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30th anniversary set of Nirvana's 'Nevermind' gives all you need in Super Deluxe Edition

The remastered album sounds better than 20th anniversary release, though perhaps not enough to justify buying it again. The main reason longtime fans will consider getting this set are the live shows.
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NIRVANA

NEVERMIND: SUPER DELUXE EDITION

Geffen/UMe (5-CD/1 Blu-ray)

4 Stars

By Gillian Gaar

Compared to the 20th anniversary edition of Nirvana’s breakthrough album, which featured B-sides, early versions and alternate mixes of tracks, outtakes, a live show, and a DVD, this 30th anniversary edition of Nevermind keeps it simple: a remastered version of the album, three B-sides, and four live shows (with video of one show on Blu-ray).

Though Kurt Cobain might have dreamed of success in his journals, Nevermind’s explosive sales took everybody by surprise. Nirvana’s label hoped they’d sell half as much as Goo, by labelmates Sonic Youth, which had sold 118,000 copies. Instead, it took off like a rocket, selling half a million copies five weeks after its release. In retrospect, as the band with the strongest pop sensibility among the Seattle’s “Big Four” (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains), it wasn’t surprising that they’d reach the broadest audience. Cobain, the band’s chief creative force, had perfected his pop/punk/hard rock blend, described by him as “The Knack and The Bay City Rollers being molested by Black Flag and Black Sabbath”; however hard a song rocked, it also had an irresistible hook.

The remastered album sounds better than 20th anniversary release, though perhaps not enough to justify buying it again. The main reason longtime fans will consider getting this set are the live shows. Nirvana fan forums have expressed disappointment about the choice of the shows (November 25, 1991, Amsterdam; December 28, 1991, Del Mar, California; February 1, 1992, St. Kilda, Melbourne, Australia; February 19, 1992, Tokyo, Japan) as being readily available elsewhere. Audio and video from the first two shows appeared on singles, the From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkahalbum and Live! Tonight! Sold Out!! DVD. The Del Mar and Australia shows were broadcast on radio, and thus were quickly circulated in trading circles.

So, no real rarities. But it is the first time all four shows have been officially released in their entirety. Cobain’s in the best voice at the Del Mar show; in the others, his raw, scraped voice is evidence of the rigors of the road (his rasping version of “Come As You Are” in Amsterdam is frightening). The set’s Blu-ray, which features the Amsterdam show, looks superior to the Live! Tonight! version. The accompanying book is limited to photos, including some lesser known shots; track listings provide the only text.

Not as diverse as the 20th anniversary set, but fans will likely appreciate getting four complete shows in good quality.

  

Note: There is also a 2-CD 30th Anniversary set available (see below), which you can order at the Goldmine shop, by clicking on the image below.

The 2-CD 30th Anniversary set of Nirvana's 'Nevermind' packs a really good 'best bang for your buck'!

The 2-CD 30th Anniversary set of Nirvana's 'Nevermind' packs a really good 'best bang for your buck'!