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Nirvana Played the Arizona State Fair Exactly 20 Years Ago Today

Nirvana back during their Pat Smear days.
Nirvana back during their Pat Smear days.
alternativenation.net

Were deep in the midst of the Arizona State Fair's annual spate of concerts -- including tonight's Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers gig at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum -- and wanted to take look back at one of the more significant shows to take place at the event, which happened to occur exactly 20 years ago today.

Back on October 18, 1993, grunge rock vanguards Nirvana played to a packed house at coliseum and performed what would be their final Phoenix show ever.

The show came approximately six months before singer Kurt Cobain's suicide and served the official kickoff to their In Utero tour and, as such, featured statues of winged pregnant women (similar to those depicted on the album's art work) on stage.

It was a lengthy show (which satisfied State Fair's penchant to book at least one tastemaking band each year) as Nirvana's set lasted 21 songs including the encore, and had tunes from all three of the band's major discs. Plus Germs member Pat Smear on guitar as he had been added to the lineup at that point, and even got an introduction by future Foo Fighter Dave Grohl.

The illustrate how long ago the show was -- other than the fact that Cobain was still alive -- the show was sponsored by the old KZRX (a.k.a. Z-Rock). While we couldn't find any footage of the show itself (probably because video camera were the size of bricks back then) there's an remarkably decent bootleg of the show that available on YouTube.

It picks up during the second song of the set and includes plenty of amusing between-song patter by the band. At around the 22 minute mark, Bassist Krist Noveselic even brought up the band's now-legendary gig at the old Mason Jar and possibly made a joke at the expense of its famously stingy owner Franco Gagliano.

"Did anyone ever come to a show in 1990 at the Mason Jar where Nirvana played with Tad? Are you one of the 10 people out there?," Noveselic says. "We had to pay rent on the microphones...and we woke up in front of strange houses."

For you Nirvana completists, here's the complete set list for the concert.

Radio Friendly Unit Shifter Drain You Breed Serve the Servants About a Girl Heart-Shaped Box Sliver Dumb In Bloom Come as You Are Lithium Pennyroyal Tea School Polly Milk It Rape Me Territorial Pissings Smells Like Teen Spirit All Apologies Blew (encore) Endless, Nameless (encore)

Find more Arizona State Fair concerts via our online concert calendar.

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