1992-1994: Maps

I don’t want to lose whatever respect or credibility I’ve earned with you but I confess I’m listening to Pavement’s Slanted and Enchanted for the first time ever today. Apologies for delay too, office systems down so all a bit chaotic.

Now…As promised, the conclusion of Nirvana U.S. touring in map form! Though not the Salem of witch trial legend, it still seems neatly coincidental that Nirvana’s most testing year would commence in a town of that name. While previous years have taken me two or three slides to capture, the whole of 1992 can be taken in one:


I even abandoned the naming convention I’d previously adopted given Salem is the only ordinary looking show on the map. Nirvana essentially abandoned America for the full year; two TV shows, two benefits, two secrets. If it wasn’t for the thirty days out in the Pacific (Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hawaii), and the smattering of European festival shows, it’d be entirely possible to declare the band missing, presumed dead. I’m being gentle including the TV shows.

It does explain some part of why, despite Nirvana being an American band, something like Reading 1992 should loom so large in the popular imagination; the entire peak of Nirvana’s fame, as far as live concerts went, was spent off abroad at these kinds of show. Reading would have been one of the view shows all year where a massive press contingent could be guaranteed. It’s precisely the reason Britain receives tonnes of U.S. news; there’s lots of footage and reportage, it’s therefore cheap to buy and as a result we all get to learn it.

1993 was basically more of the same; America’s finest nowhere to be seen — I’m being kind including Saturday Night Live just to expand the engagements:


That changes, however. The map becomes almost impossible to follow given how much the band crams into the final months of 1993. This is the most extensive touring Nirvana has done in the U.S. in their entire history. Looking back at past posts, at the maps for 1991, 1990, 1989, there had been big tours before but the scale and coverage achieved this time around was unprecedented. Of course, one thing to point out is that this kinda touring isn’t exactly uncommon for bands — this was the age of multi-year tours taking place, show after show… Nirvana staying out for the best part of three months was long by their standards. Having kicked off in Arizona (red line) the band took the obligatory pop over to Canada between Ohio and the start of the North-East U.S. visitation (blue line, November) and then the criss-crossing of central and western states in December:


1994 was the usual post-Christmas smattering of appearances. On this occasion, however, given the finality of ensuing events, it seems apt that Nirvana should retreat so far into their own past. The map needed to show the band’s U.S. presence in 1994 barely needs to show more than the map for 1987, or 1988—they hop across the borders of Washington State to two locations, they head home, then gone:




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