Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails perform at the Susquehanna Bank Center

Liza Rothkoff, Eastside Entertainment Editor

Both Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails were pioneers of the nineties music scene. When the two acts hit the stage at Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden on July 30, both bands had their fans on their feet.

The night started with opening act, Daniel Lopatin, who goes by the recording name, Oneohtrix Point Never. Lopatin casually walked onto the stage, easily mistaken by the crowd as a stagehand. The Brooklyn-based experimental artist began his set with a slow throb, which as his 25-minute set went on, sped to a thumping beat. During the time Lopatin was on stage, the amphitheater was more than half empty. The concertgoers talked amongst themselves and the synth beats from Oneohtrix Point Never served as background noise.

As soon as Soundgarden hit the stage, the show was on in full force. The seats in the venue were fully filled in and the crowd finally got on their feet. The band started its 14 song set with “Searching With My Good Eye Closed”. Soundgarden delivered a hits-filled set with half of the songs coming from the album, Superunknown. Chris Cornell noted that the album is celebrating its 20-year anniversary this year. The largest fan reaction came from the 90s hit, “Black Hole Sun”, which is the band’s most recognizable song. Other albums that were represented were Badmotorfinger, King Animal and Ultramega OK. It became evident that most of the crowd was not there for both bands when during Soundgarden’s set, many Nine Inch Nails fans sat down in their seats, waiting for Soundgarden to go off stage.

Before long, it was Nine Inch Nails’ turn to take the stage. Much like Oneohtrix Point Never, Trent Reznor walked on the stage with the house lights on, easily mistaken as a stagehand by some concert attendees. Reznor unexpectedly started singing the album opener of The Fragile, “Somewhat Damaged”. Diehard Nine Inch Nails fans welcomed the obscure track. From the first song, it was evident that the night would not be the typical Nine Inch Nails greatest hits set. The band quickly launched into older classics off of the acclaimed, The Downward Spiral, “March of the Pigs” and “Piggy”. “March of the Pigs” showed how multi-talented drummer, Ilan Rubin could be. Within seconds Rubin went from drums during the verses to keyboards during the breakdown. During “Piggy”, multi instrumentalist, Alessandro Cortini, showcased his bass skills throughout the throbbing bass and drum track. The 90 minute, 19 song set, represented some of Reznor’s best work during his 25 year career with Nine Inch Nails.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night came from the tour debut of the songs, “The Frail” and “The Wretched”. “The Frail”, which is a quiet instrumental added a great contrast to the booming “The Wretched”. A low point of the set came when Reznor busted into the Hesitation Marks track, “Find My Way”. The song put an unnecessary break between the thunderous vocals of “Disappointed” and “The Great Destroyer”. The band predictably ended its main set with the fan favorite, “Head Like a Hole”.

A few minutes later, Nine Inch Nails were back for its encore. The band commenced its final two songs with a new rendition of The Fragile track, “The Day the World Went Away”. This new rendition of the song does not feature any drums. Instead, each band member played guitar alongside Reznor. The expectant ending to the night with “Hurt”, had everyone singing with Reznor.

The night proved that even though Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails had their most popular hits in the nineties, their music still remains as relevant as ever today.

Soundgarden’s Setlist:

  1. Searching With My Good Eye Closed
  2. Spoonman
  3. Ben Away Too Long
  4. The Day I Tried to Live
  5. Let Me Drown
  6. Outshined
  7. Black Hole Sun
  8. Jesus Christ Pose
  9. Like Suicide
  10. Fell on Black Days
  11. Superunknown
  12. A Thousand Days Before
  13. Rusty Cage
  14. Beyond the Wheel


Nine Inch Nails’ Setlist:

  1. Somewhat Damaged
  2. 1,000,000
  3. March of the Pigs
  4. Piggy
  5. The Frail
  6. The Wretched
  7. Closer
  8. Burn
  9. Gave Up
  10. Disappointed
  11. Find My Way
  12. The Great Destroyer
  13. Eraser
  14. Wish
  15. Only
  16. The Hand That Feeds
  17. Head Like a Hole
  18. The Day the World Went Away
  19. Hurt