Nine Inch Nails Review

may 10, 2002

nine inch nails – and all that could have been – DVD and limited edition CD
nine inch nails mastermind Trent Reznor has never been known for releasing projects quickly. And he’s never been known for releasing unacceptable product. Once again he doesn’t disappoint.
The new live DVD and CD set “and all that could have been” is a trip through 2000s Fragility Tour 2.0 of North America and Canada. Recorded over various dates on the tour, (and taking entirely too long to release) “and all…” is a stellar picture of what the critically acclaimed live show was about.
NIN opens up with the hard hitting “terrible lie” from 1989’s Pretty Hate Machine, and follows it with the ever favorite “sin”. They delve through tracks off The Downward Spiral before jumping into new tracks, and then back in time to visit the Broken EP.
Always the perfectionist, Trent Reznor takes the audience through an emotional roller coaster enhanced by the use of smoke, LCD panels for ambient lighting, as well as brilliant moving imagery as can be seen on the DVD. Emotional highs are contrasted by quiet calm, then elevate into a frenzy again. Beautiful instrumentals such as “the mark has been made” and “complication” (on the DVD only) are interspersed among the vocal tracks, and create an atmosphere that is unusual for a rock show, especially nine inch nails.
But don’t let that fool you. As can be seen on the DVD, there was plenty of destruction on stage, and plenty of mayhem in the audience. NIN closes the set with the crowd-pleasing “closer” and “head like a hole” while Reznor proceeds to smash apart a keyboard with the microphone stand. The emotional climax comes during the encore, as the band closes the show with “hurt”. An incredible song that can tug at the strings of the hardest heart, it’s not the lyrics that bring tears to the eye. As the DVD pans across the front of the audience, it’s the ability that Trent Reznor has to make everyone feel what he feels…it’s seeing men and women in the audience crying, singing along, eyes closed, that adds to the brilliance of the song. It’s not often that a person can elicit that kind of emotion in that big of a group of people. Incredible.
Highlights of the CD and DVD include “the frail”/”the wretched” couplet, “la mer”/”the great below”/”the mark has been made” on the DVD, and of course, the closing “hurt”. Another fine Trent Reznor product.
The limited edition CD of “and all…” contains a 2nd companion disc entitled “Still” (also available for purchase on Reznor has described the disc as a good CD for a rainy day. While playing around with different interpretations and acoustic workups of old songs during the tour, he produced the disc to showcase some of what he had been working on. “Still” contains broken-down acoustic versions of classic NIN tracks “something I can never have”, “the fragile”, “the becoming” and “the day the world went away” complimented by new instrumentals, and the incredible new vocal track that gave the CD set it’s name. The song “and all that could have been” is an out-take from The Fragile sessions that was too good to be ignored. While it didn’t fit in with the flow of The Fragile 2-disc set it fits perfectly on “Still”. The instrumentals are beautiful works of art, reflecting Reznor’s classical training. My personal opinion on the disc is that it is the greatest CD ever made. It’s absolutely beautiful.