There’s more than a little similarity between the guitar riff to Nirvana’s breakthrough hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and the slick 70s rock band Boston’s smash “More Than a Feeling,” and Nirvana puckishly pointed that out at the 1992 Reading Festival by beginning “Teen Spirit” with a couple of choruses of the Boston song.
Then they ripped through a gloriously ragged version of their own song, complete with light show and the most ramshackle guitar solo in the history of ramshackle guitar solos. This was their largest setlist the band's final UK performance.
“Watching the video will show just how excited tens of thousands of people were to see Nirvana's first show in almost 2 months, first UK show in over 9, and last UK show ever. The longest setlist they ever did, they hit every corner of their catalog...”
Nirvana’s “MTV Unplugged” performance included some of the hits, but it was also full of covers that showed where they’d come from and, maybe, where they might go: three songs from the Arizona-based Meat Puppets, one from Leadbelly, and this David Bowie classic that Cobain managed to make sound confessional.
In November 1994, seven months after the death of Kurt Cobain, the performance was released as MTV Unplugged in New York, which debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. It won the Best Alternative Music Performance at the 1996 Grammy Awards, Nirvana's only Grammy Award win, and has since been ranked one of the greatest live albums of all time.
This is easily the best known Nirvana performance and for good reason — it was incredible. A band that is notoriously electric, unplugged their instruments and performed beautifully delicate versions of their usually hard-hitting tracks as well as a number of obscure covers.
Cobain had become a star, and was trying to grapple with a fame that he clearly found uncomfortable if not unbearable.