Throbbing Gristle were noted for their live performances, which were often experimental and quite different from their pre-recorded work. In addition to studio albums, a large number of recordings of live shows were released, of varying sound quality. A concise history of Throbbing Gristle and COUM Transmissions can be found in Simon Ford's book Wreckers of Civilisation (ISBN 1-901033-60-0). A 25 CD boxed set, TG24, documenting many live Throbbing Gristle performances was released in December 2002. A follow-up to this boxset chronicling the last 10 performances was released as TG+ in January of 2004. These releases accumulated recordings that had originally been released on cassette-only boxed sets and individually released vinyl albums of official and bootleg status. Long out of circulation, the new releases sparked a renewed interest in the band.
Throbbing Gristle were scheduled to play a live show in May 2004 at the RE~TG festival, but the festival was cancelled due to poor ticket sales, rising costs and scheduling complications. They decided to play anyway and set up a show at The Astoria in London on Sunday 16 May 2004, which was the same day they were to play at RE~TG. The show was free but open only to those who had tickets to RE~TG, whether they had obtained a refund or transferred the ticket to a later concert at All Tomorrow's Parties, in December 2004. The show was filmed by the band, and was released as part of the DVD box set TGV. It was Throbbing Gristle's first live performance in nearly 23 years to the day.
The reformed band (with all four original members) then played a concert in Italy in June 2005 and two concerts at the Volksbühne, Berlin, Germany on 31 December 2005 and 1 January 2006. The first show was a live performance and the second an improvised live soundtrack to Derek Jarman's film In The Shadow Of The Sun. On 29 December 2005, an exhibition entitled 'Industrial Annual Report' opened at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin-Mitte. It was a major retrospective exhibition of artworks and historical documents produced by Throbbing Gristle, curated by Markus Müller, in collaboration with Cosey Fanni Tutti.