Cities have begun to reopen and some people are finding socially-distant ways to put on concerts, but the world of live entertainment as we know it is still far from back to normal. While you wait for concerts to officially resume, here are 15 amazing grunge and alternative rock concert videos from the late '80s and '90s to tide you over.

You can also shop for grunge and alternative rock vinyl in our shop, including records and merch from Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Green River, Nine Inch Nails, Dinosaur Jr., Alice in Chains, and more.

Nirvana @ The Mason Jar in Phoenix, AZ - 2/19/1990

Nirvana became one of the biggest rock bands in the world after releasing 1991's Nevermind, but they have a treasure trove of great music that predates that album, including not just their 1989 debut album Bleach but all kinds of demos, rarities, covers, and more that prove they were already a fantastic band before most of the world caught on. They were also a great live band, and some of those pre-Nevermind shows contain some of their best performances. It's especially cool to hear them do soon-to-be-huge songs like "Breed," "Dive," and "Polly" before they were even released, all three of which they did during this killer February 1990 set, which some saint uploaded to YouTube in amazing quality. [Andrew Sacher]


Mudhoney @ Berlin Independence Days Music Festival - 10/10/1988

Mudhoney are true lifers who still release good music and put on good shows today, but there's still nothing like 1988, the year their debut EP Superfuzz Bigmuff and the "Touch Me I'm Sick" single came out. Not only did those highly influential recordings have a clear impact on the sound and style of a lot of the grunge that would get popular a few years later, but as this pro-shot footage (which was released on DVD) helps immortalize, Mudhoney were beasts on stage too. Mark Arm rocks out like a madman, is dripping with confidence, and has all the grit in his voice that he needs, and the band's Stoogey, fuzz-drenched guitars sound as loud and fucked-up as ever. [Andrew Sacher]


Soundgarden @ Club Lingerie in Los Angeles, CA - 02/11/1988

Keeping with the 1988 Seattle grunge theme, here's Soundgarden in LA just a few months after they released their 1987 debut EP Screaming Life. The late Chris Cornell is still a few years away from becoming the star that we'll always remember him as, but he's clearly a star in the making, and it's prety amazing to see this footage of him and the rest of the band in this primitive, hungry form. They played not just stuff from Screaming Life but also the Fopp EP and their debut album Ultramega OK which would come out later that year, and they also did three awesomely grungy classic rock covers - Rush's "Working Man," Led Zeppelin's "Communication Breakdown," and Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen." It's pretty incredible to watch Chris Cornell nailing Robert Plant's wail back to back with Alice Cooper's gravelly sneer, and it's no surprise that he's so good at both -- he had already been fusing those two things on his own songs. [Andrew Sacher]


Screaming Trees @ Rockpalast Germany - 11/15/1996

Mark Lanegan has a great new solo album today, so what better time than now to revisit a great live video by his classic grunge-era band Screaming Trees. And making this particular video even cooler is that this is from the tour where Josh Homme was the band's touring guitarist, after Kyuss broke up but before he formed Queens of the Stone Age, who Mark Lanegan became a frequent collaborator of. Screaming Trees always veered on the psychedelic side of alternative rock, and that really comes across this set, which evolves into a handful of jammy freakouts. Mark's voice sounds great too. [Andrew Sacher]


Weezer @ Bizarre Festival in Cologne, Germany - 8/17/1996

Before Rivers Cuomo became disillusioned with Pinkerton, before Matt Sharp left, and before they became a band whose biggest current hit was a cover of Toto's "Africa," Weezer were an energetic, hungry band armed with an arsenal of great songs, and this video from 1996's Bizarre Festival brings you right back to that moment. The setlist is split between Blue Album and Pinkerton, and the band sound incredible and they really look like they've got something to prove. It's easy to get tired of the stuff they do these days, but I don't think I'll ever get tired of a video like this. [Andrew Sacher]


Smashing Pumpkins @ Metro Chicago, IL - 8/14/1993

This hometown Chicago Smashing Pumpkins set was released on the Siamese Dream bonus DVD, and was recorded less than a month after that album came out. The band's original lineup of Billy Corgan, James Iha, D'Arcy Wretzky and Jimmy Chamberlin is still intact at this point and they sound incredible ripping through a set of earlier tracks while crowd-surfers thrash in the foreground. They're joined by Eric Remschneider on cello "Disarm," "Spaceboy," and "Starla" midway through, which fleshes out their sound gorgeously. All in all it's a classic set of the Pumpkins at their prime, and well worth revisiting. [Amanda Hatfield]


Nine Inch Nails @ Woodstock 1994

Trent Reznor told Rolling Stone he agreed to play Woodstock '94 to "offset the cost of the tour we're doing right now," but Nine Inch Nails' set was far from a phoned in cash grab. Completely drenched in mud, they played a set heavy on classics from Pretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral, the latter of which wasn't even a year old yet at the time. Thanks to pro-shot video and remastered audio from engineer Kevin C, it looks and sounds incredible, too. [Amanda Hatfield]


Garbage @ Edinburgh Castle in Scotland - 7/1/1999

If tours were happening this summer, we'd be looking forward to seeing Garbage opening Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill 25th anniversary tour alongside Liz Phair (the same lineup that also toured together in 1998), but since they aren't, let's revisit this historic show from Shirley Manson's hometown on the Version 2.0 tour instead. They played the show beside the Edinburgh Castle for the opening of The Scottish Parliament celebration, and it was broadcast on New Year's Day 2000. According to, it was the first and only time they covered Robert Burns' "John Anderson" and The Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down," and they also played plenty of now-classic songs from their first two albums and sounded fantastic the whole time. [Andrew Sacher]


Sonic Youth @ Electric Factory in Philadelphia - 10/18/1995

If you missing Sonic Youth as much as us, this show at Philadelphia's Electric Factory on their Washing Machine tour in 1995 should definitely scratch the itch. It's not only a high quality video, it was a great set. It kicks off with a roaring version of "Expressway To Yr. Skull" that sets the tone for the rest of this chaotic, ripping live performance, which leaned heavy on Washing Machine material. Props to the band's sinister, dimly-lit set design, and to the cameraman as well, who sacrificed almost two hours worth of arm stamina to deliver a time capsule of one of indie rock's greatest live bands. [Jeremy Nifras]


Dinosaur Jr @ Kardomah Cafe, Sydney - 10/15/89

Even all these years later, Dinosaur Jr are true lifers and one of the greatest (and loudest) bands in underground rock, but there's still nothing like watching them during their late '80s prime. This was shot on their 1989 Australian tour about a year after Bug came out, and though Lou Barlow had just been ousted from the band, Donna Dresch (later of Team Dresch) filled in with Dino for this tour and thankfully someone captured footage of her rocking with J and Murph as they ran through now-classic songs like "Freak Scene," "Yeah We Know," "Kracked," "Sludgefeast," and more. [Andrew Sacher]


The Replacements in Rotterdam, Holland - 1991

The Replacements famously put on some disastrous live shows, but when they were on they were on, and at this 1991 Holland show they were on. Their nearly two-hour, 30+ song set included favorites like "I Will Dare," "Waitress in the Sky," "Bastards of Young," "Androgynous," "Kiss Me on the Bus," "Can't Hardly Wait," "Alex Chilton," and much more, plus plenty of covers (including great renditions of The Only Ones' "Another Girl, Another Planet" and T. Rex's "Raw Ramp"), and the 'Mats were in fine form all night. [Andrew Sacher]


Oasis - Live at Maine Road 1996

In 1996, Oasis were the biggest band in England - not to mention, in their heads, The World. They also hadn't made any bad records yet, Guigsy and Bonehead were still in the band, and the drugs were still fun. Arrogance was matched by the tunes and the crowds -- in this case a football stadium just outside Oasis' hometown of Manchester -- ate it all up, hit after hit. [Bill Pearis]


Pulp @ Glastonbury 1995

Pulp were not originally supposed to headline the main stage at Glastonbury 1995, and were a last-minute substitution for The Stone Roses, who had to cancel after John Squire broke his collarbone in a cycling accident in San Francisco. Pulp made the most it and their triumphant Glastonbury performance ending up being one of the defining moments of their career. Their smash album Different Class was still a few month away, and Pulp debuted most of the album's singles, including "Sorted for E's and Wizz," "Disco 2000" and "Mis-Shapes." They finished their set with a storming version of their then-brand-new single "Common People" which cemented their Britpop bonafides then and there. [Bill Pearis]


The Cure - Show (1992)

Isolation has made me want to listen to a lot of music with a somber tone, so, naturally, I've been listening to plenty of The Cure. For whatever reason, I've been kind of on a Wish kick lately, so for today's live videos, I figured I'd go with The Cure's 1993 live album/film Show, which was shot on the Wish tour. The whole film isn't on YouTube but this playlist has most of it, and Show is always worth revisiting. It's basically a greatest hits, and Robert Smith and the rest of the band looked and sounded fantastic on this tour. There's no shortage of great live Cure footage, but you can never go wrong with Show. [Andrew Sacher]


Type O Negative @ Dynamo Open Air Festival 1995

Brooklyn was well represented at the 1995 edition of Dynamo Open Air. Type O Negative, Life of Agony and Biohazard -- not to mention NYC's Madball and Orange 9mm, NJ's Dog Eat Dog, and upstate NY's Earth Crisis and Snapcase -- were all on the lineup of the Netherlands heavy music festival. Unlike their friends from the hardcore and crossover thrash scenes though, Type O had achieved recent fame thanks to the mainstream success of their more gothic doom rocking second (proper) album Bloody Kisses, which also made them fit in with Europe's gothic and death doom titans Tiamat, Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride who were also billed really high at the fest that year. Short and sweet -- with just a 30 minute set (including, amazingly, a Bon Jovi commercial because this pro shot recording was captured off TV) -- nearly half the video is the encore of Bloody Kisses hit single "Black No.1" (after Evan Seinfeld of Biohazard comes on stage to hype up the crowd). We miss Pete and this band more every day, but this bittersweet video -- which includes that sweet sight of thousands of European fans dancing in unison to the band who was mostly still playing clubs back on their home country and city -- is a great reminder of their greatness from a time when they were at the height of their powers, despite only two (unless you count Origin of the Feces) albums to their name. [Dave]


For more of our favorite live videos, head here.

homepage photo via Nirvana Facebook

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