How lucky were these crowds? They got to experience iconic songs without even knowing it, because the bands performing hadn’t released them on full-length albums yet.

Imagine telling a friend you were at the show where Nirvana played “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the first time. You may have not even recognized the song when it burst onto MTV, because its lyrics and verse guitar parts were different in early 1991. When Kurt Cobain sung the first verse at this particular show in Seattle, the lyrics went, “Come out and play, Make up the rule / I know, I hope, To die from you / To some I'm dead, I’ll walk from you / I know, the lie, The way to go.

It’s strange to not hear a crowd explode when Daron Malakian begins the opening chords to System of a Down’s breakout hit, “Chop Suey!” but if you had watched SOAD play Japan in July 2001, that’s what you would've seen. The crowd seemed to love the song, though, moshing and going nuts to the constant stop/start verse.

Rage Against the Machine’s first ever show was recorded on a college campus in 1991. The band opened with “Killing in the Name,” only Zack de la Rocha hadn’t written his vocal part for the song yet. So at Cal State-Northridge, the instrumental section of Rage gave passersby a small taste of impending greatness.

Watch these Bands Performing Iconic Songs Before They Were Released in the Loud List below.

Bands Performing Iconic Songs Before They Were Released

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