06/26/92 - Roskilde Festival, Roskilde, DK
The first show of the Scandinavian festival tour proved to be a fitting opener to what has since been termed the "Great Outdoors Tour of '92". With old "Bleach" songs 'Scoff' and the rarely played 'Swap Meet' having been resurrected for a last tour, the setlist was something special. Also present were semi-rare performances of 'Something In The Way' and 'Stay Away'.
Possibly striking out at the grunge image, but more probably just because he felt like it, Kurt had had a comparatively severe haircut the day before. The band had just restarted their tours less than a week earlier, in Dublin, having cancelled dates throughout April and May. The break, it seems, probably was what the band needed to recharge their energy for this next tour.
Before the band come out to play, the almost mournful Tori Amos cover of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' was pumped out through the speakers. The crowd burst out into intermittent cheers, probably signifying individual band members taking the stage. The first definite sign we have, however, is when Dave's bass drum literally kicks in and the crowd goes wild. Dave does a little random drumming, before Kurt opens 'Aneurysm', the first song of the set. As ever, the instrumental intro is powerful, and the distortion leads wonderfully into the first verse.
Immediately it becomes obvious that Kurt's voice has recovered from the difficulties it underwent on the Pacific Rim tour four months earlier. The performance is powerful and solid.After a short pause, Kurt announces "And I would now like to play a guitar solo" after which a comical ten second distorted anti-solo is played.
He thanks the crowd, before kicking into arguably his favourite Nirvana song, 'Drain You'. Again, this is performed solidly, but it is clear that the band has not completely warmed up. 'Stay Away', the next song, is performed with a lot of energy, making the listener wonder why Nirvana played it so rarely after 1990.
'Sliver', a staple song from late 1990 right up to the last tour, is played next. The song only really comes into its own in the last couple of verses, but is nevertheless a highly competent performance. This song was aired in a Danish TV documentary about Nirvana.
Denmark had recently won the European Football Championship, which is the reason Kurt changes the lyrics in the bridge of 'School' to "You're in football again!". The crowd, as ever, screams its appreciation.
'In Bloom' is next, and it really is a blistering performance of the song. The solo, in particular, stands out as far more fitting than the recorded version.
'Breed' is, as ever, fast paced and energetic. The instrumentation falls into place perfectly to create one of the best performances, certainly in 1992, of this song.
'About A Girl', one of the only three songs to last from Bleach right through to the final concert, is a good performance, but not the best. The solo does to some extent make up for this, as it is smooth enough for the song, but still containing the raw elements that made it Nirvana.
Barely taking a breath, the band launches into 'Scoff', a staple from their 1989 and 1990 tours. The performance certainly equals these, and it is clear that they have forgotten nothing of the song, and the scream at the end is a brilliant ending to a brilliant song. It was performed for the last time on the 30th, in Stockholm.
'Polly', the next song, is partially drowned out by a clapping audience, a constant annoyance for the band throughout their post-Nevermind career. The performance itself, though, seems haunting and stark. If it were not for the crowd noise in the first and last verses, it really would stand out. It is obviously the ignorant crowd that prompts Kurt to sing the last chorus in a whiney, little-girl voice and mutter "Oh, the pain" after it has finished.
The opening riff to 'Lithium' promises an exemplary performance, and it does not disappoint. The song is done just the way it was always meant to be, powerful and raw choruses with a soft verse. The band is obviously working hard at this one, maybe because they are so frustrated about the clapping during 'Polly'. The crowd also tries to clap along to the last verse of this song, but stop before anything really starts.
Next up is the old set closer, 'Blew', which has been moved to the middle of the set. There is a short jam before Krist's bass is heard, and Kurt and Dave come in really well. Kurt slurs his vocals more than usual in the first verse of this song, but that does not detract from a strong performance, actually adding to the sullen, frustrated lyrics. "This song is called 'Been A Son'" announces Krist as the band kicks into an energetic version of the then-unreleased song (Unless you count the Blew EP).
The crowd claps to Dave's cymbal playing, before Kurt opens another of his favourites, 'On A Plain'. The song was rarely, if ever, performed badly, and this performance is solid and reasonably energetic.
The penultimate performance of 'Swap Meet' follows, and is definitely a blistering performance, despite the impression that Kurt has (understandably) forgotten some of the lyrics.
'Negative Creep' starts and stops, and then after a pause it starts again. This is another song that was rarely performed badly, and this performance is no exception, brilliantly and passionately played.
Kurt plays the first bar of 'Something In The Way', and the first bar of 'All Apologies', evidently deciding what to play. He decides on the former, and delivers a really good performance. It is enough to rival my personal favourite version, the Bremen Radio recording of 8/27/91. This version bears a similar haunting quality to the versions from the Big Day Out festival and the Japanese tour.
Kurt bids the audience good night, and there is a four minute gap. There is some vague messing around from Dave and Kurt, but nothing that constitutes a jam. Crowd members whoop and cheer, it is obvious that the band is preparing for an encore, which will contain three singles, one of which is to be their ultimate deodorant-inspired signature track.
"Okay, congratulations on the sports contest that you won today" says Kurt just before the band opens 'Come As You Are'. The performance is good, but is towards the end of a long set and the band is probably getting tired. The debut single of Nirvana, arguably their most famous cover, is played next. 'Love Buzz' had by now been in the band's setlist for five years, and their level of competence and familiarity with the song is displayed here, in a reasonably strong, especially vocally, performance. The second guitar solo is handled really well, Kurt getting the distortion just right, and Dave's drumming bringing out the rhythm.
Dave's humour surfaces with his comment: "Am I hungry or is that tyre fire staring to smell like beef stew?" before the penultimate song of the set, a pretty good performance of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'. One cannot help but sense that the band are starting to get bored with the song, but they cover this well, if indeed it is the case. The final song is to be Nirvana's 91/92 set closer, which takes turns with 'Blew': the song most famously used to deafen Jonathan Ross, 'Territorial Pissings'. By now, after about 75 minutes of playing, the trio must be pretty tired, but they still manage to give us an excellent rendition of this song. The distorted ending is particularly well done. Kurt fools around a little on guitar, before finally saying a tired "Good night".
Review written by David Duell, Submitted December 2002