View high resolution
Nirvana at the Reading Festival, 1991 (photo by Steve Gullick). From the New York Times Magazine’s What They Were Thinking feature:
DAVE GROHL (LEFT): There were 30,000, maybe 35,000 people at Reading. I’m not sure, but it was a lot bigger than any show I had ever played. I think this picture was taken before the gig, and the reason I can tell the diﬀerence between pre- and postgig is that Kurt was seriously injured by jumping into my drum set. That bottle he’s holding out toward the camera was some kind of incredibly potent cough syrup, and he was carrying that thing around like a ﬂask. So this is preshow, and he was drinking that cough syrup, which led him to dive into my drum set, which put him in a sling for the rest of the night. That gig was deﬁnitely a triumph.
Read Krist Novoselic’s recollection of this moment here.
So, little known fact: I was going to go to the fucking Reading Festival in 1991, specifically and completely to see Nirvana. I was living in Tel Aviv, it was easier to get there than it was to try to see them in Rome (another Rome-concert-trip fail: U2 with Pearl Jam opening, grr) and I was going to go to Reading. But without exception, every single British friend and person of my acquaintance did everything they could to talk me out of it: “It’s cold” “It’ll be miserable” “You’ve never been to a festival in Britain before, this is not what you are expecting” “Musically this experience will not be valid, standing in a field with thousands of other punters” and so I didn’t go. I can’t say, with high drama, WELL NOW I NEVER SAW NIRVANA because I had chances. I just didn’t think that I had to worry about it.