Nirvana – Live And Loud
With Nirvana being my favorite band and all, you don’t have to think long when you get an invitation to check out the Live And Loud DVD before it actually gets released. I mean, I really liked the footage I saw years ago, and to finally get to see the full thing (the original broadcast was missing about 8 songs), was a thing to look forward to for sure.
As a result, on the 19th of September I was sitting on a train on it’s way to Amsterdam, together with a friend. On our way to the sneak preview at the Melkweg Cinema. Drinking a couple of beers, talking nonsense. You know, like we were going to an actual concert. I’ll spare you the details of the horrors of finding and getting on the right bus, but we managed to get there right on time. After a quick piss we sat down and the lights went out (… we’re less dangerous…). Talking about perfect timing.
I’m not going to do a track-by-track review or talk about the annoying guy next to me singing along way too loudly and screaming for attention during the quiet parts… I guess that only added to the experience. No, let’s talk about the concert in general. MTV’s Live And Loud show took place at Pier 48, an empty warehouse in Seattle and aside from Nirvana, Cypress Hill & The Breeders played. Originally Pearl Jam was supposed to play as well, but they pulled out (Eddie had the flu). So Nirvana ended up playing an extended set. This show took place less than a month after they taped their Unplugged session, also for MTV. Back when MTV actually was about music. For real kids, ages ago MTV actually played music videos.
As for the show itself. It’s solid. Totally different from the Unplugged show of course. This is, well… loud… and live… (this is so bad…) The footage is in 4:3, but hey, this is the 90’s we’re talking about, so that’s to be expected. It looks great, but don’t expect Paramount kinda footage. That was unique. The setlist is good, but not as good as The Offramp show for instance (Man I would love to see a video of that). The band isn’t very talkative either (or it’s cut out), but still… It’s a damn good Nirvana show. And it sounds great too, better than the version we were used too, the bass seems a lot heavier in the mix. All in all a nice soundboard recording without sounding too clean.
- Krist’s SSD shirt. And his little “I’m going to wear this doll around my neck to show how punkrock I am” talk. With all the tragedy surrounding the band, people often forget those dudes were actually pretty funny.
- Pat Smear being Pat Smear.
- Raw performances of a bunch of In Utero songs, but also “Blew” with additional cello and a great electric version of Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold The World”. And the fact they didn’t play “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.
- The extended “Endless, Nameless” jam with Kurt inviting (and giving them a hand) crowdsurfers onto the stage, Krist going nuts on his bass and the decapitating of one of the angels on stage.
- The manical expression on Kurt’s face when he claps to the audience at the end of the show.
No easter eggs, this time, but there’s a lot of extra’s. Let’s start with the 17 minutes of rehearsal footage of the Live And Loud show. Not something the “casual fan” will be interested in, but it’s pretty cool to see them clowning around on stage, Kurt playing drums and stuff like that. The screening at the Melkweg stopped here, but in the meantime I had the time to check out my own copy of the DVD and there’s more: the video to Heart-Shaped Box which actually uses the multi-angle feature of your DVD player. You know that function that sounded pretty cool when they announced but nobody ever used? In this case it lets you switch between the original music video and the director’s cut. Then there’s the 3 songs of the February ’94 performance for French TV where Kurt’s guitar stops working during “Drain You” and he ends up singing half the song without his guitar. Which is quite a strange thing to see. The “Tunnel” (February ’94 for Italian TV) footage only has “Serve The Servants” and is missing “Dumb” for some reason. To complete the extra’s there’s the 3 songs (and fan interviews) of the last Nirvana show ever played in Munich, Germany on the 3rd of March 1994, including a cover of the Car’s “My Best Friend’s Girl”. It’s strange to see that and realize Kurt would be dead a month later.
To sum it all up: If you don’t own a Nirvana DVD yet, or if you could pick up only 1 Nirvana DVD I would probably recommend either “Live! Tonight! Sold Out!” or “Live At The Paramount” over this one, but for everyone else remotely interested in the band: Go get it. It’s a great release and totally worth your money. I’m really glad I finally got to see the whole thing.
On a sidenote, a review of the 20th Anniversary edition of In Utero will be up on the site soon(ish).