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Why the Post-Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nirvana Tribute at Greenpoint's Saint Vitus Bar Was What Kurt Would've Wanted

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com on Apr 14, 2014 06:27 PM EDT
Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Brings Nirvana As Told by Lorde and St. Vincent, KISS Fandom, Linda Ronstadt and E Street Demigods to the Rock Hall (Photo : Kurt Cobain is pictured to the entrance of the "Legends of Rock and Roll" exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. )
Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Brings Nirvana As Told by Lorde and St. Vincent, KISS Fandom, Linda Ronstadt and E Street Demigods to the Rock Hall (Photo : Tom Morello attends the 29th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on April 10, 2014 in New York City.)
Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Brings Nirvana As Told by Lorde and St. Vincent, KISS Fandom, Linda Ronstadt and E Street Demigods to the Rock Hall (Photo : Art Garfunkel and Yusuf Islam speak onstage.)
Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Brings Nirvana As Told by Lorde and St. Vincent, KISS Fandom, Linda Ronstadt and E Street Demigods to the Rock Hall (Photo : Nils Lofgren of the E Street Band performs.)
Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Brings Nirvana As Told by Lorde and St. Vincent, KISS Fandom, Linda Ronstadt and E Street Demigods to the Rock Hall (Photo : The Boss looks puzzled.)
Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Brings Nirvana As Told by Lorde and St. Vincent, KISS Fandom, Linda Ronstadt and E Street Demigods to the Rock Hall (Photo : Inductee John Oates of Hall and Oates does his thing.)
Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Brings Nirvana As Told by Lorde and St. Vincent, KISS Fandom, Linda Ronstadt and E Street Demigods to the Rock Hall (Photo : Dave Grohl speaks.)
Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Brings Nirvana As Told by Lorde and St. Vincent, KISS Fandom, Linda Ronstadt and E Street Demigods to the Rock Hall (Photo : Joan Jett plays "Smells Like Teen Spirit.")
Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Brings Nirvana As Told by Lorde and St. Vincent, KISS Fandom, Linda Ronstadt and E Street Demigods to the Rock Hall (Photo : Jett seen here with Grohl, Pat Smear and Krist Novoselic.)
Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Brings Nirvana As Told by Lorde and St. Vincent, KISS Fandom, Linda Ronstadt and E Street Demigods to the Rock Hall (Photo : Ms. Annie Clark performs, too, with Grohl, Smear, Novoselic at the 29th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on April 10, 2014 in New York City. (All photos by Getty.))

As is to be expected with most of these highly anticipated and star-studded evenings of musical self-aggrandizing, there were exceptional moments juxtaposed with the, well, not-so-exceptional.

KISS gave the middle finger to their fans by not performing, despite Tom Morello citing the KISS Army as the band's "fifth member."

Speaking Biblical, conscious uncoupler Chris Martin inducted Peter Gabriel via the Book of Genesis, itself.

Other inducted rockers included: Cat Stevens, Linda Ronstadt (paid tribute by Glenn Frey, Carrie Underwood, Emmylou Harris, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Nicks and Bonnie Raitt), Hall and Oates and the remarkable, albeit long-winded Jersey boys of The E Street Band.

The highlight, though? What's left of Nirvana invited some of today's most household vocalists to the stage to play Cobain: Joan Jett, Kim Gordon, St. Vincent and, yes, even Lorde.

As TIME reported, "Of the gender-switching, Annie Clark a.k.a. St. Vincent reminded fans that Nirvana were feminists and are forward thinking, inclusive and f-ing rad. It's an apt description as well of a performance that will undoubtedly go down in Rock Hall history as one of the very best."

Yeah, OK, but we still liked Kim Gordon the most.

As Fred Pessaro duly noted for VICE's Noisey, amid his drunken stupor, the "real" tribute took place at Saint Vitus, a metal bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn that housed most of the Nirvana performers (and then some) for an encore of catalog classics.

Pessaro writes:

After setting up tons upon tons of gear, more than I have ever seen in the popular Brooklyn venue, Grohl, Smear, and Novoselic took the stage with Joan Jett and kicked it off the right way with "Smells like Teen Spirit." The room full of jaded invite-only attendees went f------g apeshit, understandably. Jett gave tribute to the fallen Kurt Cobain on stage, as did all of the guest stars throughout the night: Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.), Annie Clark (St. Vincent), John Mccauley (Deer Tick), and Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth). The 15+ song set spanned the entirety of Nirvana's career, with breaks to swap out vocalists/guitarists and for quick, whispered lessons on how the songs went. Maccauley and Grohl seemed the most prepared, but to be fair maybe the pint glass of Makers Mark was Novoselic's handicap.

For a crowd that spent a fortune on tickets for a glamorized gala packed to the brim with talent, they certainly missed out on a more intimate concert at a bar with more charm than a dozen Barclays.

Even better? A possibly lubricated Clark did a spot-on "Heart Shaped Box," too.

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TagsNirvana, Cat Stevens, St. Vincent, Annie Clark, Brian Epstein, Andrew Loog Oldham, Tom Morello, Kiss, Rock n Roll Hall of Fame 2014, Genesis, Christ Martin, Lorde, Joan Jett, The E Street Band