Cobainís best concert
THE day after his daughter was born, Kurt Cobain, terrified that Frances Bean would be taken from him, walked into Courtney Loveís hospital room with a pistol and suggested they kill themselves in a double-suicide pact. Less than two weeks later, he played the most thrilling show of his entire life.
Nirvanaís set at the UKís prestigious Reading Festival in August 1992 is the most cherished and widely bootlegged concert in the bandís history. On Tuesday, it will be officially released for the first time, as a limited-edition CD/DVD. (Separate CD, DVD and LP versions will follow on Nov. 24.)
While the show is revered for Cobainís high-energy performance, its legend is rooted in the circumstances surrounding his downfall.
ìMany people thought Nirvana was no more,î says Charles R. Cross, author of the Cobain biography ìHeavier Than Heaven,î which chronicles the hospital anecdote. ìThere were rumors that the band had broken up. Rumors swirled that Kurt wouldnít appear because he was either too ill or deceased.î
But Cobain surprised everyone by not only showing up, but also making one of the more memorable entrances in the annals of rock. Rolled onstage in a wheelchair, he wore a frizzy blond wig and a hospital patientís gown, looking like Norman Bates from ìPsycho.î Bassist Krist Novoselic, meanwhile, fueled whispers in the crowd by saying, ìItís too painful.î
Cobain then stood up, warbled the first two lines to Bette Midlerís ìThe Rose,î and collapsed ó before rising again, fully revived, and leading the band into the feedback intro of ìBreed.î An impassioned 25-song performance followed, showing just how alive Cobain really was.
ìKurt always had a certain sort of mocking attitude with the audience,î says Mickey Zetts, a longtime Nirvana fan and author of ìApathy: The Gen X Musical.î ìBut he seemed like he was actually enjoying it ó like he still cared.î
Cobain would have many less glorious moments in the months and years that followed ó he died less than two years later ó but ìLive at Readingî is a shining reminder of why Cobain remains a rock legend.
ìThe first 30 seconds of that show,î Cross says, ìhave to be some of the greatest 30 seconds in rock history.î
Cobainís best concert