Everyone tends to forget an album in the Nirvana repertoire. This is a live album, for those who didn't realise it. It's basically the last genuine full length that Nirvana brought out after Cobain's death. It is quite overlooked mainly due to the fact that Nirvana's other live album 'Unplugged in New York' was so overly praised by the people and the critics. Not that I'm going to deny the fact that Unplugged was a good album, au contraire, it was better than this. But no matter how you turn it, Nirvana was not an acoustic band, hence that album didn't quite give you the 'I'm at a Nirvana concert' feeling, more like the 'I'm at a Nirvana concert but Cobain is so stoned that he forgot the amps so they went acoustic' feeling.
All bad descriptions aside, I think this CD represents what Nirvana was all about at a live concert. It slightly fills the gap I experience because I never had the chance to see Nirvana live.
This CD is a perfect argument for people that flame Nirvana. Kurt wasn't a very good guitarist, there are some mistakes in his playing here and there. But personally, I think it just adds to the live feeling. As you can expect there's an enormous amount of feedback and other amp noise between and sometimes even during the songs. Sometimes so high-pitched that a grimace would appear on my otherwise so intelligent-looking face, whilst I was listening to the album through my headphones. Another thing anti-Nirvana people would say is that Kurt wasn't a good singer. True, but he had a darn good voice. The vocal performance on this album hardly ever reaches the level of Kurt's studio efforts, sometimes screaming all over the place or singing out of key. But that's why I like Nirvana. Their sound is raw and slightly chaotic.
Some big Nirvana fans might notice the strange line up I listed, with Nirvana's old Drummer Chad Channing
. This is because the material on this album was recorded at concerts all over the world dating from 1989 to 1994. Despite of the great amount of time that elapsed between those dates, the songs fit together as a whole, the different sound they bring help keeping the album varied. If you're expecting witty interludes from Kurt between the songs like on Unplugged, you'll be disappointed, because he usually doesn't say more than "Thank you", if that.
As a compilation most people wouldn't consider this a best of; with lesser known tracks such as Aneurysm
and Negative Creep
and even B sides material that I hadn't even heard before I got this (Spank Thru
). However it does have enough hits to keep the less dedicated Nirvana fans entertained : Smells like teen Spirit
Recommended songs :
: Which just has a very nice tone in this version and decent vocal performance.
: Just an "underrated" nirvana song, well performed.
: Starting clean, then going into distortion, possibly my favourite polly version
Smells Like Teen Spirit and Lithium
: Because they never get old for me.
No flawless performance here*, no improvised solos. Just the gloomy raw performance from a very good band, no matter how much they get bashed or overly praised.
(*Note : When I say no flawless performance, I'm talking about Kurt, because the other band members do a fine job and Krist does a little something extra on his bass too.)