Memories of Nirvana's Only Pittsburgh Show

On what would have been Kurt Cobain's 46th birthday today, we reflect on Nirvana's one and only Pittsburgh appearances. In the fall of 1991, Kurt, Dave and Krist performed at Graffiti in Oakland. It was right before Nirvana became the biggest rock band of the 1990's with Nevermind having only been released six days prior on September 24, 1991. What went down at the Pittsburgh club, however, was one of the more infamous nights in Graffiti history. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Scott Mervis recapped the evening's events in his article: Here's to the Memories, which recounts memories of Graffiti, including Nirvana's historical appearance. After the band got into a confrontation with the club, it was recorded that:

"The band was outnumbered and not up to a fight so Cobain took his frustration out on the couch by sparking it with a pack of matches. The couch either just smoldered or flamed up and caught other things on fire, depending on whom you ask. It was big enough for the fire marshal to arrive and arrest the road manager. DiNardo decided not to press charges, allowing the band to go on to bigger and (temporarily) better things. Unfortunately, the couch, which could probably be sold at auction today, didn't survive."

Nirvana's Kurt Cobain at Graffiti on 9/30/1991:

Show poster:

Check out the rest of the pictures from the night of the show here


As my friend Ryan pointed out: Though not technically Pittsburgh, Manny had Nirvana at the Sonic Temple in Wilkinsburg 07/09/1989. Unfortunately, recordings of either show have never surfaced.

This wasn't Nirvana's only Pittsburgh show, as they played at the Sonic Temple in Wilkinsburg 07/09/1989:

I was there representing WXVX X-15, a small commercial AM station out of Monroeville. I think Tony DiNardo, the former manager of Grafitti, would still get upset if you ask him about this show.

Earlier the day of the show, a friend encouraged me to go with him to Graffiti that night to check out "a great power-trio from Seattle." It was a very aggressive show, and not even sold out - I recall being able to get out of the mosh pit to 'relax' around the edge of the floor area. I distinctly remember Kurt destroying the drum kit and his Fender Mustang before finally exiting the stage. I'm so glad I decided to go, and it remains a favorite 'brag moment' of my personal live music portfolio. PS. My heart aches a bit every time I drive by what is now the 'Auto Palace' on Baum Blvd....I still miss Graffiti as a live music venue!

The band Dharma Sons actually opened the show and where questioned about the fire. Tony D held that show against the band for years.

FTR, the Sonic Temple show was not Manny's show. He had nothing to do with it.