This is going to be the shortest Blu-ray review of my illustrious career. Why? I can answer that one quite easily. It’s because this review is about a band that I would gladly lay down my life in defense of any day of the week against attacks of slander, malicious propaganda or evil naysaying. Their mere existence on this planet gave and continues to give the propulsion, motivation, drive, passion, energy/octane and encouragement necessary for me to be all I can be in life and NO ONE is going to contradict or say other wise without having words with me face-to-face. Of course, I’m talking about the legendary grunge band from Seattle, Washington that’s responsible for starting a musical revolution and catapulting the careers of so many others to follow, ladies and gentlemen…NIRVANA.
Live at the Paramount, on Blu-ray, was released yesterday to coincide in celebration as part of the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s Nevermind album. What a day! The Blu-ray concert disc features a never-before released live performance of the legendary grunge rockers at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle from October 31, 1991. In case anyone cares, I saw the band live exactly two years later on Halloween night in Akron, OH. Anyway, I digress…
And it should be noted, that before I go any farther in this review…I wanted to give a big round of applause and special thanks to Justin Sluss over at High Def Disc News for him letting me use these Nirvana screenshots he has online here. Thanks Justin!
What makes this previously unreleased show so special is the fact that it’s the only live Nirvana concert recorded on 16mm film. But wait! There’s more! With the good news always comes the bad, right? Until December 27th of this year, this Blu-ray disc remains a Best Buy Exclusive. Boo! That’s right. The blue and yellow guys win this round.
It should also be noted that I dispute the claim “previously unreleased” as a whole in reference to this Blu-ray. Some of the performances of “About a Girl,” “Breed,” “Polly,” and “Endless, Nameless” were previously released on the live home video compilation Live! Tonight! Sold Out! Being the hardcore Nirvana freak I am, I instantly recognized those scenes. In addition, the audio of “Negative Creep” was previously released on the live compilation album From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah. And last but not least, “Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam” was previously released on the DVD of the box set With The Lights Out. Now that you are armed, use this knowledge however you chose.
So you are probably all wondering with me being such a huge Nirvana nut, why only a score of 4 here, right? Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic to finally have my boys home kicking a$$ on the Blu-ray format, but let’s face it…this isn’t their finest moment. I have seen and heard far better performances from the group, but in the meantime, Live at the Paramount is rightfully their heavyweight champion on the Blu-ray format that intimately captures a visceral performance of the band right before they took over Michael Jackson, annihilated the Top 20 charts and conquered the world. Does it get any better than this?
The Blu-ray concert features the following 19 tracks in the order they appear below.
“Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam”
“Floyd The Barber”
“Smells Like Teen Spirit”
“About A Girl”
“Been A Son”
“On A Plain”
P.S. I love the Catwoman-like sexy dancers they have on stage during “Rape Me.” Brilliant, Kurt!
Alright, so here’s the deal. Do you remember how soft and muted Black Swan looked on the Blu-ray format? If not, I’ll pause for a moment while you go check it out. Okay! You back? Good! Well, like Black Swan, Live at the Paramount was also shot on 16mm film. What you see is what you get. There’s nothing wrong with this Blu-ray’s picture. It’s just not as polished as your current Hollywood blockbuster film. The visuals are as rough and aggressive as the band’s legendary sound and quite frankly, you will only hear me say this once about a Blu-ray’s inferior appearance, I couldn’t be happier with it! It should also be noted that you have the option to view the MPEG-4 AVC encoded concert in full film frame (1:37:1 pillar-boxed) or 16:9 widescreen optimized. I’ll leave it up to you to check it out and see what works best for you.
Let me be the first to say, if it hasn’t been said already, this Blu-ray kicks some serious a$$ in the audio department. The disc’s three choices of PCM Stereo, PCM 5.1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 all peel the paint off the walls. It’s not as eloquent and thunderous as my favorite sounding Blu-ray concert audio, some Beyonce disc I forgot the name of, but it’s balls to the walls and once again…I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER. The crisp sound of Kurt’s voice instantly transported me right back to 1991 and I honest to God, did not want to come back to reality, but I had to for sake of this review, of course.
If you are a loyal Blu-ray supporter, like myself, then you’re out of luck in this department. Geffen left us high and dry here. You get nothing but the big goose egg fellow reviewer Gerard Iribe is so fond of. The DVD version of Live at the Paramount, NOT the Blu-ray, includes four music videos for the four singles from the historic Nevermind album. I would have been happy with these being included, even if they were only presented in Standard Definition, but they ultimately were not. What the ‘eff Geffen?!
However, it should be noted, as per the image above, High Def Disc News owner, Justin Sluss, found two hidden live performances and an intro sequence for the disc’s menu. The two live performances are “Breed” and “Territorial Pissings.” Both performances are live from Commondore Ballroom in Vancouver, British Columbia on March 8, 1991 and feature PCM Stereo sound. Leave it to Nirvana to hide something. LOL.
Once again, thank you Justin! I searched high and low for ways to access these on the Blu-ray disc so if you know of anyway, please post those directions in the comment section below. I would be most appreciative!
If you call yourself a Nirvana fan, then why the F are you still reading this? You should have been out the door on your way to Best Buy the moment I said hello to you in this review and if that’s not the case, then I just provided a very non-selfish generous link to order it online and pick it up later. Who ever said that I‘m not thoughtful? I look out for the people with jobs and responsibilities. Enjoy this gem!