The opening notes of Nirvana’s 1992 performance at the Reading Festival marked a guitar blast heard around the music world amid the halcyon days of grunge, confirming the heir apparent of the genre.
And the DVD Nirvana: Live at Reading is hewn to the pulse of that historic show, the massive crowd swaying as Nirvana – Kurt Cobain, Chris Novaselic, and Dave Grohl – tear through 24 tracks, including the bulk of their breakthrough Nevermind. It is manic, reckless, and odd; Cobain is wheeled out onto the stage in a wheelchair, donning a hospital gown and a grinding jaw to begin the show. A dancer pogos onstage on intermittent tracks, adding to the strange, vital energy. But despite the quirks, the band fires with punk rage, bellowing wildly on “About a Girl,” “Negative Creep,” and “Come as You Are.” Wide angle views of the stage illuminate the crowd, giving context to the enormity of the event.
This is Nirvana at their highest, blowing the faces off of a capacity crowd. Nirvana: Live at Reading is a defining moment; a spirited document that further defines the glory in the band’s pained legacy.
Nirvana: Live at Reading is out now on Geffen Records.