After a tense and difficult two days of rehearsing, Nirvana ran into problems performing various songs. MTV didn't like the setlist, as it didn't contain the "hits" and they didn't want the Meat Puppets as special guests, fearing they were not big enough names. The day before filming was to take place, Cobain refused to perform, as he was suffering from drug withdrawal and nervousness. He was not happy. No joking, or smiles or anything. Producers were worried about the performance.
On November 18, 1993, Nirvana taped their iconic MTV Unplugged performance at Sony Studios in New York City. Kurt Cobain requested the stage be decorated like a funeral, with stargazer lilies, black candles and a crystal chandelier. Despite the "unplugged" nature of the show, Cobain insisted his acoustic guitar be plugged into an amplifier. A producer built a fake monitor to hide the amplifier.
The entire performance was taped in one take. It included 14-songs: One from Bleach, four from Nevermind, three from In Utero and six cover songs. All Apologies had not been released yet when it was played.
The set ended with Where Did You Sleep Last Night. This rendition has been regarded as one of the greatest live single song performances of all time. After the band finished, Cobain argued with the producers, as they wanted an encore. Cobain refused saying he could not top the performance of that song.
MTV Unplugged in New York is #313 on Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. NME has named it #1 on their list of the 50 Greatest Live Albums.
It was the first album released after Cobain's death, debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200. It was certified 5x platinum in the United States and won the Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album in 1996.