I’ll be covering disc 3 and the DVD in the same article since they are both the exact same show. The show took place December 13th, 1993 concert at Seattle’s Pier 48 and it’s a fantastic example of how tight and ON Nirvana were during their last tour. They blaze through a set with tons of In Utero favorites, and deliver with some other great renditions of songs from other albums (no, there is no Smells Like Teen Spirit this time around).
The crowd was lively and so was the band, blowing through song after song with accuracy and energy. This is how good Nirvana were at the end. They were a well-oiled machine that could blow your pants off on any given night. Their set was littered with hits and some of their best material in general. In Utero shows were typically longer than this (I don’t know if they cut shit out or if this was just a shorter show because it was taped for MTV), and the set truly does miss the portions that were typically done acoustically at other shows (Dumb, Jesus Doesn’t Want Me for a Sunbeam, Something in the Way). But with those out, you get a straight-forward rockin’ show that never lets up.
And it sounds great. Everything is clear (though on the CD, Kurt’s guitar is too quiet), and it’s all crisp as hell. It’s aged pretty damn well. The show runs roughly an hour, and while I mentioned it’s shorter than what people saw live on that tour it’s just enough time to get into it and really enjoy it. The following are what I consider to be the highlights of this fantastic show:
–Radio Friendly Unit Shifter is as good of an opening song as you could have. It’s high energy and sets the pace for the whole set. This is a great version.
-As it normally does, Breed totally rips shit it up on this night.
–Serve the Servants is also one of those songs that transitions from the album to live very well. Love this version.
-This marks the first time Rape Me was officially allowed to be played on MTV. (MTV rejected Nirvana playing it at the VMA’s years before, and also pissed off the band by vowing to not air any video made for the song. This is why All Apologies was released as a single but no “official” video was ever made. They would later use the version from Unplugged as the video after Kurt Died).
-That is one extremely heart-pounding version of Pennyroyal Tea. A special hello to Pat Smear on backup vocals!
–Scentless Apprentice is so good it’s almost out-of-hand.
–All Apologies wasn’t on the original broadcast of the show, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why they would’ve cut this out besides time constraints. It’s one of the best songs of the set.
–Blew is fucking awesome with two guitars. And it’s played extremely well in this set.
-The electric version of Man Who Sold the World is totally fucking better than the Unplugged version. It made for a great live cover and it’s awesome this set was one of the times they included it. One of the best songs on the CD/DVD.
-The familiar opening riff of School fucking DESTROYS when Pat Smear’s guitar kicks in. Tight as shit.
The other songs are great, but I picked out the ones that really stood out to me, and remember I’ve heard about 9000 Nirvana bootlegs in my life. It’s all subjective anyway. The bottom line is that this show is recorded VERY well and stands up to the test of time like a champ. Seeing it is even better than hearing it.
The DVD also contains a bunch of stuff from rehearsal/sound check that I’m not going to pick through. It’s worth a watch if you like to see what shit was like behind the scenes, but it’s not especially unusual or amazing to watch. The band cautiously goes through the motions. Clearly they saved their energy for the actual live performance.
And that’s it. Part 3 of a 3 part review. In the end, this 3 CD set is worth every penny. Sadly according to Krist Novoselic this is pretty much all that’s left of the unheard audio from Nirvana. On the good side, he has also mentioned that there is still a ton of video to be seen, so we can all expect more DVD action as time goes on.
But overall it’s a really great look at the development and performance of one rock’s more important albums and you will enjoy all of the new shit they jammed into the set. In Utero is my personal favorite Nirvana record, and this set just reinforces what I already knew. It still rocks as hard today as it did then.