The First Night

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When Nirvana launched a U.S. tour in October 1993, the band's performances were extensively recorded by bootleggers. Many fans believed Nirvana to be the most important band of the 1990s, and some of the more devoted fans proved quite receptive to the dozens of bootlegs that resulted from that tour. One of those bootlegs was The First Night, which was recorded at Vets Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix on October 18, 1993. Though some of those bootleg CDs boasted audiophile-like sound quality, The First Night isn't one of them. The sound quality isn't bad, but it isn't great, either. Although the CD was probably recorded from the soundboard, neither the instruments nor Kurt Cobain's lead vocals are as well mixed as they could have been. The performances themselves, however, are fine -- Nirvana is gutsy, forceful and inspired on familiar songs like "Heart-Shaped Box," "Smells Like Teen Spirit," "Come as You Are," "Rape Me," and "Lithium." Despite the imperfect sound, this 19-song CD has no problem illustrating the vitality of Nirvana.