The Best Live Nine Inch Nails Songs

If you have been following this site from the beginning you may have noticed the amount of content that dedicates and mentions Bruce Springsteen. Take a look at every mention of Bruce Springsteen my co-writers have put on the site: Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here. You could almost conclude that this is a Springsteen fan site. Although I have no problem with this, I thought it was about time I sat down and made a list about my band of choice: Nine Inch Nails.

I’m not going to go into detail about my love of this band. You don’t need to hear about the reasons or the erection. I’ll leave out the Sin album cover lettering that is tattooed precariously close to my genitalia. I can tell you that I own physical copies of all of their releases (25+), a couple of vinyls, the special edition release of Ghosts and I have seen them Nine times in concert.

Unfortunately, In February 2009, stated that “I’ve been thinking for some time now it’s time to make NIN disappear for a while.” Reznor since clarified that he “isn’t done creating music under the moniker, but that Nine Inch Nails is done touring for the foreseeable future.” Hopefully, some of you have had the pleasure of seeing some of these songs live. For the others, you’ll have to use this list to give yourself musical blue balls until Reznor, possibly, comes back to tour.

For those of you that don’t know too much about Trent Reznor, here are a list of Reznor’s accomplishments in no particular order (followed by the list):

  • 25+ CD releases (original and remixes)
  • 2 DVD’s plus countless online video releases
  • The Soundtracks for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Social Network (Academy Award), Natural Born Kills & Lost Highway
  • Releases complete sound files for his music for fans to remix. Included fan made Year Zero remixes on Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D
  • Released The Slip for free in 2008.
  • Released 500 GB of raw sound and video footage for fans to whatever the hell they wanted with.
  • Quake  video game soundtrack
  • Collaborated w/ David Bowie, Dave Grohl, Marilyn Manson, Peter Murphy, Saul Williams, Maynard James Keenan and he also produced a remix of a Notorious B.I.G. song featuring Busta Rhymes.
  • Featured in trailers for 300, Terminator: Salvation, Red Riding Hood, The Avengers, Unbreakable and more.
  • Innovative concert lighting and video effects developed in part by Reznor.
  • Help to create an Alternate Reality Game for the release of Year Zero.
Year Zero

A spectrogram of the noise at the end of "My Violent Heart", one of the tracks on the USB drive found at a concert in Portugal



Recorded live at rehearsals in Los Angeles from a series of performances directed by Rob Sheridan, available on The Slip limited edition CD/DVD

Get Down Make Love


This appears on the Sin single and is a cover of a Queen song. It has been played live by most incarnations of the band at one point. According to an interview Trent Reznor did with Melody Maker magazine, “Get Down, Make Love” was supposed to be a “tongue-in-cheek” cover.

The song contains samples from “The Cabinet Of Caligari“, a 1962 psychological thriller, a pornographic film from Japan, and “We Will Rock You,” also by Queen.

Somewhat Damaged


Rob Sheridan, a staple in media releases for Nine Inch Nails, recorded several songs on stage with the band.



“Non-Entity” is a With Teeth b-side that Trent Reznor debuted on the MTV program ReactNOW! in an effort to support people displaced by Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005. This song was first played in the aforementioned program, and later became part of the set list on the Live: With Teeth tours.


This track is off their most known album, The Downward Spiral. It will also rape your face in a live setting. This song is 4:00 minutes of build up into fist thrusts and crowd screams of

Need you.
Dream you.
Find you.
Taste you.
Fuck you.
Use you.
Scar you.
Break you.
Lose me.
Hate me.
Smash me.
Erase me.

The Great Destroyer


The only song off of Year Zero on the list and mind fuckingly good live. The second section of this song is the sweet part, which features much louder beat loops that were heard earlier underneath the verses and choruses as they are manipulated, crunched, and destroyed. By the end its beats have been so mashed that the decaying delay effect sounds nothing like anything else in the song.

Make sure you watch this video. You can start it at 1:49 if you don’t feel like watching all of it. The second part needs to be seen.

The Big Comedown


This is the second song off of The Fragile on this list. This one comes the “Right Side” of the disc, while Somewhat Damaged comes off the “Left Side.” This is also on a list of NIN songs that sounds better live than on the album. Take note the acoustic guitar in the original album version is replaced with a moderately distorted guitar.

Reznor is highly energetic in this particular performance of the song. Watch him hump the air.

Closer (w/ The Only Time)


After seeing this song numerous time in concert, it got kind of old. Not to mention, it was their biggest single. Which means everyone cheered when it came on and sang along in an annoying fashion. Around 2008, Reznor and friends added a piece of the song The Only Time off of Pretty Hate Machine to the middle of the song. It was amazing.

Terrible Lie


The second track from the album Pretty Hate Machine, its intro beat bleeds in from the outro of “Head Like A Hole” and pops up occasionally throughout the song. This is definitely a song that Reznor enjoys playing the most live. He enjoyed it so much one time that he jumped through the drum set. Not to be out down by Reznor, the guitarist, be it Aaron North or Finck, always adds their own taste of destruction.


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Categories: Music

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