Remember Nirvana's classic Reading Festival set from 1992?

24 August 2019, 19:00 | Updated: 24 August 2019, 19:01

The band's headline appearance at the festival would be the final time Nirvana played in the UK...

At Foo Fighters’ show in Gothenburg, Sweden on 5 June 2018, Dave Grohl played an amazing prank on the whole stadium full of fans. The venue was the location of Grohl’s fall in 2015,, which saw the frontman break his leg and cancel a number of dates, including Glastonbury.

The show was the first time that Foo Fighters had returned to the scene of the accident, so Big Dave had something lined up for the audience… when “Grohl” appeared onstage for the first song, he pitched head-first off the stage.

Only it wasn’t Dave Grohl, it was a stuntman, specially hired for the occasion. Fooled you!

It wasn’t the first time that Grohl had been involved in a prank on a huge crowd, however.

Way back at the Reading Festival ion 30 August 1992, when Dave Grohl was the drummer with Nirvana, the band decided to wind the audience up before they’d even played a note.

At the time Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was at the centre of much tabloid speculation. His relationship and marriage to Courtney Love was the source of much gossip, as was the birth of their daughter, Frances Bean, on 18 August - just over a week before Reading. There were rumours that the couple were drug addicts and that the band were about to split up.

Kurt Cobain at Reading, August 1992
Kurt Cobain at Reading, August 1992. Picture: Geoffrey Swaine/REX/Shutterstock

The band had recently been through some disagreements over royalties, so as Grohl told The Scotsman years later, “communication in the band was beginning to be strained”.

He went on: “We rehearsed once, the night before, and it wasn’t good…I really thought, ‘This will be a disaster, this will be the end of our career for sure’.”

Sunday was “Grunge Day” at Reading with performances from Mudhoney, L7, Screamning Trees and Cobain’s favourites The Melvins.

Kurt decided to kick off Nirvana’s headline set with a little joke. Journalist and friend of the band Everett True was backstage and noticed there was a wheelchair waiting in the wings. What did it mean?

True told Clash magazine that Kurt explained: “Oh, it’s meant to be a joke on the stuff journalists have been writing about me. The idea is I’m going to pretend to be ill, straight from hospital. Look, I’ve got some overalls somewhere and some hair extensions so I look more like Courtney…”

So True started the show by pushing Kurt - dressed in a Courtney Love blonde wig and dress - onto the stage in a wheelchair. Who was this? What the hell was this?

The confused audience were relieved to hear the band kick into the Nevermind track Breed. And then the show began to kick ass.

As Dave Grohl remembers: “It turned out to be a wonderful show, and it healed us for a little while.”

Although nobody knew it at the time, it was also to be Nirvana’s final gig in the UK.

Nirvana Reading Festival 1992 Setlist


Drain You




In Bloom

Come as You Are


About a Girl



Lounge Act

Smells Like Teen Spirit

On a Plain0

Negative Creep

Been a Son3

All Apologies




Stay Away

Spank Thru

Love Buzz

The Money Will Roll Right In


Territorial Pissings