Nirvana Live at Reading DVD

Whether it was because I was hyper cool and never wanted to mix with the smelly hippies and festival saddoes, or whether it was because my scout camp happened to fall in the same week of August, 1992 was the first Reading I went to.

And the reason? The reason for most of the things in my life – The Manic Street Preachers, of course.

Their first Reading set was in 1992, and I can't tell you* how glamorous and exciting they looked as they came on mid afternoon to the absolute adoration of a few hundred of us, and fields full of studied disinterest from the of the rest of the Reading crowd.

what the fuck has this got to do with Nirvana??!
*[If you really want to know, you can peak at more pix like this by Phil Rose esq here who got a photopass in those pre R*E*P*E*A*T days by making up a magazine 'Scottish Fashion Express' and claiming he wrote for it - don't tell Caffy! and you can squint at these youtube videos too here]

Once they'd played their 30 minute set, I had little interest in the rest of the weekend, apart from saving my belongings when my tent (which I had pitched on dry land) suddenly found itself in the middle of a lake. “I hate it here and I'm never coming back” I said loudly (and inaccurately) to anyone who would listen.

By the time Public Enemy played that night, the Manics had already (accidentally) assaulted a security guard with a badly aimed bass guitar and rushed home for Match of the Day, but I was still around the next evening to catch what most count as one of the defining moments in the history of recent popular music – Nirvana's headlining set.

And, despite my petulant posing at the time, this DVD shows what a fantastic set it was. Recorded when Nevermind was at its most popular, it also shows Nirvana at the height of their live powers, like a 'dream marriage of the Beatles and The Sex Pistols', as Rolling Stone described it. As well as nearly the complete track listing from Nevermind, the show also featured 4 earlier tracks from Bleach and one, 'Spank Thru', from much earlier, as well as covers of songs by Fang and The Wipers. Interestingly, they also played nascent versions of 3 still unrecorded tracks which would later appear on 'In Utero'; a taste of what was to come was also hinted at by the persistent pre-gig rumours about Kurt's health and the discussion as to whether he would show up or not – rumours which he tried to ridicule by being wheeeled out onto the stage in a wheelchair wearing a hospital robe, but which now I guess we can only assume to have had some basis in reality.

As they left the trashed stage to wails of feedback, I think we all knew we'd seen something special.

On the way home from Reading 92 I bought a bootleg cassette of the Manics performance, and that Wednesday saw a picture of my submerged tent in Melody Maker. Now, nearly 20 years later, this release shows what legendary Nirvana performance I also witnessed, half against my will.

'Nirvana Live at Reading' gives me (and you) the chance to watch one of the most bootlegged shows in rock'n'roll, all with audio recorded direct from the multi track masters and original, colour-corrected film, all over again.

A myth in the making, I think.

Just like the Manics that day...

Rosey R*E*P*E*A*T

Watch the DVD trailer here