10/25/93…Nirvana @ Aragon Ballroom, Chicago

Nirvana @ Aragon Ballroom 10/25/93

Nirvana @ Aragon Ballroom 10/25/93

Sooooo…what’s wrong with this picture??  Look closely at this ticket stub.  Still not sure?  Well, it’s intact.  The right half hasn’t been torn off.  Do you know what that means?  Yup…Ding Ding Ding…that I didn’t go to this show.  WHAT??!!!  Yup.    I didn’t go to this show.  I bought my ticket on my own with the expectation that my friend and her boyfriend would also buy tickets and we’d all go together.  Since it was a general admission show we didn’t have to worry about sitting together.  What went wrong is that they never bought their tickets because they were broke.  And at this time, I had never been to a show by myself, nor did I intend to go by myself.  I thought about it, but at the end of the day I chose not to go.  Am I an idiot or what??  I guess I thought I had more time.  I guess I had no idea that in just over five months Kurt Cobain would shoot himself and I would NEVER have the opportunity to see them again.  This is definitely one of my biggest regrets.  And I kept the ticket stub to remind me to never let any opportunity slip by me.  Life is short and you never know what might happen in the future.  I try to take advantage of every opportunity as it presents itself to me so I don’t look back with regret.  The ironic thing about missing this show is that supposedly it sucked.  Here’s a brief summary that someone posted online about the show…

  • “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was not played.
  • While there are no other known performances of “Love Buzz” on this tour, multiple attendees distinctly remember it being played here.
  • Many people in attendance have said the show was horrible. The band was reportedly booed by the audience.
  • Kurt snapped at the audience for throwing wet T-shirts on stage, shorting out the effects pedals.
  • After the show was over and the house lights came on, Kurt ran back onstage, dove into the audience, crowd surfed for a bit, made his way back to the stage, then exited into the stage right curtains, according to attendees.

I found out after the show that another friend of mine was there and he also told me it sucked.  It almost made me feel better until Kurt was dead…and gone.  Then it didn’t even matter.  Here’s the set list for the night.  I really wish I could have been there to enjoy it or even to not have enjoyed it myself.  Even without “Smells Like Teen Spirit” it still looks pretty great.  I still love Nirvana to this day!

  1. Radio Friendly Unit Shifter
  2. Drain You
  3. Breed
  4. Serve the Servants
  5. Heart-Shaped Box
  6. Sliver
  7. In Bloom
  8. Come as You Are
  9. Lithium
  10. Pennyroyal Tea
  11. School
  12. Polly
  13. Rape Me
  14. Territorial Pissings
  15. Jesus Doesn’t Want Me for a Sunbeam
(The Vaselines cover)
  16. Where Did You Sleep Last Night
(Lead Belly cover)
  17. On a Plain
  18. Endless, Nameless

Note: Incomplete set list


  1. Eric Grebner says:

    I went to the 10/25, and watched from the back. The show sucked because of the technical difficulties and for the show being cut short. Since you ask, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was definitely not played 10/25. Granted, it probably would’ve been a better experience if we had made a better effort to get closer. Just like you, I had assumed there would be more chances in the future, including the rumored 1994 Lalapalooza slot.

    The 10/25 show, though, was particularly disappointing because the 10/24 SChicago Tribune had written a giant review on how epically kick-ass the 10/23 Aragon Ballroom show had been.

    So after leaving the 10/25 show, we joked about having just seen Nirvana’s worse show of all time and missing their best show of all time two day’s earlier.

    The Rolling Stone issue a couple months later confirmed it when Kurt himself mentioned these Chicago shows as their best and worst of the tour.

    • manzana88 says:

      Ugh, Eric, I’m not sure what’s worse…going to the worst show or having a ticket for the worst show and just not going! 🙁

  2. Mark says:

    Teen Spirit was NOT played.

    The band was not booed. There were technical difficulties that made the sound pretty rough at times. Kurt joked they were recording a live album.

    The ending came outta nowhere, if I recall. I thought they ended with where did you sleep, but I could be wrong.

    Kurt jumped on my friend and was on top of him face to face.

  3. Anonymous says:

    i went to this concert, when I was 10 years old. My mom was the editor at a radio station in Chicaho and while I was a big Nirvana fan my birthday present was to see this show, and my mom and dad were bigger Nirvana fans than I was. It was absolutely amazing. Nirvana totally rocked. My mom, dad and I got very close to the stage but not in the mosh pit. It was so cool because all the mosh pit dudes were having a good time but also totally looking out for me (I was 10 yrs old) and being really cool about it. I thought the show was amazing but then I read the Kurt Coabin Rolling Stone interview where he said it was the worst show Nirvana ever played. Bummer. I’m sad Kurt didn’t have a good time because everyone in the audience had an amazing time that night. And I love david Fricke but when he said in the article that everyone booed because they didn’t play “Smells Like Teen Spirit” he was wrong, that didn’t happen. Everyone had a great time at this show. At the end it was funny, Kurt was like “show’s over, do you guys want me to break something?” and of course the crowd wailed and said yes and then Kurt grabbed a small amp and threw it on the ground and then walked off stage. It was my first concert ever and I thought it was amazing. Still can’t believe I have the most amazing parents to take me a 10-year old kid to see Nirvana.

  4. John says:

    I was at this show. I was definitely at the show on the 25th, not the super awesome, best show ever on the 23rd. First of all, yes, of course you are an idiot for not going. I say that with tongue and cheek and not as a personal dig. But sure, you always go if you have a ticket, even if it’s by yourself. You learned the hard way. It was a rough show. I’ve been reading about it and that is how I found your page. What none of the articles seems to mention is that the power went out. They ended up playing some acoustic stuff on stage and this was a couple of months before Unplugged was recorded. I could be wrong but in my mind I distinctly remember it. At the time I was disappointed that I’d picked this show rather than the show on the 23rd. I think I was thinking that I’d give them a night or two to settle in and that the second show would be better. Oops. Whatever, no regrets at all for going. And hey, it’s been 22 years. I bet you’ve seen some great shows since. I know I have!

    • manzana88 says:

      What a great add to the story…never heard about the power going out. I’m pretty sure I bought a ticket for this night because the first show had sold out. I will ALWAYS regret missing this show. But I definitely learned since then. I learned to love going to shows by myself. It’s all about the music!!! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      I was at the show on the 23rd and it was a great show. They played a rough version of you know you’re right and it was the only time they ever performed that song. But you’re right about if you have a ticket you go, never know what you could be missing.

  5. Torry says:

    The setlist is very incomplete. Teen spirit was in fact played. And Love Buzz was not. The show lasted for almost two hours which is longer than any other show they played I believe. It’s the only time they ever played You Know Your Right in concert although it was named On A Mountain back then. There is a full audio recording of the show which is online, but I think you already found that out.

    Yes you are an idiot for not going.

    • manzana88 says:

      There were two shows. Did you go to the OTHER show?? Thanks for agreeing that I’m an idiot. lol

    • Maureen says:

      Torry-You are thinking of the show from 10/23.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yea right? I was at this show (as a 10-year old kid) and I read that Rolling Stone article where they said everyone booed and I don’t remember that. It was an amazing show and Kurt told David Fricke it was their worst show? I had a blast, I still can’t believe my first concert was Nirvana, so amazing. Remember Kurt throwing the amp and saying “hey do you want me to break something?” haha that was hilarious. Also David Fricke said they played “About A Girl” when they definitely did not.

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