What is probably known as Nirvana’s worst show took place on January 16th in 1993, in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Cobain had an overdose only a few hours prior. It was the band’s first gig in a while and their management was extremely nervous, knowing full well that they hadn’t practised at all and were uncertain whether they would even show up.
Considering the contributing factors, the gig wasn’t as bad as it seems now, although Cobain was acting out of order and seemed particularly out of it. It only took 30 minutes into the show when Cobain walked off the stage. Before that, the frontman was romping all over the shop, damaging equipment and not really taking the show all that seriously. At first, bandmates Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl were egging him on as show of support for their leader, but Cobain’s behaviour became too erratic and distant.
The night in Sao Paolo came to its deadening climax when Cobain squeezed a watermelon into his buzzing guitar. He also continuously smashed the instrument onto the ground. There were some points of hilarity when Nirvana did an interesting rendition of Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’, changing the lyrics to ‘We Will Fuck You’.
Needless to say, the show was a mess.
Their following concert, on January 23rd, took place in Rio De Janeiro where, during an encore, Kurt Cobain and the rest of Nirvana made up for their previous sloppy performance. This set was tighter and presented the band as the powerful trio they were supposed to be.
After finishing their set with ‘Scentless Apprentice’, the band then left the stage only to come back to a cheering audience. This time, drummer Dave Grohl wore a bra and a backwards cap while Cobain had a dress on while donning a tiara. While waiting for Cobain to rejoin them, Grohl and Novoselic teased the beginning of Aerosmith’s ‘Sweet Emotion’.
After around two minutes, Nirvana’s rhythm section proceeds to break into the rare gem of a song, ‘Dive’, from their compilation record, Incesticide, which contains previously unreleased tracks from the grunge band.
Courtney Love, according to the biography on Cobain, Heavier Than Heaven, loved the song. “It is so sexy, and sexual, and strange, and haunting, I thought it was genius,” she said.
Famously, Cobain was always poetic in his lyrics and was never afraid to make bold statements either, in his songs or otherwise. “If any of you in any way hate homosexuals, people of different colour, or women, please do this one favour for us—leave us the fuck alone! Don’t come to our shows and don’t buy our records.” Cobain wrote these words in the liner notes of the first few pressings of Incesticide.
Watch Nirvana perform ‘Dive’, in all their ingenuity and drag, below.