The CRC Sessions: Live and Deconstructed in Chicago, by Nine Inch Nails


Recorded April 27, 2000

35 min, 57 sec

The CRC Sessions represent a strange show in the Nine Inch Nails live circuit. In 2000, during the Fragility 2.0 tour, the band made a stop at the Chicago Recording Company for a special, shortened performance in-studio. What made this show peculiar was that three of the songs played (“Something I Can Never Have,” “The Day the World Went Away,” and “Hurt”) were rearranged completely, performed in a new, stripped-down manner, distinctly different from what the band had been doing up to that point.

These stripped down, acoustic performances are said to for the basis for what would become Still in 2002; indeed, “Something I Can Never Have” is almost exactly like it is on Still here, though with an added acoustic guitar replicating the song’s harmony. “The Day the World Went Away” works in much of the same manner, mirroring the structure used in the Still version, which also happened to be how the song was played in a live setting on the Fragility tours, and is based on the “Quiet” remix of the song from The Day the World Went Away single. “Hurt,” played twice for some reason, in the same arrangement both times, would receive a variety of acoustic-style reinterpretations in successive tours, each a little different from the last. This one in particular is pretty gorgeous, with Robin Finck shifting around within the song’s melodic structure, adding notes where he sees fit to enhance the song.

Aside from the acoustic tracks, the rest of the set is all about promoting The Fragile, with setlist mainstays “Even Deeper,” “The Big Come Down,” and “The Fragile” rounding out the set. Even these tracks, bombastic and aggressive as they are, sound surprisingly intimate in the in-studio setting, each one followed by a smattering of claps once the track ends.

The CRC Sessions exists only on bootleg recordings – the most popular, which I have, is a soundboard recording, the highest quality of the show possible barring an official release. It’s strange that this didn’t see any sort of official release, given its immense unusual nature; perhaps Reznor already had the idea for Still in his mind, and did not want to release early versions of those reinterpretations before the final ones. In any case, it’s an interesting, if short, show for NIN fans to check out, particularly if they are interested in the softer, more acoustic side of Nine Inch Nails.


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