The singer was memorably pushed on to the stage in a wheelchair at the 1992 headline set, which has gone down in history as one of Reading’s greatest ever performances.
Taking aim at rumours of ill health and drug abuse, Cobain was wheeled onstage before leading a typically rowdy rendition of ‘Breed’. The show would prove to be Nirvana’s last in the UK before Cobain’s untimely suicide in 1994.
Now, US auction house RR Auctions has placed the gown under the hammer – with a starting price of £40,000 for the exclusive piece of rock history.
“This iconic and museum-quality piece represents the Nirvana frontman at his finest and most sardonic, jabbing pointedly at critics and detractors alike while retaining the intensely original showmanship that made him a living legend,” the auction house said.
After Cobain’s death in 1994, his widow Courtney Love reportedly gave the gown to a fan who had attended a vigil in his memory. The fan kept hold of the precious item for 25 years, before putting it up for sale.
Last year, Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl also opened up on the “genuinely magical moment” of headlining the festival for the first time.
“I remember showing up to Reading ’92 and there being so many rumours that we weren’t going to play, that we had cancelled,” he said. “I walked backstage and some of my best friends in bands that were opening would see me and say, ‘What are you doing here?’ And I’d go, ‘We’re fucking headlining!’ And they’d be like, ‘You’re actually going to play?!’
He added: “The show was a really reassuring, genuinely magical moment of everything coming together at the right time.
“I think we had practised once, the day before, and I just didn’t know if we could pull it off. That happened a bunch of times in Nirvana, where you’d think, ‘God, this is going to be a fucking disaster,’ and then it would turn out to be something beautiful.
“So yeah, it went great – but it’s sad that that’s the last time we ever played England, because it could have been better. We just didn’t play England enough, I don’t think. The memory is somewhat triumphant but melancholy, because we never came back.”
Meanwhile, it was recently announced that a recording of Nirvana’s legendary 1991 show at Seattle’s Paramount Theater will be released on vinyl.