further Down the Spiral, Nine Inch Nails contributed to the Alternative Nation Festival in Australia and subsequently embarked on the Dissonance Tour, which included 26 separate performances with co-headliner David Bowie. Nine Inch Nails was the opening act for the tour, and its set transitioned into Bowie's set with joint performances of both bands' songs.[1] However, the crowds reportedly did not respond positively to the pairing due to their creative differences.[7]

The tour concluded with "Nights of Nothing", a three-night showcase of performances from Nothing Records bands Marilyn Manson, Prick, Meat Beat Manifesto, and Pop Will Eat Itself, which ended with an 80-minute set from Nine Inch Nails. Kerrang! described the Nine Inch Nails set during the Nights of Nothing showcase as "tight, brash and dramatic", but was disappointed at the lack of new material. On the second of the three nights, Richard Patrick was briefly reunited with the band and contributed guitar to a performance of "Head Like a Hole".[8] After the Self Destruct tour, Chris Vrenna, member of the live band since 1988 and frequent contributor to Nine Inch Nails studio recordings, left the act permanently to pursue a career in producing and to form Tweaker.[9][10]

Band line-up[edit]

North American leg[edit]

Reeling from the success of Pretty Hate Machine and Broken as well as the band's departure from TVT Records, the nearly immediate success of The Downward Spiral led to Nine Inch Nails playing larger venues. This debuted the band's new grungy and messy image in which band members would often come out in ragged clothes slathered in corn starch. They would often destroy their instruments at the end of concerts, attack each other, and stage-dive into the crowd. This led to Nine Inch Nails's notoriety as a live act. The shows often consisted of songs from Pretty Hate Machine, Broken, The Downward Spiral, as well as songs such as "Get Down Make Love" and "Dead Souls", which were formerly staples of their live show.[1]

Tour dates[edit]

Date City Country Venue
April 19, 1994 Seattle United States Moore Theatre
April 20, 1994
April 21, 1994 Portland, Oregon La Luna Club
April 23, 1994 San Francisco The Warfield
April 24, 1994
April 26, 1994 Los Angeles Hollywood Palace
April 27, 1994
April 30, 1994 San Diego San Diego State University
May 1, 1994 Phoenix, Arizona Mesa Centennial
May 3, 1994 Dallas The Bomb Factory
May 4, 1994 Houston International Ballroom
May 5, 1994 New Orleans State Palace Theatre
May 7, 1994 Chicago Riviera Theatre
May 8, 1994 Detroit State Theatre
May 9, 1994 Cleveland Agora Theater
May 11, 1994 Boston Cyclorama Building
May 13, 1994 New York City Webster Hall
May 14, 1994 New York City Roseland Ballroom
May 15, 1994 Upper Darby, Pennsylvania Tower Theater
May 18, 1994 Dublin Ireland SFX Center
May 20, 1994 Wolverhampton United Kingdom Wolverhampton Civic Hall
May 21, 1994 Glasgow Barrowlands
May 22, 1994 Manchester Manchester Academy
May 24, 1994 London London Forum
May 28, 1994 Ghent Belgium Vooruit
May 30, 1994 Paris France Le Bataclan
May 31, 1994 Amsterdam Netherlands Paradiso
June 2, 1994 Frankfurt Germany Live Music Hall
June 3, 1994 Berlin Huxley's
June 7, 1994 Hamburg The Docks
June 8, 1994 Düsseldorf Tor 3
June 9, 1994 Munich Charterhalle
June 11, 1994 Vienna Austria Summer Arena
June 12, 1994 Prague Czech Republic Lucerna Hall
June 15, 1994 Katowice Poland Spodek
June 16, 1994 Warsaw Stadion Dziesięciolecia
July 29, 1994 Atlanta United States Fox Theatre
July 30, 1994
August 3, 1994 Poughkeepsie, New York Mid-Hudson Civic Center
August 6, 1994 Barrie, Ontario Canada Molson Park
August 11, 1994 Fairfax, Virginia United States Patriot Center
August 13, 1994 Saugerties, New York Woodstock '94
September 2, 1994 Clarkston, Michigan DTE Energy Music Theatre
September 11, 1994 St. Louis, Missouri Fox Theater
September 30, 1994 Sacramento, California ARCO Arena
October 30, 1994 Dallas, Texas Fair Park Coliseum
October 31, 1994 Houston, Texas The Summit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Huxley, Martin (September 1997). Nine Inch Nails: Self Destruct. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-15612-X. 
  2. ^ Umstead, Thomas R. (August 22, 1994). "Feedback muddy from Woodstock PPV". Multichannel News. 15 (32): 3–4. 
  3. ^ Graff, Gary. "Band's Hot Image Rooted In Woodstock '94 Mud". Detroit Free Press. 
  4. ^ "The Pit: Nine Inch Nails". Guitar School. May 1995. 
  5. ^ Hajari, Nisid (December 1994). "Trent Reznor : The Entertainers". Entertainment Weekly. 
  6. ^ Chun, Gary (September 14, 2007). "Reznor's edge cuts NIN's bleak outlook". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  7. ^ Christensen, Thor (October 13, 1995). "Outside looking in" (fee required). The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved March 29, 2008. 
  8. ^ Kaye, Don (September 1996). "Nailed! Trent's Posse Pound New York". Kerrang!. 
  9. ^ Moss, Coret (September 18, 2001). "Vrenna Leaves NIN Behind To Explore What's Uncertain". MTV. Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  10. ^ Ramirez, Mike (February 2001). "Nothing is Temporary". Blue Divide Magazine. 2 (1).