Just to start off, it was a surreal experience. I have been running the archive for almost 10 years (coming up on December 31st) and not that I feel entitled (because I am not) but it’s ironic that I run this site that is all about NIN’s live performances. But have never met them before. I’ve never tried to put myself out there before in this regard. I have done a few things for the band over the years and we also filmed their side project for HTDA in Chicago. That would have been the best time to ask if everyone filming the show could meet the band. But, I didn’t want to push my luck and thought just getting permission to tape the show by the band was enough. Looking back in retrospect, I felt like that opportunity was lost and I would never have another shot at it, and I should have just asked.

Lets now flash forward to now. I knew that the Atlanta shows were going to be the only shows I can make this fall. I had tickets to Memphis, Detroit x2 and NOLA x3 as well. But I just can’t make any of these due to my intense exam schedule and have given them away for free. My brother said I should just throw a tweet out there and see what happens. So, I did. I was really embarrassed once I hit send. Because that’s out of my character to ask of something like this. I didn’t really think anything would come out of it and I would still enjoy this run of shows with such awesome seats for taping from. But then Tuesday night I get an email from their tour manager and I about lost it! Called my brother just to tell him the news and I couldn’t sleep, I was so stoked. We were to meet at the side stage door around the time JAMC were to go on.

We got to the show and we went in to get a poster and watch Tobacco. The time came and we headed outside to the side door. They told us to wait there and then a black car came up and it was TR and Atticus. They rushed into the door and we waited… I then got an email saying that they got to the show late and we’d have to push it to later. Which was fine, but we had no way of getting back into the show! So, Brett took us inside and let us in so we could watch JAMC. After their set we went back and began ascending the stairs to the dressing rooms. I walked into the room and there was TR with a smirk and a “Hey Ryan, it’s about time!” we shook hands and I didn’t know how to start the conversation. I was a little star struck but I just said I had been running the archive for over 10 years and it was just nice to finally speak to them in person and tell them how much your music meant. Atticus was on the other side of the room and I shook his hand and told him the same. My brother came in to the room and we have been to almost every show together and have really bonded over their music since high school when we started going to shows together. Then, we started traveling the country to see them after that. So it was very special to meet them with my brother.

My first question I asked was what they thought about the archive and concert recordings in general. I know that TR has given the green light in 2011 for full download on the website and he has linked it in the AMA he did in 2013 and a few other things I have worked on for them indirectly (minisite videos etc). But I wanted to see if there was any way to see if we could get a taper section sort of like Phish behind the board. He came back with a very eloquent response of how he has no control of the quality that is released with audience recordings and he wants the live show to be portrayed in a certain way that you can’t always get with a audience recording. He also elaborated that when they did the NINJA tour open taping, he meant for it to be “low-pro” but people were trying to bring in their boom mics and stabilizers. That wasn’t the point with that whole thing. He went on to talk about Apple and how he wanted to increase their quality and relate it to the live recordings. He could only do so much until it was out of his hands. So, to come full circle, it is all about the quality and TR wants the live shows to be the best they can be. There might be some hiccups along the way, but that isn’t something he wants to highlight. I respect this. But at the end of him talking extensively about it, he told me that he is “flattered” about the site while he grinned and said that he would never stop me from doing what I am doing and that I should never worry about getting shut down. It was just amazing to hear out of his mouth, even though I had gotten a written email so long ago. I told them I was happy to hear that as it was a stress reliever for me from my studies in anesthesia and I could talk about my favorite band with others.

I then segued into asking about the Walled-Off Hotel compositions that they had done last year. I found that one piece to be so beautiful and wanted to hear more. I also didn’t want all of my questions to be lame and the ones that they had heard 1,000 times before (like the Tension DVD, Wave Goodbye footage, Tapeworm etc). We all know that those won’t see a release, so I didn’t feel like bringing it up again. Hopefully one day they may bring them out and I can host them on the archive , but until that day, I didn’t feel like asking it. Atticus went on to respond by saying that they were both very proud of the work and think it’s some of their strongest work. TR said the same thing and then told us that they were working on pressing it to vinyl. But they didn’t give any sort of timeline for it. But I am glad that it will be making its way out there at some point!

My brother then asked if they would ever consider scoring a horror film and Trent was very receptive to this and said that they would love to do something like this. At the same time, Robin, Ilan and Alessandro were coming into the room and they shook all of hands and all I wanted to say was “YOU GUYS ARE LIK3 T3H BEST!” and I couldn’t get anything out for Ilan and Robin, plus they seemed real busy just running around. They signed the poster and walked out real quick. Alessandro came over, shook my hand and said, “I love the work of your site! It’s incredible! If I ever need to know where I was on a certain day since 2005, I can just look there!” LOL. It was great. They were all so nice and I was just very grateful they would take time out of their schedule, especially right before they took the stage to chill and just mingle for a second. So, their tour manager was trying to get all of us out into the hallway to take the picture and Atticus then stopped me and asked me an anesthesia related question and I answered his question and then Trent came back and gave the look like, “we gotta go!” So, we went out into the hallway and Trent looked at Elvis on the wall and pointed to it, “reason were taking it out here.” So everyone got into position for the photo and I told TR when we were taking the photo that ‘Somewhat Damaged’ starting off the encore is literally the best thing to open an encore. Hoping that would possibly change the set for the night, but that didn’t happen. lol. We took the picture and that was it! Went to grab all my stuff off the counter and right next to it was the setlist…. I have been trying to stay away from the setlists so I could be surprised. But I was like a fly to a bright light and had to peak! I saw what they were starting with and what the encore started with. I was so stoked. We were then taken downstair and this whole encounter was probably 10 minutes, but felt like so long. It was great. My brother and I were absolutely cloud 9. We went back to our seats, I got setup to tape the show and that was it. Brett then emailed the picture and we were like YES!!!!! It finally happened. Now, at every NIN show, we’ll be like we were before… In the background like everyone else. That’s all I ever wanted and it just put a big grin on my face.

I didn’t get to check the poster out because the tour manager rolled it up back into the tube. But Trent wrote “RYAN!” on the poster along with his signature. I just thought that was such an amazing touch and I can’t wait to frame both event posters together. Some guy asked me at the end of the night if he could buy my poster off me for $50. Little did he know about what was really inside… This interaction just put NIN in another galaxy for how awesome they are to their fans. I know that they have always been receptive and I’ve heard stories. But to have our own story now, it just adds that much more. I respect them as a band, musicians, people. They didn’t have to do this, but they did. And it has made my year.

The next night people were coming up to my brother and I after they saw the picture on Instagram/FaceBook and thought it was so awesome. People were coming up to me and telling me thank you for the work on the archive and how much they use the site. I never asked for that and it was overwhelming. It made me feel good that so many people use the site and frequent it for new recordings. I finally met FULLMETAL too! Damn man, you are a beast and I was stoked to put a face to a name after all that you have recorded and all the shows you’ve been to. m0reta hooked my brother and I up with tickets to both nights and I am eternally grateful for that, I hope that you grab the recordings and enjoy them! They are excellent sources.

A bunch of us met up during the weekend at the bar prior to the shows REPLICA and his friend, Steven, and then we met up with m0reta and was it,MeetYourMaster(?) I can’t remember the username here on ETS the next night for post show dinner at Vortex. I also ran into another taper from the night with his friends. It was just great to speak with these wonderful people and their interest in this band, but also other things. Everyone was just so awesome and that just made the experience of the run of shows that much better.

Anyways, that’s enough from me. Thanks to everyone who followed along this week for the updates of this and made this happen. It was truly an amazing experience that I will never forget. Now, I’ll get back to school and working on updates to the site! Cheers all. Until next time.


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