Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged In New York record is made up of one of the best—and most unlikely—acoustic sets from a popular band in the last few decades. Before it came out, the idea that a group best known for albums and shows filled with extremely loud guitars and Kurt Cobain’s ragged, often-screamed vocals would so naturally take to the more intimate setting seemed unlikely. But, as is clear to anyone who listens to or watches the set, their stripped-down approach to the material turned out so well. It’s nice, then, that for no discernible reason in particular, Nirvana’s official YouTube channel has been uploading a treasure trove of remastered videos from the show, including unedited performances and rehearsal footage.
Two of the clips consist of remastered and uncut versions of “About A Girl” and “Come As You Are,” both mainly just being slightly better looking and sounding recordings of what appeared on the album. As a bonus, though, you get to see trimmed seconds of stuff like Cobain breathing into his mic like a vampire before starting to play the show’s opener or him introducing cellist Lori Goldston and guitarist Pat Smear—“a certified honorary punk rocker”—after finishing “Come As You Are.”
Probably more interesting for Nirvana diehards, though, are the channel’s upload of rehearsal performances of “Polly,” “The Man Who Sold The World,” and “Come As You Are.” None of these sound wildly unlike what ended up recorded in the end, but each contains new versions of acoustic tracks we’ve heard a million times before and behind-the-scenes wrinkles like someone spiking the haunting “Polly” with a burp and various members requesting adjustments to the mix, working out kinks in song structure, making faces at the camera, and being called out by Cobain for taking too long getting started with the rehearsal.
Given the legal and bidding wars fought over Unplugged—from Cobain’s guitar to his threadbare old cardigan—it’s nice to have a piece of the band’s history being made available for free to the people who enjoy listening to the music more than obsessing over the set’s iconography. And hey, even if you don’t care all that much about Nirvana, these videos at least provide a reason to remember 1993 Dave Grohl’s exceptional ponytail again for a little while.
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