As many fans have already know, this year marks the 20th anniversary of Nirvana's final studio album "In Utero." Not only did the band re-release the album to commemorate the event, they also released the uncut version of the infamous "Live and Loud" concert. It's not as memorable as their unplugged performance, but for some reason this show is their grittiest, rawest, and most violent one yet. With a killer setlist and the guys giving one of their best performances, this is a show every Nirvana fan has to see.
The setlist is great mainly because it features so many songs from "In Utero." It seemed that the guys didn't get to perform these tracks a lot especially for television appearances, so it's great to hear many of them live. The often overlooked “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter” opens the show and if you never noticed the song before, this version will quickly make you a fan. Since it's the first song of the night it finally has a chance to be front and center, rather than being buried and forgotten like it is on the record. It's on this track that you can really hear how gravelly and rough Kurt's vocals are. There are moments during the show where you see him almost straining to get the notes out. This is what makes his voice one of the most recognizable even today.
There are the classic Nirvana songs found on the DVD, such as “Drain You” and “Breed” and as always they sound great, but there are a few songs here that standout from the others. One of them is “Serve the Servants.” Aside from sounding amazing there's nothing notable about the performance, but there's a slight lyric change during the second verse: “I tried hard to have a sister, but instead I had a dad.” It just sounds really good and puts a different spin on the well known song. Another great performance is “Scentless Apprentice.” This has always been a really brutal song and Nirvana really brings that vibe alive here. It's intense, loud, and filled with Kurt's angst ridden howls. But what really makes the concert a must have are the previously unaired tracks.
Just as with "Unplugged," this concert was previously aired on MTV where it was cut for broadcast purposes. Now fans can enjoy the show in its entirety and there are amazing songs that were cut out the first time around. One of these is the electric version of “The Man Who Sold the World.” The guys had already wowed viewers by playing this song acoustically, but here they transform it from a somber tune to an unapologetic rock song. Plus, they bring back cellist Lori Goldstein for several songs during the evening. Another great unaired track is the closer “Endless, Nameless.”
This song was part of the original broadcast, but it was shortened at the time. This has got to be the best version of the hidden tune. It begins with a cool bass jam that results in Krist pounding his bass on stage like he wants to kill it. The way this version starts out slow and menacing before exploding in a mass of noise and screaming, makes it one of the most brutal and violent performances of the song. And in Nirvana fashion the show ends with all their instruments being destroyed. As the credits run the camera pans over the grisly sight of snapped guitar necks, neglected bass bodies, and spilled water as if mapping out a crime scene.
Everyone loves DVDs for the bonus features, which is something concert films always lack. Nirvana fixes that by including some extra performances from the "In Utero" era. It even features rehearsal footage from the Live and Loud show. Though the sound isn't that great on the footage, it's still great to watch mainly because it shows the band playing “Very Ape,” which suggests that it was in their setlist at one time. The performances from French TV show "Nulle Part Ailleurs" are also notable because all the members sport matching formal attire similar to The Kinks. It's here where you'll also find a gut wrenching version of “Drain You.” This DVD is a great way to remind fans why both "In Utero" and Nirvana are so amazing.
Nirvana's "Live and Loud" is available now as either part of the super deluxe re-issue of "In Utero" or a a stand alone DVD. You can grab your copy of the DVD and the 20th anniversary re-release of the album at Nirvana's official website.