On This Day in Music History: Nirvana Play What Would Be Their Final Show

When Nirvana embarked on their 1994 European tour, fans were likely unaware the grunge band was playing some of their last shows.

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By the time they played their final gig at Terminal 1 in Munich, Germany on March 1, 1994, Nirvana had already been flirting with the end, according to Rock and Roll True Stories. We would love to say the icons went out with a bang, but unfortunately, that was not the case that night in the old airplane hangar-turned-music venue.

In support of their third studio album, In Utero, the band was originally scheduled to take on a 3-month-long stint across the continent that would come to a close on April 8 in Dublin, Ireland.

However, touring proved to be a strain on Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain who was affected by the rigorous schedule, and who was also at the mercy of heroin addiction. He was reportedly having trouble scoring dope in Europe and was suffering from the resulting withdrawals.

The book I Found My Friends: The Oral History of Nirvana detailed a change in the band while on tour in Europe. Once full of excitement, but now simply going through the motions, an excerpt published in Esquire explained, “By March 1, the mood of the tour was at a perilous low as Nirvana strolled through virtually the same 90-minute sets they’d played every night for 60 shows over 5 months and Cobain complained of illness—’bored and old’ indeed.”

That night, the band opened with a cover of “My Best Friend’s Girl” by The Cars before going into “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter” and “Drain You.” During their performance of the classic “Come As You Are,” the power went out.

Once restored, bassist Krist Novaselic reportedly exclaimed, “We’re not playing the Munich Enormodome tonight because our careers are on the wane. We’re on the way out. Grunge is dead. Nirvana’s over … Our next record’s going to be a hip-hop record.”

“Heart Shaped Box” closed out their 23-song, 80-minute set which was rife with rough vocals from the frontman. “Kurt’s voice became noticeably more trashed with every song,” guitarist Pat Smear recalled of that night. “When we sang together, we sounded like cats fighting. His voice was so gone, but instead of trying to conserve it, he seemed to delight in pushing it to the ‘I won’t be able to sing for days’ limit. After a while, it was a bit much.”

A doctor reportedly diagnosed Cobain with laryngitis and bronchitis the next day, the nail in the coffin of their European tour. A month later, on April 5, the frontman had taken his own life.

Catch the highlights from Nirvana’s final show at Terminal 1 in Munich, Germany below.

Photo by Paul Bergen/Redferns/Getty Images

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