The usual knock on live albums is that they’re mere trinkets, souvenirs only of interest to those who were at the shows. This one, though, is a little different. There were a lot of people at the Reading Festival’s main stage on August 30, 1992; by some counts, 60,000.
But there are even more who say they were there, such is the status that Nirvana’s much-bootlegged Sunday-night headline slot has achieved in the years since it took place. Live At Reading is also different because, unlike most live records, it lives up to its reputation.
From the opening blast of Breed to the unlikely encores (two obscure punk covers and the fearsome Territorial Pissings), this is a rock group at the peak of its powers, not necessarily delighted with the global success that’s recently come their way but confident enough to blast their way through the discomfort. The group never again performed in the UK, but it’s unlikely that they could have bettered this set.