Setlist History: Nine Inch Nails Live Debut "Hurt" in 1994

Legendary industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails have been relentlessly successful over the last three decades thanks to the never-ending creativity that is founding member Trent Reznor. Along with English musician Atticus Ross, Nine Inch Nails have left an outstanding mark on the music industry, especially with top-tier track "Hurt." While it is one of their most popular songs, its underlying themes have a more morbid conception.

For their second and third albums, Reznor developed concept albums derived from one of the recording studios used to create their beginning LPs. Reznor moved into the 10050 Cielo Drive residence in Beverly Hills in 1992, which is also the same house that a then pregnant-actress Sharon Tate along with four others were gruesomely murdered by members of the Manson Family in August 1969. The events undeniably sparked chilling themes throughout their third album, The Downward Spiral.

Nine Inch Nails Live via YouTube

Among the album tracks was "Hurt," which officially debuted during their Self Destruct Tour in 1994. During their stop in Tuscon, Arizona, the band live-debuted the track at the Buena Vista Theater within their six-song setlist. The setlist was also compiled of other tracks including "Terrible Lie," "Something I Can Never Have," and mega hit "March of the Pigs."

Check out the full setlist from Nine Inch Nails' performance at the Buena Vista Theater in Tucson, Arizona:

Nine Inch Nails Tucson, Arizona Setlist - 1994

While "Hurt" is originally Reznor's song, he would later agree for music legend Johnny Cash to cover the track as one of his final releases before his death in 2003. Although excited for someone as iconic as Cash to cover one of his songs, Reznor later explains he still gets teary eyed:

"I pop the video in, and wow … tears welling, silence, goosebumps. Wow. I felt like I just lost my girlfriend, because that song isn't mine anymore. It really made me think about how powerful music is as a medium and art form."

Johnny Cash's Cover of "Hurt"

"Hurt" ranks, to this day, as NIN's fifth most performed song on tour. Their 2018 tour, Cold and Black and Infinite, carried the song on the setlist for nearly every stop!

It also still gets covered by prominent musicians to this day - Mumford and Sons covered it on their 2019 tour in Reznor's hometown of Cleveland. Peter Murphy, David Bowie and Eddie Vedder have also covered the soulful tune.

Mumford and Sons cover "Hurt"

[Editor's note: This article was originally published in 2019]

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Last updated: 15 Jun 2024, 15:36 Etc/UTC