Watch Nine Inch Nails Play LOST HIGHWAY’s “The Perfect Drug” Live For The First Time Ever
David Lynch's Lost Highway is notable for all kinds of reasons - a bizarro turn from an eyebrows-free Robert Blake; a switched-identities plot that, in retrospect, feels a bit like a precursor to Lynch's Mulholland Drive; the sight of Bill Pullman rocking out with a saxophone - but chief among them has to be its Trent Reznor-produced soundtrack, an absolute all-timer that features Nine Inch Nails rubbing shoulders with the likes of David Bowie, Angelo Badalamenti, Lou Reed, Marilyn Manson, and (checks notes) Smashing Pumpkins.
Reznor famously produced a new Nine Inch Nails track for that album, "The Perfect Drug", that went on to be a low-key hit for the group (it helped that the song's release was accompanied by a totally bananas music video from director Mark Romanek), and in the years since, NIN fans have often petitioned the band to play the song live on one of their many tours. It's never happened, but some of us never gave up hoping we'd hear it played on stage one day.
Last night, in Colorado, everyone at NIN's Red Rocks show finally got their wish.
For anyone who's not a NIN fan or a Lost Highway scholar, the historical significance of the above is probably unclear. This is a song Reznor himself has all but disowned, calling it "the least thing...I would play to somebody if they said play me, y’know, the top hundred songs you’ve written". Listen to the original version, and it's clear the track would also be enormously complicated to execute in a live setting, particularly the back third of the tune. In between one thing and another, its exclusion from NIN set lists over the past two decades isn't all that surprising. What is surprising is that they finally pulled it outta storage and made it happen.
Nine Inch Nails' Cold And Black tour is ongoing, and is by all accounts one of their best in years. I'll be catching the show in DC in a few weeks (along with BMD contributor Emily Sears!) and will be sure to report back with my findings. They really seem to be pulling out all the stops on this one.