“Happiness In Slavery,” a single from the 1992 EP Broken, remains one of the heaviest songs in the Nine Inch Nails oeuvre. Its torture-centric video was famously banned by MTV. Trent Reznor used the song to end his set at Woodstock ’94, and when that live version was included on a compilation album, he won a Best Metal Performance Grammy for it. But up until last night, if Setlist.fm is to be believed, Nine Inch Nails hadn’t played that song live since a December 1995 show at an Orlando club called the Edge.
Who knows why Reznor stopped playing “Happiness In Slavery”? Maybe he decided that its central metaphor wasn’t that cool. Maybe he was trying to get away from the thrashing industrial sound and into something more nuanced. Maybe he was just sick of it. But last night, when Nine Inch Nails started a new American leg of their tour at Phoenix’s Comerica Theatre, they brought it back.
At last night’s Nine Inch Nails show, they reportedly gave their first-ever full performance of the Broken EP, including a bunch of other songs that they hadn’t played in recent years. On top of that, they played “This Isn’t The Place,” from last year’s Add Violence EP, for the first time ever live. They played “Suck,” a Reznor-featuring 1991 track from the industrial supergroup Pigface, for the first time in five years. (Maybe Reznor is back on his industrial shit these days.) “Happiness In Slavery” sounded huge. Watch a fan-made video below.
It might be time for us all to listen to Broken again for the first time in a while and really just piss off all of our neighbors.