VHS / DVD Image Special – Closure, by Nine Inch Nails

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Released November 25, 1997

DVD torrents leaked December 20, 2006

Main feature approx. 1 hr, 13 min

By 1997, Nine Inch Nails had solidified themselves as an incredibly successful musical act, both in the studio and in a live setting. The band’s reputation for destruction and chaos in live shows was well-known and beloved, being an appropriate complement to their music. As such, demand for a live video was pretty high.

Closure is not a live video, not in the traditional sense. It functions more as a tour document than anything else, with extensive backstage segments mixed in with live performances from all across the Self-Destruct tour, including the 1995 Dissonance tour with David Bowie. There are rumors and unconfirmed reports that Closure was initially meant to be a standard live document of the Self-Destruct tour, with a full show recorded and edited for release, but the idea was scrapped in favor of the final product, and the show footage has never been released; it may not even exist.

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Reflecting the chaotic nature of the tour, Closure is filmed on low-resolution, low-quality cameras, fuzzy and blurry, often intercut and interrupted by static, with hard cuts between shots that make for a rough viewing experience. The effect is furthered by the fact that it was initially released on VHS, a medium that can easily degrade in quality over time, the more it is played. Closure plays into this with how it intercuts its scenes, with intentional bursts of static and transitions that give the appearance of a film reel.

What Closure also does, however, is serve as a collection of Nine Inch Nails music videos, from the “Down In It” video all the way through “The Perfect Drug,” in order of initial release, with the videos for “Eraser,” “Hurt,” and “Wish” being live renditions from the Self-Destruct tour. In an era before widespread use of the Internet, a video compilation of this kind was incredibly useful for fans.

Closure‘s VHS format, however, made it obsolete rather quickly following its release, especially considering that And All That Could Have Been, released just five years later, was released on DVD. A DVD version of Closure was announced for a 2004 release, in the same year as The Downward Spiral‘s tenth anniversary; unfortunately, because of problems between Trent Reznor and Interscope Records, the DVD set was delayed indefinitely, essentially dooming it to never seeing the light of day. In its place, an unofficial DVD conversion of both halves of Closure circulated around the Internet for several years, offering a basic set of DVD menus and not much else.

In late 2006, a Pirate Bay user under the name “seed00” posted their own DVD version of Closure, separated into two dual-layer DVD images (one as an .ISO file, one as an .IMG file) in two torrent files. Purported to be a leaked version of what would have been released in 2004, both discs featured extensive bonus features confirming their authenticity. The most notable of this footage is a 44-minute compilation of “newly discovered footage” entitled “Appendage,” which includes live footage of songs not found on the main release, along various media clips from the era and further behind-the-scenes footage. The second disc includes an extensive behind-the-scenes feature about the making of the “Closer” music video.

seed00 is generally agreed to be Reznor, as it is highly unlikely that someone would have been able to acquire the raw DVD images of Closure and Broken, which was also released by the leaker. Though legal issues prevent Reznor from properly acknowledging that he leaked the two DVDs, he did make a post on the official Nine Inch Nails website on December 21, a day after the release of the DVDs, implying that the leaks were a “guilt-free download” for the holidays. He reinforced this in an interview a few years later, noting that now that the leaked DVD files were available, the official release was no longer necessary.

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Closure‘s hybrid nature has made it a bit of an anomaly in the Nine Inch Nails canon, not wiling to fully commit to either being a live release or a tour documentary, straddling the line between the two, while the 2006 version’s Appendage add-on only adds to both sides as opposed to shifting the balance. The second half’s video compilation has lost some of its usefulness when every Nine Inch Nails video is instantly accessible through their Vimeo and YouTube pages, but it was good for the purpose it served when it was released. Overall, Closure remains the best document of the Self-Destruct tours, retaining a legacy comparable to the tour it covers.

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