Apr 26, 2023 - News

Greatest Cleveland concerts: No. 14 – Lollapalooza 1991

Trent Reznor gets down in it. Photo: Ebet Roberts/Redferns

Wild moshing, crowd surfing and fire pits. Blossom Music Center had never seen anything like Lollapalooza 1991.

Flashback: The first-of-its-kind touring rock festival was already halfway through its inaugural run when it descended upon Blossom Music Center on Aug. 5, 1991.

Why it matters: The concert would be a springboard for Nine Inch Nails, the industrial rock band Trent Reznor created in Cleveland that would go on to become one of the biggest bands of the 1990s.

What they're saying: "By the time we arrived in Cleveland, Nine Inch Nails had become the belle of the ball," the band's tour manager Mark O'Shea tells Axios.

  • "Our T-shirts were outselling everyone. MTV was following us around, and the popularity was exploding."

State of play: NIN took the stage at Blossom Music Center at 5pm, right after an intense performance by Ice-T's metal band Body Count.

  • Midway through NIN's set, Reznor invited fans on the lawn to rush the pavilion, packing the first five rows near the stage.

Meanwhile, Reznor brought members of Jane's Addiction on stage, further whipping the crowd into a frenzy.

  • The musicians leaped into the crowd during "Head Like a Hole," with NIN guitarist Richard Patrick re-emerging in just his underwear and combat boots.

The bottom line: Jane's Addiction, led by Lollapalooza creator Perry Farrell, closed out the night as fans lit fires inside garbage cans on the lawn and danced around them.

  • "That entire show was like throwing drops of water on grease in a frying pan," O'Shea says. "It was noise and chaos until the water finally ran dry."

Go Deeper: No. 15 – Michael Jackson's Bad Tour


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