Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Live! Tonight! Sold Out!

In my office, we can access our co-workers’ iTunes folders through the network. Every now and then, I peruse some of these folders to see what’s new. Much to my surprise, a coworker named Brendan, who I hadn’t met before, had some Nirvana bootlegs, including a 1991 show at the Paramount Theater in Seattle. My eyes practically popped out of their sockets. Goddamn! I attended that show!!! Brendan was kind enough to let me copy the sound files.

Here’s what I remember from that show. When tickets went on sale, Nirvana had already started ascending in popularity--clearly, since the Paramount seats a few thousand people. I went with a few friends--Gray, Carolyn, and I think Joe. Bikini Kill and Mudhoney opened. We missed every note of Bikini Kill’s twenty-minute set, because hundreds of people still packed the Paramount’s small lobby, preventing us from reaching our seats, which were well in the upper tier of the venue. Mudhoney played a fine if somewhat subdued set, most of which consisted of tracks from Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge. A couple of people filmed the Nirvana show, and bits subsequently popped up in the video for “Lithium” and elsewhere. I’ve remembered some of these and other details--the mundane details--over the 15+ years since that show.

But some of the specific details came flooding back to me when I started listening to this bootleg, and I soon remembered the show as if it had happened a week ago. I think this is the exact feeling that middle-aged people like me crave when we listen to a live record: that shudder of youth that winds through you, that chance to be reminded not just of the concert but of the conflicting desires and nervous energy that drove you. It’s strange, because I’ve heard other live tracks from shows I attended, but none of them really *worked* in the way that this Paramount show did. And it started working as soon as I heard Cobain’s explanation of the Vaselines cover in the opening seconds, which I remembered distinctly as soon as I was reminded of it. But I also remembered what it was like to be 17 or 18 years old, being swept up in something that made me feel undeniably cool, even if it was only by association.


"Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam"

While researching this particular post, I realized that this bootleg has been very well circulated, so it’s not quite the awesome rarity that is, I dunno, 64 Spiders’ lone single. The recent Sub Pop birthday bash put me in kind of a reflective mood, though, so I felt like procuring this boot and passing it on. If you don’t already have it, I highly recommend giving it a listen: as a document of Nirvana’s live show, it’s a vastly better than the official live record. It’s worth it for the takes on “Breed,” “Been a Son,” and “Negative Creep” alone.

The show occurred on Halloween night, 1991. Nevermind had attained gold record status only a few days before the show.

Track listing:

Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam
Aneurysm
Drain You
Floyd the Barber
Smells Like Teen Spirit
About a Girl
Polly
Breed
Sliver
Love Buzz
Lithium
Been a Son
Negative Creep
On a Plain
Blew
Rape Me
Territorial Pissings
Endless Nameless

Zip file is here.

--Wm

12 comments:

Mike said...

Sounds great. A shame I couldn't get to see Nirvana at any point, they were around a little before my time (yes, I am THAT young). I have the Fecal Matter demo if you guys want me to up that I can.

I liked that youtube video too, the live version of Jesus Doesn't Want Me For A Sunbean is in my opinion better than the original.

fred said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fred said...

Cool to hear from someone with some first-hand accountance of a NIRVANA gig. Check either of my blogs if you want any of their demos or live shows. (and keep up the good work--more TAD!)

liveon35mm.com said...

Nice double Bill...Nirvana and Mudhoney (saw them last week live in london) on the same night sounds ace.

ciao
Vale

Steve said...

Hey Lamestain -

I was there too, except I was down on the main floor!

I remember heading down to the Paramount after watching the Simpsons Halloween Special, and being annoyed by both the camera crews and go-go dancers crowding the stage. Krist Novoselic wore a Power Team T-shirt. I missed Bikini Kill too, but thought Mudhoney ruled (at least until Nirvana played).

Later dudes -- Steve

jay said...

Okay, I'm trying as hard as I can, and I just can't think of why I didn't go to that show.

All Guns Blazing said...

Ah, Trick or Treat, the first Nirvana bootleg I ever purchased back in '95. I got a ton of Nirvana stuff from a mail order label called Kiss The Stone before I found my way onto the internet. They had a huge catalog of live bootleg cd's back in the day.


The Nirvana set was filmed professionally from start to finish from what I've read so surely an official DVD release is long overdue?

'there's more cameras in here than in a 7-Eleven!'

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