Germany Vs. Denmark: Nirvana's Winning Opening Act

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Charles Peterson
Krist Novoselic's column on music and politics runs every Tuesday on Reverb. Check back on Friday when he writes about what he's been listening to.
The FIFA World Cup is raging and I don't care. No disrespect, but my brain isn't wired for sports. When people ask me about the Super Bowl, I never even know which teams are playing, and I'll tell them that "I don't follow baseball!"

The last time I had any interest in a sport event was in the summer of 1992, when I unwittingly had an actual stake in its outcome. Nirvana was playing the Roskilde Festival in Denmark, and we arrived at a venue that was amped over a match between their national team and Germany in the UEFA European Football Championship. There were Danish flags and many fans had their faces painted the same way. I looked at our schedule, and noticed the concert would be stopped so the crowd could watch the match. They had giant wide-screen TV's set up!

I had never been to a show where sport and music were combined like that. I'd never even been to a halftime gig. There was such excitement in the country because the Danish team wasn't even supposed to be in the championships. Yugoslavia had qualified, but was disqualified due to international sanctions as a result of the armed conflict at the time. Denmark, the runner-up in their qualifying group, was given their slot.

The Danes apparently got their mojo and kicked butt, or I should say footballs, all the way to the final match, where they faced Germany. I was informed about the political significance of this situation. Denmark had recently voted against adopting the Euro. This was viewed as a rebuke to Germany, promoters of the new currency. Somehow, the championship match would settle the score over this situation--but again, I'm not attuned to sporting sensibilities and really don't know about international currency issues either. Here's how the band was affected: our set was immediately after the match!

Kurt and Dave weren't into sports, either. Even though we didn't watch the match, we were rooting for Denmark. It wasn't about Germany, it was about our own self-interest. If Denmark won, then the crowd would be all the more amped. You see, a rock show is a reciprocal arrangement--if the crowd gives off energy, the band gives it back.

While the crowd was enthralled in the match, I nursed a beer, hoping these descendants of Vikings would pull it off. I chit-chatted with the few others who didn't care for sports, and was excited to hear a huge cheer from the crowd--Denmark scores! I was pleased, because that meant they might win. After more hanging out, then another cheer and goal by the Danes, a feeling of relief came over us because it looked like they were going to win--and they did.

People went bonkers! The team that didn't even qualify for the tournament won the championship. It really was like a fairy tale. And the band that followed the match played a good show, if I do say so myself. We congratulated the Danish on their win and got a huge cheer. That was an easy line to deliver.

 
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