In October 1992, Nirvana were at the peak of their powers and were undoubtedly one, if not, the hottest band in the world. As a band, they won the heart’s of millions across the globe world thanks to the success of Nevermind the year before. The Seattle punks gained a reputation for putting on notorious shows like their Reading headline performance, but this gig in the Argentinian capital is famous for the band deciding to self-sabotage it, but not without good reason.
They had managed to go from an underground Seattle band to selling-out the close to 50,000 capacity José Amalfitani Stadium, home of Argentinian top-flight football team Velez Sarsfield. However, Kurt Cobain noticed the negative reaction from the Argentinian crowd towards their hand-picked opening act Calamity Jane, this angered Cobain so much that he nearly called the entire show off.
Rather than cancel the show they decided to bite the bullet and performed, but they didn’t treat their fans to a trademark Nirvana performance. The show was shoddy, mixing up their set-list, they incorporated rare songs from their catalogue that they knew most of the audience wouldn’t be familiar with. Their final set included a couple of unreleased songs which isn’t exactly what you’d expect at a stadium gig. Luckily enough, the whole show was captured and you can witness the weirdness below.
Later on, Kurt would open up about his perspective on the show and why the band deciding to do what they did. Cobain said: “When we played Buenos Aires, we brought this all-girl band over from Portland called Calamity Jane,” Kurt recalled. “During their entire set, the whole audience—it was a huge show with like sixty thousand people—was throwing money and everything out of their pockets, mud and rocks, just pelting them. Eventually, the girls stormed off crying. It was terrible, one of the worst things I’ve ever seen, such a mass of sexism all at once. Krist, knowing my attitude about things like that, tried to talk me out of at least setting myself on fire or refusing to play. We ended up having fun, laughing at them (the audience).
He revealed: “Before every song, I’d play the intro to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and then stop. They didn’t realise that we were protesting against what they’d done. We played for about forty minutes, and most of the songs were off Incesticide, so they didn’t recognise anything. We wound up playing the secret noise song (‘Endless, Nameless’) that’s at the end of Nevermind, and because we were so in a rage and were just so pissed off about this whole situation, that song and whole set were one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had.” (from Nirvana: The Chosen Rejects)