Watch Nine Inch Nails Debut Haunting David Bowie Cover At First Show In Three Years

Last night, Nine Inch Nails played Bakersfield’s Rabobank Arena, marking their first live show in three years. The band, who will release the new ADD VIOLENCE EP tomorrow, debuted a bunch of songs during the show, including the new single “Less Than” and songs from last year’s Not The Actual Events EP. But the most notable new song — and, quite possibly, the whole show’s emotional high point — came when Reznor honored the late David Bowie, his old friend, tourmate, and collaborator. Reznor has already spoken of his relationship with Bowie, but at last night’s show, he mentioned that he and his bandmates, all of whom considered Bowie a hero, had worked out a version of one of Bowie’s songs that gave them “some closure.” That cover was “I Can’t Give Everything Away,” one of the most resonant songs from Bowie’s 2016 goodbye album Blackstar. The Nine Inch Nails version of the song turned out to be a powerful combination of Blackstar’s expressionistic skronk and Nine Inch Nails’ arena catharsis. Check out a live video below.

Here’s a not-quite-as-good version of the video, which features Reznor’s introductory remarks:

And here’s the setlist for last night’s show, via Setlist.fm:

01 “Branches / Bones” (Live debut)
02 “Copy Of A”
03 “Less Than” (Live debut)
04 “March Of The Pigs”
05 “Piggy”
06 “The Frail”
07 “The Wretched”
08 “Closer” (with “The Only Time” snippet)
09 “Parasite” (How To Destroy Angels song) (with Mariqueen Maandig)
10 “Burn”
11 “Gave Up”
12 “I Can’t Give Everything Away” (David Bowie cover) (Farewell mix; live debut)
13 “The Lovers” (Live debut)
14 “Reptile”
15 “The Great Destroyer”
16 “Burning Bright (Field On Fire)” (Live debut)
17 “Survivalism”
18 “Wish”
19 “The Hand That Feeds”
20 “Head Like A Hole”
21 “Hurt” (Encore)

ADD VIOLENCE is out 7/21.