On October 30th, 1992, Nirvana played their first (and only show) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Taking place at Estadio José Amalfitani, the performance proved infamous for several reasons: Coming on the heels of Nevermind, the 50,000-capacity stadium made for one of the band’s biggest shows to date. But after opening act Calamity Jane received a less than positive reception, Kurt Cobain threatened to cancel the gig outright.
Ultimately, Nirvana did take the stage and openly mocked the audience by playing mostly rarities and the backend of Nevermind. What’s more, Cobain preceded several songs with the opening chords to “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, but never actually performed the entire song.
Most notable, however, was how the band chose to open the gig: “Nobody Knows I’m New Wave”, as fans have come to know it, is one of only a handful of Nirvana songs never to be released. Nirvana archivists theorize the impromptu jam was made up on the spot, though it did include some insightful lyrics (“I promise to shit on your head”/ “I’m new wave/ I’m old school”).
A video of the entire performance hit the Internet late last year and was recently discovered by Dangerous Minds. Watch it below.
Nobody Knows I’m New Wave
Come as You Are
About a Girl
Been a Son
On a Plain
Cobain’s memories of the gig were relayed in the 2004 book Nirvana: The Chosen Rejects:
“When we played Buenos Aires, we brought this all-girl band over from Portland called Calamity Jane,” Kurt recalled. “During their entire set, the whole audience—it was a huge show with like sixty thousand people—was throwing money and everything out of their pockets, mud and rocks, just pelting them. Eventually the girls stormed off crying. It was terrible, one of the worst things I’ve ever seen, such a mass of sexism all at once. Krist, knowing my attitude about things like that, tried to talk me out of at least setting myself on fire or refusing to play. We ended up having fun, laughing at them (the audience). Before every song, I’d play the intro to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and then stop. They didn’t realize that we were protesting against what they’d done. We played for about forty minutes, and most of the songs were off Incesticide, so they didn’t recognize anything. We wound up playing the secret noise song (‘Endless, Nameless’) that’s at the end of Nevermind, and because we were so in a rage and were just so pissed off about this whole situation, that song and whole set were one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had.”