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View Full Version : Dorky Question - First Show - Rail or Further Back?



RGM81
10-22-2013, 12:17 AM
OK so there's still a month until the NIN show in Vancouver but the anticipation is really hitting me that after 13 years of listening to this amazing music I'm actually going to experience it live for the very first time.

Now, I've been reading the setlists and watching a few clips here and there, and so I have "an idea" of what things are going to be like and this is my dilemma...

Nearly every concert I have ever been to I have been at the rail. Pretty much always. Metallica 9/9 times on the rail. Numerous others. I think the only times I wasn't on the rail was for shows with assigned seats on the floor. I love the feeling of being as close as possible and taking in the show from that perspective.

But with all the visuals and the cool stuff going on at this tour, a part of me feels like I want to be back a bit to get that full visual effect. That's one of the most amazing things about watching all the DVD's and YouTube footage of NIN--you get to see just how much is going on and you get to see all of it.

But I want to be right up there - I want to take advantage of that early entry that the nin.com ticket holders get. I want a crack at a setlist. I want a piece of the action. I want to watch it go down.

I suppose I could have made it easier on myself and got tickets to two shows, eh?

So yeah, what would you guys do if it was your first time?

sick among the pure
10-22-2013, 08:50 AM
Don't pick based on "can I get a setlist/pick/drumstick/water bottle/etc" because you're just going to be disappointed when some crazy person tackles you and rips it out of your hand after catching it. Out of my 11 shows on the rail, I have one setlist to show for it, and that's from a festival.

The choice really comes down to this: would you rather see everything, or be close to the band? Oh, and do you want to be in line since early morning (if you want to be in front of Trent and on the rail, be in line by 7am at the latest. If you're ok with being off to either side, you have till 11am to get in line. I've gotten in line at 1pm and been number 18 in line, but nobody showed up that day until like 5).
So, if it's worth it to you to sit in line for that long, to be physically close to the band, then go for it. If it's not worth it to you, or you care more about seeing the entire visual experience, hold back.


My first show experience I wouldn't trade for anything, it was hands-down the best experience of my life. But since that has no bearing on what your experience will be, so there's no point in really saying what I would do in your position.

Either way, you're going to have a great time. Everyone puts on an amazing show, you're going to love it no matter where you are.

frankie teardrop
10-22-2013, 10:49 AM
i've only gotten a drumstick (in toronto, just a few weeks ago). i wasn't on rail at all, in fact i stood by the soundboard. we went up to see if there was anyone we knew hanging around when a stick went flying in my direction. ex-hockey goalie skills paid off dearly. i've spent a few shows on the rail otherwise and have nothing to show for it, so don't get those hopes up. but being on the rail is a really fun experience if you put in the time. i was on the rail for webster and robin fell directly on me during 'march of the pigs'--- exhilarating.

anyway...if you don't have the time/patience for the rail (people tend to line up as early as 8-11am, depending on the city) then you'd be better off securing a nice, peaceful spot by the soundboard. it's a bumpy ride on rail, but holding on makes for a mostly pleasant experience. being second or third row back is a bumpier ride, the surge is just as strong, but you don't have the luxury of holding on to stay in your spot or stand your ground, so you may wind up shuffling around a lot. i've found rail to be very comfortable, while it's always the shows where i'm a few folks back that i get the crap kicked out of me.

meanwhile, back by the soundboard is always pleasant. lots of personal space, great sound, and a solid viewpoint so long as you don't stand right behind tall people (usually any tall person ahead is too far up to really affect your view) or behind a sea of cell phones.


EDIT: m15a makes a good point. the rail sound definitely leaves a lot to be desired. i could barely hear the backup singers and general nuances when we were up close for montreal... every other show had better sound from different, further back vantage points...

m15a
10-22-2013, 10:54 AM
you already have GA nin.com presale tickets? tough call, honestly. this tour, i went to two shows, first rail (brooklyn) and then seated (newark). i preferred the setlist (slightly) on the first night, but other than that, i think i enjoyed the second night more. i'm very very happy i got to be at rail for one show, but i think if i only had to go to one show, i'd hang back. the issues with being so close up to me are the following:

- sound quality. i'm sure you already know about this from metallica, but the sound is just not the best up there. i definitely regret not wearing ear plugs (to prevent fatigue in addition to protection), but even with those, you miss some. this is particularly important for NIN this time around because there are 8 performers.

- visuals. they're great. and, to me, they add a lot to the show. maybe this is slightly beaten out by the visual effect of seeing the band up close, although remember that you'll have a tough time seeing everyone up close unless you are right in the center. the performers are all spread out. i was just a few people robin side and couldn't really see what josh and pino were doing. i bet you can find a good compromise if you hang back a bit. (i'd love to hear people's opinions on how far to hang back in GA, btw.)

- distractions. crowd surfers, people trying to push onto rail, etc. again, you know about that, but there's a lot going on stage here.

being not on rail but in presale also means you can stay up near the front at first, and then move back, later. i think for the first few songs, i'd definitely want to be up front. later on, it's mixed.

on the other hand, if you have nin.com tickets, this is a really nice tour to try to get rail for because they are handing out numbered wristbands and have everyone line up in order. say your early entry time is 6:15, you show up at 11 AM or so, hang out until 2 PM when they start handing out wristbands, and then leave and show up at 6 PM. they'll let you in, you can probably even go to the bathroom (best part of the deal IMO) and then go to your spot in line. you'll be in a pretty small group and everyone (fans and security) should be pretty calm and friendly.

Sandy Phimester
10-22-2013, 04:46 PM
I know it's not a lot by some standards but all through With Teeth and Lights in the Sky and around those tours I saw them live 7 times, for me it was a dream each time because they've been my favourite band since the mid 90s as a kid and now as a 30 year old...

Anyway, I had a mix of always being dead centre up front at the rail (nin.com pre-sale, hell yes) or getting killer seats (again, pre-sale)... my experience was always a bit different but I was glad I got a variety.

Yes, the stage show is amazing and you'll want to see it, but I found that I still got quite a good effect of the show from being up close, you can still see some stuff going on with the screens and lights. On the other hand I always loved having nice seats (I guess in this case it would be equivalent to having to stand at the soundboard).... it's a very different experience to be sure.


it depends, my very first NIN experience, funnily enough was also in Vancouver back in 05 I believe.... 06 maybe. can't recall. Anyway, it blew my mind. I was up front, and the second it started... Trent standing there.... I was beyond excited. I dunno, again, I'm going on two shows this tour, back to back two nights in a row.... one I have killer seats for and the other I have floor tickets... I'm still not decided, but I feel like I NEED (NEED!) to get up front again, that experience.... sure you can't see everything, but you're so close, it's incredible.


I know, I didn't make things any easier.... sorry.

theimage13
10-22-2013, 04:54 PM
Get as close as you can.

If you love it, stay. If you're curious about the other vantage point, go back. Easy enough.

Sandy Phimester
10-22-2013, 05:00 PM
Personally I think being up close and amongst all that awesome energy outweighs seeing the entire stage. But that's just me. More memorable. :)

If you can get a decent rail position... you're good. You'll never lose it, but being 2nd and 3rd back from the rail.... sucks. You get moved around a lot when all you wanna do is rock out and watch the show up close. No compromises. No matter what you should get a decent rail spot, all the Canadian shows I did (all 7 I saw) and lined up early or somewhat late... everyone that wanted good rail spots... got them. So... don't worry :)

ninsp
10-22-2013, 08:01 PM
Personally I think being up close and amongst all that awesome energy outweighs seeing the entire stage. But that's just me. More memorable. :)

If you can get a decent rail position... you're good. You'll never lose it, but being 2nd and 3rd back from the rail.... sucks. You get moved around a lot when all you wanna do is rock out and watch the show up close. No compromises. No matter what you should get a decent rail spot, all the Canadian shows I did (all 7 I saw) and lined up early or somewhat late... everyone that wanted good rail spots... got them. So... don't worry :)

I love the rail. That's why I'm doing both. Rail & seats.

k258
10-22-2013, 08:29 PM
My first show was in seats, way in the back of MSG. It hooked me on NIN shows. Spectacular. My second show was in presale seats, way up front. Not as good from the side. My third show was at the rail. I've shot for rail at all subsequent shows. I just did my 40th show, where I got my first drumsticks. Got my first set list at #39. Every time I say, "next time I'll hang back so I can see the show." Every time I get sucked back up front.

So here's the deal - if you don't do it now, you may never watch the show from the back. But, there is something really special about standing a Trent's feet. These days, there is barely a crush, hardly any surfers. Just make sure to bring earplugs. The rail holds lots of people. Even with number 17, I've been dead center. On weekdays, you can arrive early in the afternoon and still get a good rail spot. Get there well before noon on the weekend. One of the best parts of the day is getting to know the other people in line. Don't be shy. There's a good chance you'll meet again at other shows. And try to get to know the people around you at the rail. It makes the show more fun. And actually, dead center is not the greatest place to be. Trent's mic blocks his face.

Cat Mom
10-22-2013, 08:32 PM
I've done it all, prefer floor, farther back by the soundboard and I wade into the crowd when I feel like it. I'm short. I can see lots more of the overall "show" and visuals by the soundboard. I don't like being constantly squished by the rail.

redshoewearer
10-22-2013, 11:10 PM
I've only been in the pit once, and that was in Toronto in 09. We stayed at the back row of the pit against the back barrier - it was a small pit, so it still felt close but not in the crush. But OP, you've been on the rail for Metallica a bunch - I'm sure you'd like rail for NIN if you can get it. I think the fun of being close to the action outweighs the visuals sometimes. Depends on what you want from the show.

ManBurning
10-23-2013, 02:55 AM
Out of the 4 shows this tour that I got tickets to, i'm kinda disappointed I never took advantage of getting some amazing seats to be able to suck in the visuals. I'm on the floor for all of them. However, with that said...

If you are only attending 1 show, spend it on the rail/in the pit. That's what I have to say. I've been on the rail 3x for a NIN show, with the first being the [With_Teeth] Club show back in 2005 and it was probably the best NIN show out of 10 I have seen. That's partially due to the fact it was my first time seeing them and in such a small setting made it that much more memorable, but being right at the front seeing my favourite band being pressed again the rain with nobody in front of me to block my view was a very surreal and amazing experience.

So, in conclusion, if you're only going to 1 show this tour, and it's your first NIN show ever, spend it on the rail!

Ash512
10-23-2013, 06:54 AM
This tour is better experienced from the soundboard.
You won't be seeing the front screen at all from the rail, it's going to be like staring at a TV an inch away.

tony.parente
10-23-2013, 10:05 AM
I don't care what they do for visuals, rail 100% of the time all the time.
You'll understand when you're center rail during piggy and trent is singing "nothing can stop me now" over and over again with you staring into the whites of each others eyes.

Not trying to be creepy, but we stared at each other in st. louis and i may have shrieked like a 12 year old bieber fan.

Kiki2u
10-23-2013, 04:49 PM
I don't care what they do for visuals, rail 100% of the time all the time.
You'll understand when you're center rail during piggy and trent is singing "nothing can stop me now" over and over again with you staring into the whites of each others eyes.

Not trying to be creepy, but we stared at each other in st. louis and i may have shrieked like a 12 year old bieber fan.

Ditto.. (love catching Trent's stare..gets me every time. Last show I got the intense 'wide eyes-to-narrow-stare-right-through-you-thing' during The Wretched and I think I actually stopped breathing). There is nothing like rail at a NIN show..and if Trent jumps down into the crowd you will TOTALLY REGRET being in back.

brokenfragility
10-23-2013, 05:02 PM
I had seats for Tension, but I've been on the rail at a lot of NIN shows, its just hard to compare the experiences though. I enjoyed seats, although part of me missed the intense energy you get on the rail, its totally personal preference. If you can only see one show, get where you can take in the whole thing. Those visuals are killer.

icklekitty
10-24-2013, 06:48 AM
Go further back.

Go to your first show with lower expectations knowing you can make the next one better. Don't precede your first show with the stress of queueing (you might be hugely disappointed the second you get there), dealing with pushing and crowdsurfers, potentially dickhead security, and (depending on how it goes) the knowledge that if you don't match this your next show is going to be disappointing.

Also this is true:


Don't pick based on "can I get a setlist/pick/drumstick/water bottle/etc" because you're just going to be disappointed when some crazy person tackles you and rips it out of your hand after catching it. Out of my 11 shows on the rail, I have one setlist to show for it, and that's from a festival.


My first NIN show, I was just so happy that the band truly existed. Listening to the songs in my bedroom when nobody I knew had even heard of them, I thought I'd made the whole thing up.

rhet
10-24-2013, 07:51 AM
My first NIN show, I was just so happy that the band truly existed. Listening to the songs in my bedroom when nobody I knew had even heard of them, I thought I'd made the whole thing up.

I felt like that too at my first show..thats why I like to go to shows alone. It feels too personal to share those moments with people who don't feel the same as cheesy at it sounds.

I can't decide whether to go for the rail or seats for the tension dates either though..i keep thinking I could start at the rail and move back but I know once I'm there on the rail I won't want to give it up.

Cat Mom
10-24-2013, 08:35 AM
k258 says the crowds are less intense these days with less squishing and shoving so at least there's that.

When we saw NIN at Coachella in '05, we has been standing toward the back of the crowd through at least two prior bands. Just before NIN, we ended up about 3/4 into the crowd (via shoving and newcomers). When NIN hit the stage, I was actually - swear to God - picked up off my feet (by the suddenly-surging crowd) and moved forward ABOUT TWENTY FEET.

And it was kinda cool.

frankie teardrop
10-24-2013, 10:44 AM
sure, it's less intense than 1994/99/etc., but it's not the puppy bowl either. there were two separate mosh pits in newark. one in the middle and one right up front. and there's always a bro or two or ten that feel like punching/kicking his way up to try and steal your spot.

TheyCallMeDrug
10-24-2013, 04:26 PM
depends on what kind of show you want to see. up front will be people views and blinding lights but not as great of a view of the visuals as back near the soundboard.

this tour is unique with those moving led light squares. i was 3rd row one show and the visuals were still very effective, almost more 3-dimensional than when i stood farther back.

Halo Infinity
10-24-2013, 04:40 PM
This is just me, but I prefer to be a bit further back, but from the looks of it would like it if I were seated or standing on a higher platform. To me though, the best seats would obviously be the ones that are directly facing the front of the stage with in the closest rows. But yeah, it also depends on what you want. If you want the full blast of the show, the rail is the way to go.

I also saw Deftones and Killing Joke on the rail, and when it comes to standing, it's the best since I just leaned on it most of the time. I also saw Ministry on a rail, but it was further back from the front rail, and on a higher platform.

The Master
10-24-2013, 04:50 PM
I had seats for Tension, but I've been on the rail at a lot of NIN shows, its just hard to compare the experiences though. I enjoyed seats, although part of me missed the intense energy you get on the rail, its totally personal preference. If you can only see one show, get where you can take in the whole thing. Those visuals are killer.

Just do both. I guess depending on the venue some places won't really care if you casually move down to the floor. During the LITS tour I had seats all the way in the front rows in the back of the UCF Arena. Would have had GA tickets but my whiny ex gf didn't want to stand for the whole show. So towards the end I walked down to the floor. The crowd was so docile and entranced that I was able to politely make my way to about 3 or 4 people back from the rail. It was awesome to see Trent that up close again, especially during the end of In This Twilight. I hope to be able to gain access to the GA floor again. But my seats are in the 3rd row off to the side towards the stage, so either way I'm sure I'll enjoy the experience.

The Master
10-24-2013, 05:09 PM
I don't care what they do for visuals, rail 100% of the time all the time.
You'll understand when you're center rail during piggy and trent is singing "nothing can stop me now" over and over again with you staring into the whites of each others eyes.

Not trying to be creepy, but we stared at each other in st. louis and i may have shrieked like a 12 year old bieber fan.


I've had a similar experience. But this was at the urinal between songs with a stranger. Lmfao, jk.

Though it is pretty fucking awesome to make eye contact with Trent. I hold Trent Reznor in the same high regard as I do Michael Jordan and anyone that has ever played the role of The Doctor in Doctor Who. :D

RGM81
10-26-2013, 01:50 PM
Wow thanks everybody for all the feedback! I really do appreciate all of the responses!

I was talking about this earlier today with a friend that I'm going to the show with and we were both kinda half-and-half on what to do. It's great to be up close and take it all in from that angle, but with so many visuals there's lots that gets missed from that in-your-face perspective. We may start up front and gradually work back towards the soundboard.

k258
10-27-2013, 08:19 PM
Eye contact with Trent is pretty compelling, I must admit. He's overall not an interactive performer. He keeps to himself even while spilling his guts. He mostly looks over your head when he sings and to the side or the floor when he's not. If you are lucky enough to catch his eye, it's special. And it keeps you coming back for more. Like a moth to a flame. Watch out, it's addictive!

LexTron6K
11-02-2013, 02:42 AM
Whatever you do, know that you're getting an incredible show.

Myself, I showed up at 1:00 AM (first in line) to be at the rail for the St Paul show, the first show of the Tension Tour. It was completely worth it, and I wouldn't have done it any other way. While this was my 6th NIN show it was my first show spent with every intent at being at the rail, front and center. I saw shit up front that I never would've seen otherwise, such as Trent looking me in the eye between us both rocking the fuck out for instance. But I went to the rail knowing that I'd miss the majority of the larger scale visuals. I've seen shit on film that blew my fucking mind, but that I simply couldn't see while being that close.

My two cents: you can always go back and watch youtube vids to catch up on the visuals, but you'll never be able to go back and have eye-contact moments with Trent and the rest of the band or actually hear Trent's voice from his throat in person. Yeah, when you're at the rail you can actually hear the shit from the person. It's incredible.

This was me and my folk:

http://erikhess.com/Clients/nin-headbang.gif

gorny540
11-02-2013, 08:46 PM
The answer is rail or the back by the soundboard. Both spots have their perks, but there is nothing worse than being caught somewhere in the middle and off to the side.

FernandoDante
11-02-2013, 11:14 PM
A question to all the people who show up really early: how do you go to the bathroom and maintain your spot?

m15a
11-03-2013, 01:07 AM
A question to all the people who show up really early: how do you go to the bathroom and maintain your spot?
The people before and after you would usually save your spot if you ask. Also, if you have nin.com pre sale tickets, they hand out numbered wristbands in the afternoon and line you up in order, so you're free to go whenever.

FernandoDante
11-03-2013, 01:18 AM
The people before and after you would usually save your spot if you ask. Also, if you have nin.com pre sale tickets, they hand out numbered wristbands in the afternoon and line you up in order, so you're free to go whenever.
I didn't know about the NIN.com wristbands. Too bad most of that doesn't apply to festivals.

maryelle
11-04-2013, 08:33 AM
The difference between rail and farther back is a million miles.

As others said, you can watch the visuals on video. There is nothing like the energy flow of being in the front and seeing them up close and hearing the vocals out of their own throats and not from the speakers. NOTHING.

I'd get rail and if you find it's too much, you can always move back.

Edit P.S.: Don’t try for rail because you think you’ll get some piece of memorabilia. I’ve been on the rail for 25 or 30 shows and have got Trent’s picks once; a setlist once; a tambourine once; and a water bottle once. Given that the last two were planned, in a manner of speaking, it took all those other shows (plus the other ones I wasn’t on the rail for, going back a loooong time) to get the first two things just by chance. It’s probably not going to happen so don’t plan your day on it.

Alvetica
11-04-2013, 09:28 AM
Do nin.com tickets guarantee rail?

maryelle
11-04-2013, 10:06 AM
Do nin.com tickets guarantee rail?

No, not at all. There is a very slightly earlier entrance for nin.com presale tickets but that won't help get rail - you have to line up early to get it, and then compete with all the other people who had presale tickets who also lined up early. The people who didn't have presale tickets really have no chance unless they fight their way up there and it's unlikely they'll ever get rail that way. They might get close but there's usually not room to get in there during the show, and those on the rail know they will have to work at staying in their rightfully earned place and don't take being pushed aside easily.

It's not for the faint-hearted but waiting in line itself can be fun, if you make it that way.

icklekitty
11-04-2013, 10:47 AM
Think about it; nin.com tickets would only guarantee the barrier if the width of the barrier took up 10% of the entire venue capacity.