Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nirvana: Live At Reading

Pitchfork review

Nirvana's first true live album was released 3 weeks ago, in both a DVD and CD (or 3-LP vinyl) format. I'm considering buying it on CD (LOL) because it's probably the best live album I've ever heard. ... No, seriously. Up until now, 1994's Unplugged In New York was the closest thing to "Nirvana live in concert" that has ever been released commercially. 2 years later, Muddy Banks was released. At the time, this was considered the first "live" Nirvana album, and so it was included in SPIN's top 20 albums of 1996. However, most fans who knew better recognized it as a shitty comp, eclipsed in quality by several bootleg releases. (Both Muddy Banks and Live At Reading contain the same version of "tourette's.")

This is the album that should have been released in 1996 instead. I'm not sure why the decision to release such an inferior compilation was ever made, especially since all Nirvana product leading up to that point had been so outstanding. But the wait has ended, and one of their 5 best shows ever can now be enjoyed with sparkling pristine digital enhancement. Out of the few Nirvana concerts I've heard, this one is definitely my favorite, in part because Nirvana rarely did encores, and here the encore was 8-songs long (about half the length of the set that preceeded it) including 3 covers ("Love Buzz," "The Money Will Roll Right In," and "D-7").

For those who enjoy comparing the live sound of pre-Nevermind vs. post-Nevermind, another great Nirvana concert from early 1990 was included as the 11 bonus tracks on the recent Bleach reissue. It's good stuff. I promise.

Edit: Upon reading the lukewarm "7 out of 10" review from Drowned In Sound, it's been revealed that much of the "stage banter" has been omitted from the CD release, including their 30-second tease-cover of "More Than A Feeling" (with lead vocal screaming from Grohl and Chris) played prior to "Smells Like Teen Spirit," essentially removing some of the "live" feel found on the DVD and on bootlegs.

$15.00 is a lot of money. Decisions........hmmm.....

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