Dave Grohl Was Terrified Of Nirvana Festival Performance 2019 In Review

William Lee | 01-01-2020

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Dave Grohl Was Terrified Of Nirvana Festival Performance was a top 19 story of Aug. 2019: Ahead of the Foo Fighters headline performance at this year's Reading Festival, frontman Dave Grohl shared that he was terrified before Nirvana's debut at the leading UK music event.

Nirvana played the festival in 1991 and looked back on the experience in a recent interview with NME. He shared how first learned of it from Mudhoney's Dan Peters.

"I said, 'Where the f*** was that?' He said 'Reading Festival in England'. I said 'What is that?' and he told me, 'This huge music festival where loads of bands get together and play'. I just couldn't imagine 35,000 people getting together to see bands like Mudhoney or Nirvana. It just didn't happen in America."

Grohl then shared that he was terrified when shortly after that he saw that Nirvana was scheduled to play the event. "Then when I saw that it was on our itinerary maybe a year later, I was f***ing terrified. I would wake up every morning in this panic attack in a fit of anxiety, knowing that there was this festival that I was going to have to play in front of 35,000 people - which I had never done. When we got there that day, I realized how big it really was."

Dave was surprised at the magnitude of the event. He said, "it blew me away that this many people got together to listen to our type of music. The closest thing we had in America was Lollapalooza, but there was something about this that just seemed like something was about to happen. It really did feel like you were at the start of a revolution. It was cool."

Nirvana went from one of the middle of the roster bands in 1991 to headlining the festival the next year. He reflected on that experience,
"So much had happened in those 12 months. The band had obviously had its ups and downs. ... I didn't expect much. Kurt [Cobain] had been in and out of rehab, the band hadn't really done much in the months leading up to it and everything just seemed sort of scattered and disconnected. We'd had one rehearsal a few days before and it just didn't feel grounded."

But Dave says that the show "just magically came together" and that it "was an amazing show. It had a lot to do with the audience, I think. I remember walking backstage and bumping into friends from other bands who would look at me and say, What are you doing here?' I'd say 'We're f***ing headlining!' and they'd say, 'You're actually gonna play?'

"They were just surprised we showed up. For it to turn out to be such a beautiful evening was just something else, and unfortunately the last time we played the U.K."

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