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DVD Review: Nine Inch Nails Live

"Beside You in Time"

By Brent Busby for The Western Courier - The Edge on March 23, 2007

Trent Reznor has often said that Nine Inch Nails consists of two entities: The first is Reznor alone in the studio, but the second, which is now referred to under the name Nine Inch Nails Live, is actually five members playing together.

In theory, Nine Inch Nails shouldn't be a great live band. Reznor's music sometimes consists of non-organic instruments thrown straight onto a computer, at times being twisted to the point of not even sounding like the original source.

In other instances, songs are composed of random noise. Somehow Nine Inch Nails manage to overcome the challenges and adapt excellently to a live environment. The new live DVD, "Beside You in Time," documents this ability very well.

One thing that might make Nine Inch Nails put on a great concert is the band's ability to adapt. Songs like "Closer" that have been in the band's catalog for over 10 years are changed to spice things up, with a new breakdown put into the middle of the song.

Luckily, the band also knows when to leave things alone; for example, the song "Head Like a Hole," for the most part, is a straight-up rendition of the album counterpart.

"Beside You In Time's" version of "Hurt" strips away the guitar and drums found on the studio version and has Reznor singing with just a piano, but none of the song's somber effect has been lost in the transition. Newer songs, such as "The Hand That Feeds," complete with its groovy bass line and electronic break, also transfer well live.

The album also documents the madness that takes place onstage. During one song, guitarist Aaron North jumps on top of a keyboard and stomps his feet, creating a horrific rhythm from the crushed keys.

In another song, Reznor interacts with a video by grabbing a mic stand and throwing it just in time to make it appear as if he smashed the screen. Later on, an amp makes its way offstage and the traditional guitar smashing ensues. There are plenty of extras on the disc as well.
Several songs off the summer leg of the With Teeth tour are available for viewing, as well as rehearsal versions of several songs. The David Fincher ("Fight Club," "Seven") directed music video to "Only" is also on the DVD for viewing.

While the Grammy-nominated song "Every Day is Exactly the Same" does not appear on the concert part of the disc, the song is available for watching as a rehearsal video. There are also plenty of stills available for viewing, but they will most likely be ignored.

"Beside You in Time" is not without its problems, however. During the chorus of "The Line Begins to Blur," the keyboardist manages to steal the moment and sing too high, overwhelming Reznor's vocals and ruining the coolest part in the track. Reznor's buzz cut is also not nearly as cool as his hair used to be.

Overall, "Beside You in Time" manages to beat out "And All That Could Have Been" as the best Nine Inch Nails Live DVD, and for half the price of the old DVD, is also the better deal.

-Brent Busby
edge staff

Transcribed by Lt. Randazzo

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