Family Time: Music
BY JENNIFER CHANCELLOR World Scene Writer
Monday, December 28, 2009
12/28/09 at 7:57 AM
Nirvana concert CD: Worth the wait
It's been bootlegged to infinity and back, but now it's official: Rock act Nirvana's 1992 "Live at Reading" concert has been released in a CD/DVD twofer from Geffen Records.
It was worth the wait. Lead singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain — and the band — died in 1994. Some say they both committed suicide, but here is proof that both may indeed be immortal.
The year was a turbulent one for Nirvana. Lead singer Kurt Cobain is wheeled onto stage in a wheelchair — he's making a mockery of his recent stint in rehab. Near the end of the show, Kurt mentions that's he's a father to a 1-day-old daughter.
The trio's lives were in dramatic turmoil.
The band had one practice together before this mammoth show, and drummer Dave Grohl was well-quoted as saying that he was afraid the gig would herald the band's onstage implosion.
On the contrary, Cobain's hospital gown-wearing, distortion- fueled performance became the hallmark by which the band would forever be remembered.
Listen to the crowd cheer at the intro of "Smells Like Teen Spirit." "Breed" rampages through Krist Novoselic's staggeringly nimble basslines. The crowd froths with fervor on "Lithium." "Love Buzz" (which is only on the DVD) is off-kilter and rough, noisy and jam- fueled.
Nirvana struggles through — and hits a willing nerve. (And then there's "dancing Tony." It was the '90s. No, he's not part of the band. There was always a crazy sandaled dancer-slash-uberfan onstage at so many of these festivals. Nirvana picked Tony.)
No, this Reading gig isn't the greatest concert ever performed. It's not even Nirvana's best live show. Some 17 years later, however, it does put the band's instability, fame and mammoth influence into perspective. The act plowed through hardship, sometimes with extreme folly, sometimes with fantastic grace.
A great rock show generally isn't about perfection of tune or tempo. A legendary live performance is about raw energy and emotional fortitude.
Here, Nirvana has both — and more than 60,000 fans are along for the once-in-a-lifetime, psychedelic punk joyride.
This is what live music is all about, people. It's a concert you have to hear — and see — to believe.
LIVE AT READING
Available at: online and retail
Released: Nov. 3, on Geffen
Rating: 92 (out of 100)
Listen/Watch: CD: “Negative
Creep,” “Come as You Are,”
“Tourette’s,” “Stay Away,”
“The Money Will Roll Right
In.” DVD: “Intro,” “Breed,”
“D-7,” “Polly,” “Territorial
Pissings,” “Love Buzz”