Time Travel with Nirvana, Halloween 1991, Sunday Night at Paramount


We’re looking for recommendations for arts and culture events in the Seattle area most Fridays. Today we’re heading to the Paramount Theater, which is showing a Nirvana concert film that was filmed at Paramount 30 years ago.

For a preview, KUOW’s Kim Malcolm spoke with Charles R. Cross, author of “Heavier than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain”. He was there for the concert on October 31, 1991.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Nirvana – Live at Paramount’s 30th Anniversary Screening

Charles R. Croix: I was in row G, which I think translates to ninth row, seat three. It was noisy. It didn’t matter where you sat because almost as soon as the lights went out for Nirvana everyone rushed to the stage and it was a crazy stage dive.

Fortunately, I didn’t have any major injuries at this show, but I have to admit there were a few times during the event that I thought I was going to get injured here. I might have backed off a bit at one point because it was out of control

It does not matter had only been released six weeks before, and It does not matter was a slow build. It actually didn’t become number one on the charts until early 1992, in January. So, in the fall of 1991, Nirvana was stars in Seattle, but stars nowhere else. Paramount ended up being the biggest venue they played in this fall It does not matter tower.

It was a huge thing in Seattle. There has probably never been a show in Seattle history that so many people wanted to be and weren’t there. The irony is that the show was sold out, that’s what the marquee said, but my friend Carl walked with me and he bought a $ 10 ticket outside. It wasn’t a hard ticket to get. He had only sold right before the day of the show. So you could have won $ 10 to see Nirvana on Halloween, 1991.

I think the other part of the fact that it’s legendary is just that Nirvana’s expectations later changed the relationship fans had with who they were. In 1991, in the fall, you were on the Nirvana rocket if you were at this show, and it was a limited group of people who got to see this rocket take off. They performed in 1992 at the Seattle Center Colosseum in front of 18,000 people, but it was more important that you were at Paramount than any other Nirvana show possibly in history.

There are a few people I spoke to who bought tickets for this that were too young at the time. For them, getting the chance to see this movie there is essentially as close as they can actually see Nirvana, which of course ended with Cobain’s death in 1994.

In some ways, it tries to put lightning back in a bottle to bring this movie back to where it was made, but there’s something special about being in the same place again. I mean it every time I walk into Paramount. I’m sure I will do it this weekend.

For me, and for a lot of the people who were there, the show is a reminder that we are truly 30 years older and that Kurt Cobain has been dead longer than he’s ever been alive. But it’s also a reminder that there was a time when music was vital, and it felt like the whole world was being recreated one night, Halloween 1991, at Paramount in Seattle.

Listen to the interview by clicking the play button above.


Corina C. Butler