Steph and I recently watched one of those “making of” documentaries about Nirvana’s groundbreaking “Nevermind” album. The end of the documentary had some live footage of the band doing “Breed” and just making a mess of the stage, their instruments and themselves. It immediately brought me back to Halloween night, 1993. Three college friends and I made the 20 minute drive south from Kent State to the James A. Rhodes Arena on the campus of The University of Akron to see Nirvana on their “In Utero” tour.
It was a pretty terrific show, teetering the line between hard rock and PUNK rock. I have a bootleg of a Nirvana show from around this time, recorded in Italy – it is full on, straight up, balls out punk. I don’t remember which particular songs were best on that night in Akron, but I do remember being full of beer. And I clearly remember two particular events of that night.
- On the ride down I mused out loud that the band HAD to be up to something since it was Halloween night. I was correct. Kurt Cobain came out for the first song dressed in a large Barney the Dinosaur costume. I tell you what, it’s hard to not to really laugh when you see Barney the Dinosaur ripping off a guitar solo! Second guitar player Pat Smear was dressed as Slash (from Guns ‘N’ Roses). At the end of the song, the two wrestled and Barney ended up beating Slash about the head with his guitar (pictured right).
- During one song, somebody threw a shoe at Cobain and hit him. After the song, he grabbed the show, pissed in it, and threw it back out in the audience.
As I sit here 13-and-a-half years later, I’m somewhat stunned, but not at all surprised that I have the internet to keep those memories alive for me – the set list is here, just scroll down to October 31, 1993 – those two events are even mentioned in the summary. I remembered those two particular events because, well, there’s just some rock moments you don’t forget. But it’s really cool to be able to see that set list and even a bunch of pictures from that very fun night, as I was approaching graduation and a much different life.
I still have the ticket stub, too. I have HUNDREDS of stubs from concerts going back to 1987, in fact. More on those some other time.