The concert was at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, NH.I'd never been there before, but it's a nice site in terms of amenities. There's a very large city parking garage just half a block away (65 Granite St., $20 for event parking) and the arena itself isn't so huge that you couldn't enjoy most concerts even from the far end of the place.
Seating charts: http://www.verizonwirelessarena.com/arena_info/charts.asp
I wouldn't go for the "upper balconies" (the 200s sections). Those are -very- high up, nosebleed height on the back rows, even if they're angled so steeply you'd still have a good line of sight. What looks like "lower balconies" (the 100s sections,on the seating charts) are in fact grandstand sections where the first rows are at floor level. These are also pretty steeply angled. I was in section 107, row C, seat 1, i.e. in the third row on the aisle next to section 106. Great seat! High enough up to see over the crowd and far enough down the side to enjoy the full effects of the light show. I'd say anything in the first 5-10 rows of 108 or 107 (maybe 109) would be a great seat for that side of the stage. (Note that both the section and seat numbering are clockwise around the arena.) As for other amenities, the restrooms are clean (or were at the start of the evening) and there are concession stands that serve real food (pizza, subs, hot dogs) as well as those serving beer & wine & pretzels.
I was still using the cane, so I bought a bottled water that I thought would be easy to manage, to stick in my coat pocket. Unfortunately it turned out they don't let you have the bottles for concerts and poured it out into a cup for me. Anyone know why? All I think of is that they're worried about people tossing full bottles at others, but at $3.50 each, I doubt that. If it's just about tossing water or the empty bottle, you could do that with a cup, too?
The NIN fans didn't look too much different from those at the KISS-108 concerts. A little more consistency in wearing black, and a few more punk and goth types. A couple of people with tinted high spikes of hair, at least one of whom was female, and yes, I'm sure, because she was in the slow line to enter. Pre-sale ticket holders were let in early but the line was still split into male/female for inspecting and patting-down. The guys' line went in quickly. The gals' line didn't, leaving us longer in the rain. I don't know if it was that we had more bags and such to check or if they just had fewer checkers, but it was definitely slower.
The opening act was Health. I'd heard they'd gotten booed in other places. I didn't hear any booing near me, but apparently they got booed in Manchester, too. After listening to their MySpace selections, my current notion is that they're not used to playing in large scale arenas and don't have their sound set up properly for them. I'd been told that earplugs were a good idea. Definitely needed them for Health and seriously thought about leaving. Didn't need them, didn't want them for NIN. There was a little bit of applause at the end, but the guy in front of me turned to a friend of his across the aisle and said, "Did you just say 'encore'? Do I have to come over and bitchslap you?" So, yeah, not generally liked. Much better on MySpace, where you can control the volume.
Irritating part of age and infirmity, mostly as the preview of what will come:
At the end of the concert, instead of going back up the long flight of steirs to the mezzanine level (which is even with the back entrance to the building but has stairs down to the front entrance), I went to join those on the main floor to head to a smaller set of stairs that led directly to the front lobby. A kindly female security person saw me with my cane and asked if I'd like to use the elevator. Sure! So she grabbed my elbow and almost literally pulled me along to a side corridor and to a back elevator, "helped" me in, and pressed a button, only then saying "You'll have to go to the mezzanine level and take the stairs down." Twice as many stairs down as the ones I'd been intending to go up. If I'd -really- needed the cane, I'd have taken the elevator back down, found the woman, and thumped some sense into her.
Amusing part of age and infirmity:
When I got to my car, I naturally queued up a bunch of NIN songs for the drive home. As I handed the parking attendant the ticket and a twenty, he laughed and said something. I turned the music down so he could repeat it: that until he'd caught the music, he wouldn't have charged me the concert rate, he wouldn't have thought I'd been. Ah well. Reznor's closer in age to me than to him, pfft!