This past weekend, Nine Inch Nails performed in Las Vegas. During the concert, frontman Trent Reznor pulled out his phone and turned on FaceTime to chat with Andrew Youssef, a journalist/photographer that was recently told he has just a few weeks left. NIN then performed “In This Twilight”, which was dedicated to Youssef.
Youssef was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in 2011 and despite the best efforts of doctors, the battle seems to be lost. He has been a fan of NIN for many years and has tried to attend as many of their shows as possible. He purchased tickets to see NIN on their current tour in Los Angeles (November 8th) and Las Vegas (November 16th). While he made it to the former show he simply became too weak to attend the latter.
Reznor, who heard of Youssef’s journeys through the internet in August and quickly became friends with him. That is where he got Youssef’s number to dial him during the Vegas show, eliciting screams of support and chants of, “Andrew! Andrew!” from the crowd.
Below is video of the FaceTime event during the concert as well as an excerpt from Youssef’s blog, that chronicles his attendance at the band’s performance during the Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco this past summer.
Youssef’s account of NIN’s performance at Outside Lands Festival [Source]:
“My adrenaline levels soon would spike upon hearing the opening pulsating synthesizer notes of “Copy of A” from Nine Inch Nails. Bandleader Trent Reznor has mentioned that these Nine Inch Nails festival shows would be different from their fall arena tour which provided me with even more incentive to attend. I admittedly cheated and had watched their prior performance at Lollapalooza in order to study the light patterns and how they correlated with the songs in order to get the best photos as possible.
Since I was able to only shoot three songs, I made the most of my time by capturing twelve hundred images. Those songs went by in seconds as I ran back to meet up with a friend in order to take in the whole set. While I was tired from the activities of the day, I quickly forgot about the two heavy cameras I was carrying as well as anything related to my cancer as I was immersed in the moment. The crushing synthesizer bass line of “March Of The Pigs” transported me away as the eye popping visuals bombarded your senses.
I was holding back tears for “Something I Can Never Have”, as I so badly want to have my cancer cured. Even the bleak instrumental “Help Me I Am In Hell” resonated within me. The watershed moment came to me during “Head Like A Hole.” Reznor repeatedly chants “I’d rather die than give you control”. I was immediately overwhelmed with emotion and couldn’t hold back my tears as I’d rather die than give my cancer control.”
Youssef’s website chronicles his stories, blog posts, and photography. You can view it here.