02/12/94 - Zénith Oméga, Toulon, FR

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Nirvana's 2nd French date took them to the French Riviera. Melora remembers this date because of an unusual couple they encountered backstage. "All I remember were these really skeevy people backstage specifically to see Kurt, it was a couple, they were in like designer jeans and thongs on their feet and they had their little boy with them, who just idolised Kurt. Kurt responded to the boy really well, because he was a kid. But it was just so sad. The reason the parents were there was pretty obvious..."

This show has the first proper video of the tour, shot to the backdrop of the Zenith Omega in Toulon. It is an private recording but it is blessed by the fact that it has a clear picture, a good sound and shows all of the band on a regular basis (a rare thing for most private shots which tend to only focus on Kurt).

Probably the first thing you notice as the band opens up with the ubiquitous Radio Friendly Unit Shifter are Kurt's Bug eyed sunglasses, probably soon followed by Krist's suit. Both of these oddities are gone by Drain You however and Kurt is once again looking pasty faced under the stage lights and the excessive make up they seemed intent to spoon upon his face by that point. Krist's jacket has also by now gone revealing a pastel coloured hooped T-shirt, making him look like the absent member of the Brady Bunch... the one the others refuse to talk about.

Nothing much happens for a couple of songs, it is a competent run through of songs that by then had become almost routine. For those avid followers of Nirvana's setlists (should there by such a creature) you will notice that Come As You Are is played before Serve The Servants for whatever reason.

Up until SLTS the band had said nothing unsurprisingly it is Krist who breaks the silence with his usual bizarre comments on this occasion it is "there are lots of tall girls in the audience."

Smells Like Teen Spirit was by this point pretty routine Kurt would remain static, his screaming had become half hearted if such a thing is possible, which made the audiences cheers at the opening chords of the song even more inappropriate.

The set gets back on track as it usually did in European In Utero shows with a very good Sliver, which you can tell even at this point the band still enjoyed playing, this was followed by Dumb and our first view of Melora Craeger. The taper manages once again showing us some nice shots of Melora combined with a view of Krist playing his bass parts while sitting on an amp to stage left, no doubt keeping Pat Smear company.

About A Girl brings Kurt's first words of the night and it's a paraphrase of his comments at the start of Unplugged "this is off our first record". Though sadly missing the 'most people don't own it remark', it is at this point about as good as your going to get out of Kurt.

Lithium saw a marked improvement in the band, which seemed to put a much-needed spark into the bands performance and the crowds for that matter who sang along and pogoed with the best of them! This mood seemed to carry on to Pennyroyal Tea in which Kurt seemed more enthused and was moving around from a spot he seemed rooted to just a couple of songs previously.

"Could you do us a favour and please don't clap when we play this song as we're really bad musicians and fuck up our timing" greet the arrival of Polly as usual to no avail, maybe it's because they don't speak English guys!

The good mood started with Lithium continues to Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle one of my favourite and I'm sure many others Nirvana songs. This is followed by Very Ape, a song that, in my opinion never reached the heights live that it did on record. Nevertheless this is possibly as good a version as you're likely to hear.

Jesus Doesn't Want Me For A Sunbeam dedicated to the late River Phoenix, follows with very loud and as usual offbeat clapping and also features some banter between Kurt and Krist, a welcome sound after the silence that preceded so much of the earlier songs.

An electric Man Who Sold The World sounding for all the world like a song Nirvana were born to play, which would surely be a contender for the closing song of the set had it been a Nirvana original. Immediately following this is All Apologies, On A Plain and Scentless Apprentice all of which manage to keep up the momentum that has been building since the half way point in the set.

"Thanks for coming you have been a wonderful, beautiful audience"

The words Kurt chose to precede the usual European Tour closer Heart Shaped Box as usual it does not disappoint, the taper who has done a good job throughout chooses a good time to zoom out to show the audience and the lighting effects that are now engulfing them a nice touch.

The Verdict

Well it's a good show by no means their best, but good. It is a show that seems to pick up as it goes along, the crowd are probably the largest factor in this, in the few shots we get to see they seemed an enlivened bunch.

Review written by Matt Seward 2002