Another Version of the Truth [Las Vegas], by Nine Inch Nails

16-avottlasvegas

Unofficial live album

Release March 1, 2009

Approx. 2 hrs, 12 min

Another Version of the Truth feels a lot like And All That Could Have Been, with the audio from each show being released on their own. I wasn’t sure how to cover them – as a unit? Hold them all off for a Special? – but I’ve decided to cover each part separately. Today and tomorrow will be the two audio sections of the release, and then at some point in the future I’ll do an extensive article on the visual release, as well as more on what the hell Another Version of the Truth and This One is On Us really are.

For now, some light background: Another Version of the Truth is a fan-run project aiming to document the 2008 Lights in the Sky Tour, organized by the group This One is On Us, following the announcement that plans for an official document of the tour from the NIN camp had fallen through. Fans took it upon themselves to record the Las Vegas show – the last of the tour – using their own cameras and audio equipment, edit it themselves, and release it for free. The second half, entitled The Gift, has much different origins, which we’ll talk about tomorrow.

On March 1, 2009, while the video components were still being edited, This One is On Us released the audio for Las Vegas and The Gift. Las Vegas is sourced from a number of audio recordings, mixed and mastered to be as clear as possible, akin to an official release.

Reaching that exact level of clarity, of course, is impossible when working with audience-sourced audio, solely because of where those audience members are located. But the mixing job is truly incredible – the audio always sounds very clear, and the crowd never gets in the way of the music, save for one or two short moments in the entire album. In their desire to deliver a professional product, they certainly succeeded.

The show itself is fairly representative of the typical Lights in the Sky setlist – the band made sure to deliver a top tier performance for the last show of the iconic tour, delivering a proper send-off for the touring drummer and keyboardist, both of whom would be leaving the band following the show. The set opens with a string of tracks from new release The Slip, following that up with the usual setlist staples, “Closer,” “March of the Pigs,” etc. A brief electronic two-track interlude precedes a much larger tonal shift – a four-song mini-set incorporating tracks from and elements of Ghosts I-IV, NIN’s other 2008 release, preceding The Slip by two months. The band moves back into familiar territory here, bringing out more setlist staples to close out the main set. The final encore of the tour mostly features recent tracks from Year Zero and The Slip, and includes a speech from Trent discussing the band’s tour plans for 2009. The show ends with the two-pack introduced for this tour: iconic closer “Hurt,” followed by newcomer “In This Twilight,” featuring a gorgeous interpolation of the closing piano melody from Year Zero album closer “Zero-Sum.” As the outro moves along, each member of the band drops out, taking a bow, until there is only Trent left, playing the quiet piano melody to end the Lights in the Sky Tour, and that incarnation of Nine Inch Nails.

I was a Nine Inch Nails fan by the time this project got started, and I really enjoyed following it. The audio release was a big surprise when it happened, because there hadn’t been any indication that it would happen (and if there was, I certainly didn’t know) – both albums got a ton of play from me as I waited for the video release.

Of the two albums, I like listening to Vegas more, because it’s a complete show, as opposed to a composite, like The Gift is. The Gift, however, does have a bit more of a professional feel to it, which comes from the nature of its release, which we’ll get to tomorrow.

A note about the iTunes screenshot:

– Yes, it does say “Nine Inch Nails [Non-Halo].” This is another quirk of how I organize my library – most official Nine Inch Nails releases are given “Halo numbers,” which act as a sort of cataloguing system for the band. The way I organize my library, any release with a Halo number goes under the regular artist name, and any release that doesn’t have one, official or unofficial, goes under the “Non-Halo” category instead, because I don’t know. It looks better to me, and I’m sure it looks insane to anyone else. Whatever.

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