Reading Festival 2021: Memories of the 1992 Nirvana Epic – their last in UK


Nirvana’s title at the Reading Festival in 1992 is considered one of the greatest performances in the history of the event.

The incredible set, based on the band’s hugely successful album Nevermind the year before, blew the Richfield Avenue crowd away.

Lead singer Kurt Cobain performed wearing a hospital gown as the band electrified a huge crowd on the last day of the festival.

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Even 29 years later, fans of the Seattle group will remember the performance with great fondness, as well as sadness, as it turned out to be Nirvana’s last performance in the UK.

Two years later, Cobain committed suicide at his home in Seattle when he was only 27 years old.

At the time of performance in August 1992, the group topped the charts with the classic song “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.

They were headlining the last day of the festival on Sunday night, but drummer Dave Grohl – now of the Foo Fighters – wasn’t too confident about a great performance, saying, “We rehearsed once, the day before, and it wasn’t good… I really thought, ‘this will be a disaster, this will be the end of our career for sure’. ”

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But the trio absolutely succeeded, creating a legendary performance with a mix of old and new material.

Talk to Kerrang! magazine, Grohl called the show a “truly magical moment.”

He said: “” The show was a truly reassuring and truly magical moment where everything came together at the right time.

“I think we had practiced once the day before and I just didn’t know if we could do it.

“It happened a bunch of times in Nirvana, where we were like, ‘My God, this is going to be a terrible disaster’ and then it would turn out to be something beautiful.”

The flagship performance underscored the group’s meteoric rise to success.

The trio had performed at the festival the year before, but were halfway through the bill. Barely 12 months later, they were at the top.

Nevermind sold 10 million copies and dethroned Michael Jackson’s Thriller from the top of the charts, ushering in the grunge era. It is still considered a classic album almost 30 years later.

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Rumors abounded before their 1992 set that Cobain had overdosed on drugs and the band wouldn’t be able to perform, which led to the hospital gown stunt.

After the success of Nevermind, the group released their last album In Utero the following year.

It is also considered a classic and a reissue of the single “Pennyroyal Tea” even reached No. 1 in 2014.

Cobain was found dead at his home in April 1994, after long-term problems with drug addiction and depression.

He is widely regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time.

List of Nirvana’s Reading 1992 sets

  • Elevate
  • Empty yourself
  • Aneurysm
  • School
  • Wick
  • In bloom
  • Come as you are
  • Lithium
  • About a girl
  • Tourette
  • Polly
  • Trade fair law
  • Smells like Teen Spirit
  • On a plain
  • Negative creep
  • Been a son
  • All my excuses
  • soufflé


  • Stupid
  • Stay away
  • spanking through
  • Love buzz
  • The money will come straight
  • D-7
  • Territorial p *** ings

Were you there in 1992? Email with your memories

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