02/06/94 - Pavilhao Dramatico, Cascais, PT
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? [no rating evaluated owing to poor quality recording]
Nirvana's first date of the 6 week first leg of their European tour was to take place in Portugal. This decision is itself a point of interest, especially given the events that were to take place just 2 months later. Rather than begin the tour in the UK where Nirvana's 3 previous European tours had all begun and where the band had been for some time 'press darlings' they began in Cascais, Portugal, a much smaller and lower pressure concert, than they had chosen previously. At their time of their arrival, their halo than had been bestowed upon them little more than two years ago was beginning to slip. The band's reputation for hijacking interviews with random and nonsensical banter allied to their refusal to conduct interviews for several months had no doubt not helped endear them to the press and it is impossible not to notice that the press' tone was now less than celebratory.
This was not a sudden occurrence. The press had become over the past 2 years increasingly hostile towards the band, criticising not only Kurt's drug problems but also the band's lackadaisical approach towards their live shows that manifested itself on the festival shows in the summer of 1992. Keith Cameron, once an early advocate and friend of the band had in his 1992 article Love Will Tear Us Apart, stated rather bluntly the direction he saw the band going in. :from nobodies to superstars to fuckups in the space of six months! That has to be a record." The implication being only a few months after making their signature album they were heading on a sure path for destruction, which, history tells us is not too far from the truth. The band though had rallied, recorded another record, toured US areas to support it and even begun sessions to record songs that would have featured on a future Nirvana record had history not intervened. Nirvana had arrived in Europe with a point to prove to their critics on both sides of the Atlantic.
After a brief appearance on a French TV show they arrived in Portugal on February 5th the day before their first full show. Creager notes that on this day the band visited an American Pizza parlour, where Kurt showed a touching amount of naivety. "Everyone recognised Kurt and he seemed surprised at this even though he was on the TV at the time."
Craeger also rather surprisingly revealed that the band hadn't even rehearsed with her prior to the tour. This left her facing by far the largest performances of her career without any rehearsal whatsoever. This doesn't necessarily mean that the band itself had not rehearsed without her, though it does suggest that the band had rehearsed little or at all for this tour. Melora found that the band and Kurt and Krist in particular were now together in strictly a professional capacity. A fact proved by the differing opinions of Kurt and Krist on Melora's cello parts. Initially she approaches Kurt. "Kurt's funny because through the whole thing, he kind of pretends like he's a bad musician, like 'oh make up whatever you want because the songs are really easy' Melora got "over excited so all my parts were all cadenzas and crazy cello everywhere." This displeased Krist, 'you're playing the record right?' he asked her as they rehearsed, unsurprisingly this leaves Melora rather confused. The matter is sorted out when Kurt arranges a meeting between the 3 of them "we ended up mixing it up a bit. Some things, I made up. Some things were from the record." This episode says Melora was typical of communication between the band members. "Those guys didn't really talk much, you know how that happens with bands? And in my mind, Kurt's the leader and he told me to play whatever I wanted, but Krist didn't like it like that"
It is perhaps a shame therefore that the first show of Nirvana's tour has the privilege of being the worst recording in the Nirvana community. The quality is so bad that it makes judgement of the show prohibitive, as only Kurt's vocals are able to come through the murk, which makes even Dave's powerful drumming almost inaudible.
We are fortunate perhaps given this, that a portion of the show had been aired on TV, albeit comprising of a small clip of Smells Like Teen Spirit and a full version of Rape Me. They provide if nothing else a tantalising taste of what might have been. Kurt's voice is a great improvement on what it would be later on in the tour and he seems to be singing with a degree of passion although it seems rather tame compared to the manic Kurt that strode the stage 2 years previously. It does not though provide the basis for an objective opinion to be made.
The 4 minutes or so of professional footage we have can only give us a glimpse of what may well prove, should a superior recording be found to be a powerful show. Although technically this show is present in full, I found that when reviewing the show it was not sufficient to make an adequate comparison with shows that have surfaced in greater quality. It may well be in future that a superior recording will surfaced as has happened with other shows in the past. Until then it is best to leave this show alone and concentrate on the other shows which provide us with better means of evaluation and leave this show off the best performance list.
Review written by Matt Seward 2002