Nirvana
Live at Reading


4.0
excellent

Review

by Nagrarok USER (219 Reviews)
November 16th, 2009 | 76 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Nirvana’s infamous performance at the Reading festival gets released about 15 years after it should have been, but hey: better late than never.

In 1994, the year Kurt Cobain did or did not commit suicide, Nirvana released its famous MTV Unplugged live album. This eventually achieved a classic status, which it very well deserved. The performance was stripped-down, but with the band standing on the brink of destruction, the angst-filled music shone through as never before in the superbly performed acoustic set, which included some interesting additions, in the form of material not originally written by the band. Their own material got a new edge and the covers were fantastic. Surely, it was a live album Nirvana would never best.

And as of today, they still have not. After the band had effectively ceased to exist, we have seen the release of the also relatively popular From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah, a live album that would better represent the rawer, actual Nirvana in its earlier days. The Nirvana at top of their game. And truly, it was decent, but it still felt a bit grabbed together. What fans had really been waiting for, was a coherent album that captured Nirvana’s short-lasting glory in the best way possible.

And then we got Live at Reading.

This record was recorded a year after Nevermind, still one of the world’s biggest breakthrough albums, was released. That album hit big, and so did the musicians who made it. Nirvana’s popularity shot through the roof, and they took the all-too-willing audience by storm (although ironically, Cobain was eventually torn apart by his band’s own success). Live at Reading is the perfect display of that period, the period where the tides had turned highest for Nirvana. Originally it was performed at the Reading Festival in Britain, and has been described with terms such as ‘stage-annihilating’, and is still notoriously known for Cobain’s arrival on stage, which he did in a wheelchair.

It is in fact astonishingly surprisingly that only 15 years after Cobain’s passing, the move to bring forth this performance has been made. Since ’92, it has been appeared in bootleg form in many occasions, but now finally the effort has been made to fully and officially create a remaster. Better late than never, of course, and Live at Reading comes as an unexpectedly pleasant arrival in late 2009. Because yes, the job is exceptionally well done.

Especially for such a revived performance, the production team has delivered an excellent work. The noisy, punky grunge of Nirvana is transferred as well as could be to this disc. The band and audience are kept at a great balance, and between the noise of Cobain’s guitar, Novoselic’s bass and Grohl’s drums do not go at all unnoticed. On top of that, the disc is quite lengthy. Live at Reading barely makes it with a single disc, which is crammed full at 77 minutes with its 24 tracks. The majority of Bleach and Nevermind is featured, and even some unfinished versions from would-be In Utero (e.g. All Apologies).

As for Nirvana itself, it functions exactly like you would expect it to in the period they were in. Live at Reading is loud, noisy, punky grunge per definition. Of the 77 minutes, about 70 of them contain loud distortion and a gruffly screaming Kurt Cobain, who is obviously the point of focus. The rhythm section is quite a force to be reckoned with, however. Noveselic has a clear bass tone throughout, and Gohl’s drumming is both fierce and precise, and truly a highlight of the album’s sound. Nirvana really was at the top of their game here.

Live at Reading is the addition to Nirvana’s discography that should have been put there long ago. It is a raw, gruffy, and especially loud presentation of the band’s Bleach/Nevermind era sound, and it puts forth that presentation exceptionally well. Just when we had almost forgotten about Nirvana, this live release comes rolling around the corner, it’s arrival deadly accurate and perfectly adequate. Kurt would have been proud.

- Kurt Donald Cobain (R.I.P.) ~ Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals
- Krist Anthony Novoselic ~ Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
- David Eric Grohl ~ Drums, Backing Vocals




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4.3
superb
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lz41 (4)
The ideal cornerstone...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
November 16th 2009


8624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Coincidentally, I was on the train home, listening to All Apologies, when I saw 'Kurt commited suicide' sprayed in graffitti, on the side of a stopped train. It might just have been the spark that got me into reviewing this. I'm surprised nobody beat me to it.



Oh, and Grohl's drumming on this here album is absolutely fantastic.

Titan50
November 16th 2009


4588 Comments


Not sure if I want to get this

BigHans
November 16th 2009


30930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Grohl rules. Haven't heard this yet, will have to check it out. Here's hoping Courtney Love doesn't make a mint off this.

EasternLight
November 16th 2009


2710 Comments


getting today.

JohnnyGetYerKnife
November 16th 2009


157 Comments


Awesome album, awesome dvd. KURT DIDN'T COMMIT SUICIDE.

cvlts
November 16th 2009


9668 Comments


will get.

novoselic is quite the politcal man in seattle today.

LepreCon
November 16th 2009


5470 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sweet review, just a little minor niggle here in the third line:

The performance of the was stripped-down


May wanna change that.

Anywho, saw this in HMV when I came back from vacation (it came out DURING my vacation and noone told me it would beforehand) and I've yet to get it. Seems like it could be a worthwhile purchase on my employee's discount

jagride
November 16th 2009


2945 Comments


cool, by the way the song D-7 is a wipers cover.. everyone should check that band

Roach
November 16th 2009


2148 Comments


Wipers rule waaaaayy harder than Nirvana.

Nagrarok
November 16th 2009


8624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Conor, fix'd.

NebSnurb
November 16th 2009


535 Comments


Such a great album

AtavanHalen
November 17th 2009


17920 Comments


Can't wait to get this.

Douchebag
November 17th 2009


3626 Comments


I can't wait to hear this, it's a DVD too right? Grohl is hands down my favourite drummer and this just sounds plain fun.

Nagrarok
November 17th 2009


8624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yup, there's a DVD too. I kept it to the CD.

Douchebag
November 17th 2009


3626 Comments


Fair enough. I've heard the CD edits out a hell of a lot of the crowd interaction and goofing around that is kept in the DVD.

Nagrarok
November 17th 2009


8624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No complete surprise there, as I mentioned they really use up maximum disc space. The DVD is probably a better experience.

Douchebag
November 17th 2009


3626 Comments


I'll get both (pretty sure it's a combo) as soon as I run into it.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
November 17th 2009


8574 Comments


good review as expected, and nice you FINALLY decided to accept my challenge ;)

Nagrarok
November 17th 2009


8624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I had to eventually, hadn't I? There was just nothing that caught my interest, or it had been already done. Wasn't planning to do this at first, but then that message on the train got to me.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
November 17th 2009


8574 Comments


aight. So where do you go from here? Moar Deep Purple haha?



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