1. During the encore of their Las Vegas concert on Nov. 16, Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor FaceTimed with a dying fan who was unable to make it to the show.
2. The fan on the other end of the phone, a concert photographer named Andrew Youssef, was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in 2011. For the past two years, he’s written about his battle with cancer in a weekly column for the OC Weekly.
3. In August, he wrote a poignant column about seeing his favorite band, Nine Inch Nails, perform in San Francisco:
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.
4. Bandleader Trent Reznor saw the column and reached out to Youssef on Twitter, inviting him to their show at the Troubadour in Los Angeles.
He then invited Youssef to watch the band’s week of rehearsals at the LA Sports Center. The two had lunch together every day.
5. In a column published Sept. 26, Andrew revealed that his doctors had recently given him a few weeks to months to live.
“Now I enter a different phase of my life where I need to enjoy my remaining time with my friends and family and make the rest of my life a celebration instead of a procession… I’ve been listening to a lot of Nine Inch Nails and one of my favorite songs is ‘In This Twilight’. Throughout my diagnosis, the meaning of a lot of the songs I like has changed drastically. This particular song resonates with me during the lyrics ‘As the time is running out.. Let me take away your doubt.. We can find a better place.. In this twilight.’”
6. Although Youssef was able to make the LA Nine Inch Nails show on Nov. 8, he was too ill to attend their Nov. 16, concert in Las Vegas. Before the show, Reznor tweeted this message to him.
Tonight’s show goes out to our FRIEND @Amateurchemist. Wish you were here, man.
@trent_reznor Completely humbled. I can’t thank you and @nineinchnails enough. I wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t for you.
9. And then, after the FaceTime call and the dedicated song, Youssef tweeted this from his hospital bed.
I’m speechless. Hope to see you @trent_reznor @nineinchnails soon.