Inch Nails - Live:
And All That Could Have Been
- Nothing Records (Interscope)
by Matt Rowe of The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
85 mins, NR, full frame (1:33:1), 2 single-sided, dual-layered
discs, custom packaging with slipcase, audio commentary with Bill
Viola, photo gallery, multiple angle feature for 3 songs, Easter
eggs, animated program themed menu screens with music, song
selection (19 chapters - see track listing below),
languages: English (DD 5.1 & 2.0), subtitles: none
Reznor brought industrial music to the forefront, popularizing the
style as none before him have been able to do. Reznor's fame grew,
enhanced by his ability to burrow into the psyche of all that is
dark and frightening, and soon his creative music was found in video
games and movies as well as his own releases. Each successive year
brought deeper forays into the fashioning of industrial music as an
accepted form of art. Acknowledged by their fans as the spokesman of
their innermost and deeply hidden thoughts, Nine Inch Nails have
come to be the white noise of dark humanity. Trent Reznor's lyrics
explore the finality of acceptance, arriving at the ability to exist
at a level of discontent that destroys but also satisfies in its
capacity to just be.
But Nine Inch Nails concerts are an event. They attempt the
impossible in that they must hold as true to the studio releases as
can be accomplished. For you see, NIN sounds are as important to the
experience of Reznor's dark imaginings as air is to breathe. The
purpose of every note and every sound is to effectively convey a
sickness, disgust and a depression; thumbs pushed into the eyes of
life. They set the pace and mood; they orchestrate the muddle of
discontent. But replication is a disintegrating affair. This DVD
coincides with the release of its CD counterpart and fares much
better. It is very difficult to reproduce the studio releases in a
concert setting without being in attendance. Being there allows you
to become a part of the occurrence. But how does one get involved at
home with a CD, a DVD? It's tough, yes. But impossible? Nope.
The concert film, NIN Live: And All That
Could Have Been, is Nine Inch Nails in all of their
decadent glory, culled from various shows on their Fragility 2.0
tour. From the opening guitar crunches of Terrible
Lie, with the lights in sync, the concert is a foray into
scrambled brain circuitry; exactly the desired effect. There is
unrelenting force, crazed by loud industrial strength mania. It's
evident by the uncontrolled energies of the band; adrenaline fueled,
running around the stage as if the tentacles of insanity have fixed
their hooks securely. You watch as members of the band lose
themselves; a keyboard spins helplessly away from the keyboardist,
the guitarists undulate with the ambience: all this by the fourth
As far as concerts go, this is frenetic. The lighting is
spectacularly alternated with strobe effects. Nothing is spare here.
Lights are used to create every mood, utilizing a wide range of
coloring including the blackness of night to enhance the settings.
And it all works. It works so amazingly well that it brings you to a
depressing realization; you ain't there. And that's where this DVD
suffers. Many concert films allow you to sit back and enjoy the
event in your own perspective. But not this one, not NIN. The
energies displayed here grip you and slap you, reminding you that
there was, once upon a time, a better place to be. You either were
there, and are now lost in nostalgia, or you weren't and you're now
enveloped in a sense of loss. But don't let that distract you from
the nuclear strength of this DVD. It's a journey, a frayed wire
snapping with roguish liveliness; hopping around threatening
contact. Grasp that wire and go with the flow of the electrical
juice that resonates through this DVD.
The DVD, spread over two discs, gives NIN fans much in the way of
concert footage. Crammed with great songs (and some glaring
omissions), this live set captures performances from their Fragility
2.0 tour. The tour ran through 43 dates, a long haul by any stretch,
so one can imagine the hours of recorded material (digital, not
film) that had to be sifted through and edited. But, the selections
are great nevertheless - 18 songs that run through their career
span. The excellent musicians, including the lyrical and vocal
genius of Reznor, create the unit that triumphs on this visual
feast. Guitars by Robin Finck, bass from Danny Lohner, drums
expertly handled by Jerome Dillon and maniacal keyboards by Charlie
Clouser... a great band.
From a video perspective, this disc nails the colors dead on; it
has to, given the colorful spread of lighting that is used. These
colors are vibrant and bring out the eerie qualities that surround
NIN. The blacks are deep and render those effects well. There are
some fuzzy, out of focus moments on the disc, but they are easily
dismissed because they serve to add atmosphere to the nature of NIN.
There are also backdrops utilized by the band to further their
music. Those backdrops, colorful video noise on huge screens (light
panels), also work well. The disc features its video only in full
frame format only, but it doesn't suffer because of that. The audio
is available in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo mixes. Note
that you can buy a version of the disc with a DTS mix as well. Every
channel is well used, whichever option you choose. You will be
highly satisfied with what you're given sound-wise.
There are some extras on the disc, but not a lot. The standard
stills that usually accompany discs such as these are plentiful
here. I lost count after a hundred, but if stills are your thing,
you won't be disappointed in this respect. There's also a multiple
angle feature on three songs (La Mer,
The Great Below and The
Mark Has Been Made) that allow you the view of a single
camera, unmoving, throughout those songs. There is an audio
commentary, 16 minutes in length, by Bill Viola that discusses the
video sequences (the screens talked about earlier) that were created
for the performance. The commentary also addresses the usage of
water and storm imagery to enhance the strength of the performances.
The commentary, short thought it is, is a fascinating look at how
artists go the extra mile to produce a thrilling ride.
The discs also offer a video and audio "optimization"
utility. There is a standard song selection menu (with the
performances on the 'other' disc grayed out), and a main menu option
to turn song titles on so that, before every song, the title is
displayed. All this, packaged in a nice tri-fold digipak, encased in
a sturdy slipcase AND including a clear plastic bookmark with notes
by Trent (as well as an order form for a special edition CD with
remixed versions of NIN songs and some unreleased new ones, ten in
Not done yet - there are also some cool Easter eggs on this set.
The eggs are very hard to find. I had to dig around on NIN
newsgroups to get them all. I include them here for your enjoyment
but warn you that they may be a bit frustrating. Some require
perfect timing. But I can guarantee you that it IS worth the time
and effort on your part, as you'll be richly rewarded with more
concert segments and a cool surprise featuring Marilyn Manson.
A very cool version of Gave Up
(performed outside with the band in the center of a stunning sunset)
is accessed by advancing to the Gave Up
selection on Disc One, waiting for 10 seconds, then pressing "enter".
You will know you got it right by the obvious sunset behind the
band. The second egg features a live version of Reptile,
and is accessed by advancing to the Suck
selection on Disc Two and waiting for the time counter (has to be
precise) to approach 1:06 into the song - then press "up",
then "enter". Next up is a video production of The
Day The World Went Away, found by switching to Just
Like You Imagined on Disc Two, then (right away) pressing
"left", "right", "down", "up"
and then "enter". If you want to see an ultra cool pairing
with Marilyn Manson and NIN (I'll keep the song a secret) do the
following: skip to Starfuckers, Inc.
on Disc Two and wait until the slow part of the song commences. Once
this occurs, start pressing "enter" repeatedly until the
Manson piece begins. You'll know that you're there when the video
stops and begins anew. Be patient on this one - keep pressing "enter"
as long as it takes, as this is one sequence not to be missed.
Another egg, this one featuring a commercial, is arrived at by going
to the Supplemental Content menu on the Disc Two and highlighting
the Main Menu (without pressing "enter", just
highlighting) THEN press "left", "up", and then "enter".
Still with me? Now, the hardest one of the Easter eggs produces the
easiest way to view all of the above-mentioned Easter egg materials.
This is known as the Beneath the Surface
menu, where you can easily access all of the goodies I just
mentioned. And here's how you do it. Skip to Head
Like a Hole on Disc Two and wait until the time on your
player reaches 11:19 (This is absolute. Any other time will just
produce a skip ahead to chapter seven. You don't want that) and then
press "7" several times and then "enter" or "play",
whichever works. Experiment with that one. You'll know you did it
because a new menu appears with all the selections of the hidden
material available for your perusal.
If you're a fan, you will not be disappointed in the purchase of
this DVD set. The only viable upset that you'll experience is that
of not actually being there (but you should get over that soon
enough). And in the words of Trent, "Now, don't that make you
Track Listing (Disc One):
March of the Pigs
The Great Below
The Mark Has Been Made
Track Listing (Disc Two):
Head Like a Hole
Just Like You Imagined
Inch Nails - Live (Dolby Digital)
Inch Nails - Live (DTS)