Sunday Sesh: Live Treats


We’ve given extensive coverage to different live recordings of metal on this site. Whether it’s an excellent, surprise live album, professional footage from a special moment in time, or fan captured sets from one of the biggest fests in the world,  live rock and metal holds a special spark uniquely its own, one that draws us to press play and be mesmerized again and again by a live recording that doesn’t sound quite as polished or perfect as a studio offering. Today we’re sharing some of your favorite live footage.

I’ll be honest, I’m typically fairly disinclined to watch live footage of a band. Most of the time when someone sends me a video, it’s a crappy youtube rip that actually does whatever band is playing a disservice by obfuscating what may be a killer live track with audio artifacts. If it’s a good live recording, I usually prefer to just listen to it rather than watch it, as watching video requires a lot of time set aside that I may not have during the day; if I’m just listening, I can still read or work while getting a glimpse of that magic through my earbuds.

However, the other day I encountered a live recording of one of only two times that Nine Inch Nails played The Downward Sprial live in full, and I was compelled to sit down and *mostly* watch the whole thing with acute focus. This footage was compiled as part of the This One Is On Us project, a collaboration between fans, musicians, videographers, and sound engineers to document special shows and distribute them for free online. This recording of the NIN gig, and the similarly captured Another Version of the Truth, crowdsourced fan footage and professional shots to compile a multi-angle setlist that shows the band in perfect live shape. The youtube rip below is actually a DVD copy produced for free by TOIOU and NIN as a thank you letter to fans to document this historic show at Webster Hall in NYC.

The main reason why I love watching NIN live opposed to just streaming the songs is that Reznor always takes great care to rearrange the music he’s written for an album so that it can be reproduced in an energetic manner live. Throughout this recording I wanted to find out which songs Reznor would play guitar on, whether the drums would be pounding away the back beat of “Closer,” and how many gang vocals they’d be using. I was amazed to see Robin Finck pulling such a tortured riff out of an acoustic guitar on “The Becoming” and captivated by the sheer oppressive volume of “Big Man with a Gun.” I was not disappointed at all.

There have obviously been plenty of live metal shows that have also shined with this level of quality (I’m thinking of the Monsters of Rock in Moscow footage, for example), so that’s where you come in. Share some concert footage you love in the comments!

(Photo VIA)

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