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Red Hot Chili Peppers Deliver Rock Crossover Performance of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’

The cover closed out Flea’s benefit concert for the Silverlake Conservatory of Music

Over 30 years after they brought then-up-and-comers Nirvana on the road for the Blood Sugar Sex Magik tour, Red Hot Chili Peppers performed a cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” during a benefit concert for the Silverlake Conservatory of Music over the weekend.

The epic rock crossover marks the first time the band has performed the iconic single all together, with guitarist John Frusciante having covered it on his own in the past. Leading the band through the first verse with his face obstructed by a neon fishnet shirt, Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis threw it to Frusciante for the chorus to close out the 11-song set.

“That’s it for us, thanks for coming,” Kiedis concluded in his farewell to the audience after performing the first verse and chorus of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Earlier in the night, Frusciante had performed a solo cover of the Ramones’ “I Remember You” in-between “Here Ever After” and “Scar Tissue.”

Earlier this year, Red Hot Chili Peppers recalled touring with Nirvana back in 1991 alongside Pearl Jam, who served as openers. “I remember just feeling like, you know, they’re good bands, but Nirvana, they were really carrying a heavy magic with them, just this feeling like they are a powerful entity to be respected,” Flea told Howard Stern.

Kiedis added: “It was just natural … to have an energy, to have a passion, to have a live-or-die aesthetic to everything we did. But I feel like Nirvana had that naturally as well. They were certainly good at their instruments and songwriting and chemistry and all that, but then they also just had a combustibility that came with birth or came from god or came from the planets or something.”

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