Nirvana – Unplugged in New York (1994)

Although it is a great album, I am often hesitant to choose Unplugged in New York from my library. Each time I listen, it seems I can feel the pain of Kurt Cobain. Listening to the whole performance is really an experience with a man nearing his death. It is haunting and emotional.

Nirvana and Kurt Cobain choose only a few hits for the whole evening. Instead, they play covers and invite another band, Meats Puppets, to join them for three songs. It is a rare opportunity to hear Nirvana in a variety of genres and to appreciate Kurt’s versatility. Highlights among the covers include Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam and The Man Who Sold The World.

While the covers show Kurt Cobain’s talent, the originals reveal his emotions and his tortured life. About A Girl, Come As You Are, and All Apologies are my favorites. For me, it is always tough to go through the middle of the album, where the most depressing moments reside.

Although the Meats Puppets songs are very good, Kurt still has one more trick up his sleeve. Nirvana ends the show with a traditional blues song, Where Did You Sleep Last Night?, arranged by Lead Belly. Hearing Kurt screaming at the end gives me goosebumps. It is such a brilliant performance that makes me grieve his untimely death even more.

The potential is there. The talent is there. He just dies too young, too soon.

Youtube playlist (DVD version):

Tracklist: (bold = favorite)

About A Girl
Come As You Are
Jesus Don’t Want Me For A Sunbeam
The Man Who Sold The World
Pennyroyal Tea
On A Plain
Something In The Way
Oh, Me
Lake Of Fire
All Apologies
Where Did You Sleep Last Night?