• Record Label: Geffen
  • Release Date: Nov 3, 2009

Universal acclaim - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Live at Reading presents the band at its post-Nevermind peak. Watching Kurt Cobain radiate so much life is bound to trigger some tears.
  2. 100
    Hints of this could be heard on the live comp From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah, but this is a complete document of Nirvana in full flight and one of the greatest live rock & roll albums ever.
  3. However delayed Live at Reading‘s official release is, thankfully fans can finally rejoice and celebrate its long-awaited arrival. Few live shows are able to communicate a band’s heart and soul the way Nirvana’s is brilliantly encapsulated here.
  4. Live at Reading effectively grants you side-stage access to the band in their mosh-pit-stoking, drum-set-toppling, putting you as close to the action as the band's mysterious friend Tony, who's seen flailing onstage throughout the show like an epilpetic Bez.
  5. Filter
    Songs like these are why Nirvana was king and this show proves why the band was peerless. Suddenly Nirvana is everything to me all over again. [[Holiday 2009, p. 92]
  6. Live at Reading is a corrective to all that [i.e. journals, Guitar Hero], a reminder that nothing so trivial could ever sully music as irreducible as this.
  7. The official release of Nirvana’s headlining performance at the 1992 Reading Festival feels at once indescribable and quaint.
  8. Reading is a far cry from pop-chart fodder. And while the jarring howl of Cobain's Fender and his gravelly delivery may alienate the more nonchalant corners of their fanbase, these ferocious renditions will be a godsend to the dyed-in-the-wool Nirvana following.
  9. 90
    Nirvana's headlining gig at the 1992 Reading Festival looms infamously large because of (a) that amazingly creepy photo of Kurt getting wheeled onto the stage looking like Norman Bates' mother, and (b) the show was a mind-blower--sloppy indie rock as stadium-filling psychedelic punk.
  10. New DVD/CD combo Live at Reading rides the wave of mutilation that was Nevermind, but its best moments dump Bleach, the busy shoot pausing to catch Cobain picking out debut detention "School."
  11. Nirvana launch into a 90-minute onslaught of fugly-beautiful grunge-guitar fury.
  12. This Reading appearance-released for the first time on the CD/DVD package "Live at Reading"-captured the trio's skill at turning simple power chords into some of the most memorable rock anthems of the '90s.
  13. It’s a monster of a concert film in any case, with a band at the height of its powers--and not yet totally sick of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit.'
  14. So it’s good, but given the large amount of quality Nirvana concert stuff out there, does Live At Reading really have much by way of USP? Probably, yeah, if only because it's the band's sole full electric gig commercially available.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 127 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 6 out of 127
  1. FrankieB.
    Dec 10, 2009
    Whenever something gets critical acclaim on this site im a little bit skeptical, but i have to say that metacritics rating is completely on Whenever something gets critical acclaim on this site im a little bit skeptical, but i have to say that metacritics rating is completely on the money. Nirvana in my opinion is the second best alternative rock band of the 90's (Helmet i consider the best overall 90's alt rock band, my criteria putting value on how much music they influenced, the bias of how well they speak to me as an individual, and the inevitable bias of "how popular they were". I understand Nirvana sold over ten times as much as Helmet but for some reason to me Helmet has a little more power). The ENERGY of this disc is FUCKIN AMAZING. Prior to hearing Live At Reading, it was AWHILE before i felt genuinely invigorated by a rock album. I was actually feeling depressed about the music industry in general until i heard this cd. When i heard the frenetic energy of this music, and Kurt Kobain's agonized, quirky delivery, I felt as rebellious and pissed off as i did when i was 15, and i mean that as the highest praise i can think of. I also recognize "School" as one of the most cathartic rock anthems ever made. All the material covered on this, which is mostly from Bleach and Nevermind and a handful of tracks from In Utero, are performed at the pinnacle of cathartic intensity. Full Review »
  2. LukeG.
    Nov 16, 2009
    Amazing, that's all I can say.
  3. JoseC.
    Dec 17, 2009
    A Perfect Capturing of a Moment in Time in which Nirvana Captivated the World with their music, and we Forever knew no peer to Cobain.