Filmed during a particularly productive period in Trent Reznor's career, "Beside You In Time" is Nine Inch Nails in its leanest and meanest state. Culled from footage shot during the band's 2006 winter tour in support of the "With Teeth" album, the hour and a half set is as heavy on the hits as it is on intoxicating imagery and unmatched intensity. Truly, the intention is to capture lightning in a bottle -- a band firing on all cylinders with an amazing stage show to boot -- and to that end, it is a smashing success.
More than anything, though, "Beside You In Time" is a rarity amongst concert videos in that it is just about flawless in its presentation. Somehow, the chaos of a Nine Inch Nails show translates well onto the home video format, placing you front and center with the band. Not only does it look good, but it also sounds phenomenal as well. You could close your eyes and enjoy the performances just as well. Each and every band member is heard loud and clear, unveiling new parts to well-worn songs and bringing much of "With Teeth" to life with appropriate bite and intensity.
Of course, it would be cutting the production short without mentioning the professionalism and unbridled enthusiasm from a clean and sober Reznor. Plowing through the set with vigor and intensity, the frontman is in the best shape of his career here. Perhaps inspired by the energy of his all-star bandmates in Josh Freese, Aaron North, Jeordie White (aka Twiggy Ramirez) and Alessandro Cortini, there is never a moment where you feel he is going through the motions, even as he makes his way through the admittedly over-played "Closer" and "Head Like a Hole." Likewise, performances of the likes of "Hurt" and the under-rated "Right Where It Belongs" give the impression that there is just as much passion and emotion put into these performances as ever before.
As if the concert footage isn't enough (it really is), there's a number of special features to dig through as well. First off, there's hand-held footage of five songs from the following summer tour which features a different stage set-up as well as a few lesser heard numbers such as "Somewhat Damaged" and "Non-Entity." Next, there are three performance videos pulled from a 2005 rehearsal set that recalls the spontaneous insanity of the "March of the Pigs" video, showing the band is as intense with or without a big production to back them up. Rounding out the video footage are two music videos: "The Hand That Feeds" and "Only." The latter being directed by David Fincher (who incidentally helped Trent work his way to an Oscar) is certainly worth having just for posterity's sake as it is by far and away one of the cooler videos of the '00s. Finally we have a discography section and a comprehensive photo gallery, which leaves us at just about everything but the kitchen sink.
While it's true that seeing the band in the flesh would be ideal, "Beside You In Time" offers the next best thing. Since Nine Inch Nails currently remains dormant (though Reznor promises he has time penciled in for 2012 to resume work on new material), this snapshot of the band is a great way to relive the glory of one of rock's most creative and intense voices. Not only is it head and shoulders above most concert videos, but it more than lives up to the high standards set by Reznor's studio work. Your Nine Inch Nails collection simply is not complete without it.
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