Sound — 7
Blistering from the opening squeals of "Drain You," this iconic performance in Amsterdam from 1991 isn't perfect, but shows the band at it's zenith. Kurt Cobain sounds strained, drained and burned out, which only adds to the chaotic and sometimes uncomfortable atmosphere of the performance. On the technical side of things this is a live bootleg, so sound quality at times is somewhat strained due to recording and vinyl limitations of length per side. Another error being the very inaccurate track listing on the back of the LP. Although the Reading Festival is one of the most well known performances, "Amsterdam Love Buzz" stands out as one of the last testaments near the end of the life of front man Cobain as well the band as a whole.
Lyrics — 8
This concert is most well known from the "Live! Tonight! Sold Out!" DVD which uses this performance, to an accurate effect, to illustrate just how tired and exhausted from their sudden as he was. His vocals are absolutely shredded to a at times almost of of tune extent, guitar parts off, one song being completely out of tune. But what all this was expression from a highly emotional artist at life's darker moments. Nirvana fans as well as more accepting listeners can find something beautiful, destructive, and at the same time meaningful. Kurt Cobain was known to always try and subvert his audience with a very personally intense and yet entirely bored and reluctant show.
Overall Impression — 9
For this show Nirvana played a 17 song set which I'll briefly describe here: Side A 1. "Drain You" - Pretty solid version, setting a sense of urgency from the get go. 2. "Aneurysm" - Also done well. 3. "School" - Here the cracks begin to show more w/ Kurt's voice, still a good performance. 4. "Floyd The Barber" - Now his voice is already deteriorating which creates a very strained feeling throughout this song. 5. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" - A completely by-the-numbers speed through of the song. 6. "About a Girl" - Very shaky performance, the tiredness comes through a lot, and "Polly" coming next gives everyone a bit of a chance to rest and get ready for the second half of the night. 7. "Polly" - Another rushed run through, this version being in the "Nevermind" style. Good but unremarkable. Side B 1. "Lithium" - By the second side the apathy has turned more to frustration and anger with this being a fairly heavy and assaulting version of the song. This is also where the performance begins becoming memorable, even through the tired and pained performance by Kurt. 2. "Sliver" - Starting of more restrained, this is overall a less ferocious playing up until the second half where things start get more punk frantic. 3. "Breed" - A messy performance but still full of a tons of energy. By now the band have gotten their second wind before the exhaustion of the next song. 4. "Come As You Are" - This is easily the stand-out of the night. Out of tune, shouted and pained to the point of being utterly heartbreaking. This shows the band at their most haunting, burnt out and yet most memorable. 5. "Been a Son" - A very likeable and refreshingly fun play through, solid and enjoyable. 6. "Negative Creep" - The energy stays high with this one, a third wind for the band w/ Kurt's voice sounding still shredded as ever but w/ more emotion behind it now. 7. "On a Plain" - Another good performance, sound tech problems persistence aside. 8. "Blew" - Solid run through of a classic Nirvana show "closer." 9. "Love Buzz" - The encore of the night, nearly asleep w/ exhaustion the song is still a lot of fun to hear. While easily available from YouTube, this performance has never had an official release (from what I have been able to find) other than the bootlegs floating around in the form of compilations or the LP which I'm reviewing. While I don't think it was their best it is certainly an interesting listen into what it was like to be where Nirvana was at that time, as this very raw and emotional performance shows.