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Music DVD Review: Nine Inch Nails Live – Beside You in Time

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The new DVD, Live: Beside You in Time, from Nine Inch Nails mysteriously arrived in my mailbox the other day, much to my surprise. I know I tried to request a review copy but I’m pretty sure that my request was sent to a general “catch-all” e-mail address and I sure as hell never got a response from anybody.

To add to the mystery, the DVD has no markings on it, part of their anti-piracy attempts I assume, and the only reason I knew it was a NIN DVD was the sticker that came with it. There was nothing else in the plain manila envelope and the return address has some random name on it that turned up nada on a Google search; I can’t help but wonder who sent it. This is a prime example of the paranoia currently rampant in the music industry about protecting its precious booty from the hands of pirates. Then again that paranoia seems to have made them worried enough about the sales figures for this DVD that they made sure I got a copy. Go figure.

It’s fitting though, because that’s what I like about NIN anyway, the mystery. I am not a fan of industrial music, but Trent Reznor has that something extra that makes his music stand out. I don’t know what it is — maybe his dark sarcasm or the fact that he comes up with most of his tunes himself, but I like it enough to only occasionally refer to the band as Nauseating Industrial Noise.

That said, I didn’t buy NIN’s last album With Teeth (yes, I’m part of why music sales are taking a dump, and proudly so) and I have to say that all the “new” songs from that album included on the DVD, like the opening track “Love is Not Enough,” kick ass; so much so that I might just break down and by the album. Take note of this, you music industry pigs — being nice to us lonely journalists pays off, sometimes literally.

Of course the DVD contains a wealth of other, older NIN gems like “March of the Pigs,” “Head Like a Hole” and the song “Hurt” that was covered so beautifully by the late Johnny Cash. The DVD also contains a bunch of features including videos for the songs “The Hand That Feeds” and “Only,” along with some rehearsal footage.

Visually the filming is well done, capturing the mood-setting tone of the live NIN experience. All in all, this concert film holds up much better that the last live DVD NIN put out, All That Could Have Been, mainly because, for whatever reason, you can tell that Reznor and the band are in a much better head-space than they were on the previous tour.

The whole show is more upbeat and that makes the slower tracks like “Something I Can Never Have” stand out all the better. Besides being a great concert film in general, the DVD is a great appetizer for the new NIN album Year Zero that is coming out on April 17. If you are a fan of NIN I suggest that you grab this DVD when it is released on February 27.

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