01/23/93 - Praça da Apoteose (Hollywood Rock Festival), Rio de Janeiro, BR
After the L7 set, the most famous band of the 90s was ready to come up on stage: NIRVANA. Hollywood Rock was a big rock 'n' roll festival that was used to happen in Brazil every year (yes, it doesn't exist any more). Since the Seattle bands were hitting the mainstream, NIRVANA, Alice in Chains and L7 were contacted to play 2 shows: one in São Paulo 15 and 16th and one in Rio 22nd and 23rd January 1993. Even with the media publishing lots of news about Cobain's health being so bad because of his heroin abuse, the Brazilian crowd was really happy expecting Nirvana to play.
It was late when they got on stage and you could hear the unbelievable noise of 30,000 people screaming around. Kurt was dressed with pyjamas, carrying his black and white guitar. The band started playing 'Theme For Carmen' as an intro and then launched into 'School'. During the bridges of the song, you could hear an already tired Kurt singing.
The show goes normal till 'Love Buzz'. In his pyjama's pocket, Kurt brought with him a pack of Hollywood cigarettes. He sings the 2nd verse amazingly while smoking the damn cig!! When the song is done they go silent for about 5 seconds. The audience stares at them, not believing in what was happening. Krist decides to say a few words at the microphone. He starts making a speech about hollywood cigarettes, cancer and the zodiac. What he didn't think was that the audience could barely understand what he was saying. They answer Krist by clapping and yelling "Oh Oh Oh" constantly. Kurt jokes with Krist saying "I think Oh Oh means 'shut up Krist!'". Right after that, the band jams on 'Possibilities' with Krist on the vocals. Kurt can be seen smiling as Krist is singing nonsensical words.
'Lithium' is the next song of the setlist. It is incredible, the feeling in the air during this song! A perfect kombo between the band and the crowd. Thousands of people singing along with Kurt, loudly as hell made this moment unique. As they finish playing, the crowd goes nuts screaming "NIRVANA! NIRVANA!". Dave jokes by saying on the same rhythm "We don't count, We don't count". I guess bizarre facts started happening after this. The band delivers a sarcastic marketing about Hollywood cigs and Krist talks in a sales voice. Kurt says something along the lines of, "When I'm in Diarrhea de Janeiro, I like to have the refreshing leaves of a palm tree. I can't stop smoking man, I gotta smoke all the time. I'm a rock n roll star. And rock n' roll stars put their cigarettes right - here," and places the cigarette he has just lit behind one string.
"The funniest moment of the whole show is yet to come and occurs during 'Polly'. Kurt changes the lyrics to, "Hollywood smoke is the smoke," and then at the end he sings, "Let me take a drag of your cigarette." It was totally improvised since Dave tried to do the backing vocals but when he realized that Kurt wouldn't stop messing around, he gave up. When Kurt felt that Dave was about to stop trying singing, he smiled just like a messy child.
'About A Girl' is played normally still sounding great. Nirvana's breaththrough anthem would be the next song played. That was when the audience sees Flea, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (who had just played the night before) coming on stage. And he was holding a trumpet!! Yes, the band plays 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' with Flea improvising a trumpet solo. Kurt is so high that he repeats the 2nd verse instead of singing the 3rd one. After it's finished, the band retreats in for a break of one minute or so (though they were still on stage).
Another time, Kurt's highness can be ascertained when he plays the guitar intro of 'Been A Son' when actually, he was supposed to be playing 'On A Plain'. Dave and Krist keep playing and Kurt does well to join the song.
'Negative Creep', 'Been A Son' and 'Blew' are played fine without anything different happening during them. Except that Dave decided to show his butt to the crowd and then added "I have a hole in my short, actually. Hey Hey, look at my butt! Everybody's getting naked.". Another "break" of 1 minute is taken after 'Blew'. It seems like the whole band is tired and there isn't so much energy as in the past.
Without saying a word, Nirvana start playing a new song. 'Heart-Shaped Box' is performed really well and it has different lyrics from the 'In Utero' release. The audience does not respond as happily after this song, maybe because they want to hear already released songs. Right after that, the band plays a 10 minute 'Scentless Apprentice'. Kurt's scream sounds like a mix of despair, deep pain, tiredness with a twist of a just-alive animal. During the solo, Cobain goes up to the cameras and spits on them. After that he stands up next to the crowd and a flannel shirt is thrown near him. He takes it and rubs on his guitar along with some flowers he had on his pyjama suit. The fans go nuts! But Kurt isn't satisfied with it, he wants to joke a little bit more. So, he goes up to the cameras once more, spits on them again and finally drops his pants, simulating a masturbation. When he is about to come up on stage again, someone throws a pinapple inside a bag near him. Kurt just picks this up of the floor and puts it on his guitar. Then, he finally gets on stage to finish the song and adds in an almost unlistable voice "Thank you, good night.". Everybody is probably amazed with Kurt's intensity even looking weak as he was. Even Krist and Dave! Now it's time for a long break and the 3 guys left to the backstage.
Only Krist and Dave come back to the encore and Dave is wearing a bra. They jam on 'Sweet Emotion' (an Aerosmith cover) when Kurt appears again, dressed up and wearing fake breasts. Krist starts joking again saying : "Kurt looks like the girl in the porno magazine". Kurt asks : "Which magazine?" and Krist talks back : "Playboy!". Right before the band launches into Dive, Kurt adds : "My water's breaking" and personally, I believe it was true(haha). This old song sounds great in this performance and Kurt even wears a crown for the occasion. A girl can be heard yelling in Portuguese "Get this crown outta his head!".
Both 'Lounge Act' and 'Aneurysm' are played with energy and relish by the band. It is time to finish this long setlist with 'Territorial Pissings'. After the last chord of the song, Kurt falls on the floor and play about more 4 other chords. He leaves his guitar laying on the stage and gets off from there by crawling.
"It is obvious that Kurt was completely out of his mind during the whole 01/23/93 performance. What neither the audience nor the media knew, was that due to his withdrawals, Kurt had drunk a bottle of vodka and had taken a whole pack of Valium. He was totally screwed up. There are rumors that he went out crawling because he had lost all his strength to keep upright. Most people enjoyed the show for what it was but nobody had a clue about the shame and pain Kurt was feeling inside him for being an addict to that point.
Review written by Felipe Souza, Submitted November 2002