Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam's Black - Isolated Vocals

Pearl Jam's Black - Isolated VocalsI love this.

Feel free to tell me my favourite band sucks.

Damn, that's good...

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No Woman, No Cry / Betterman from Arnhem '06



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Pearl Jam Twenty Soundtrack

pearljamBillboard has a great synopsis of the Pearl Jam Twenty soundtrack.

The die-hards have probably already seen it. If you're one of those early birds, please don't give away the ending. I want to see this.

"Release" (from Sept. 16, 2006 Verona, Italy)

"Written shortly after Eddie Vedder's arrival in Seattle, 'Release' always felt like a personal epiphany as well as an invitation to write from the heart," Crowe writes. And the version of this slow-burn "Ten" ballad documents a loving Italian crowd.

"Alive" (from Dec. 22, 1990 Seattle)

Says Crowe, "This is when many of the group's friends and family first heard the band and by the time they played 'Alive' heads were turning." The song that became the band's earliest signature song shows its power even here only two months after the band formed. Still a bit shy at this point, Eddie Vedder's powerful baritone shines through clearly.

"Garden" (from Feb. 19, 1992 Zurich Switzerland)

"Their first trip to Europe and the casual idea to play an acoustic show… a recipe for chaos turned into a beautiful chaos indeed," writes Crowe. This show paved the way for the band's memorable MTV Unplugged performance the next month.

"Why Go" (from March 10, 1992 Hamburg Germany)

Crowe: "A real-time document of the band finding their voice and an early crowd discovering  it right along with them."

"Black" (from March 16, 1992 MTV Unplugged)

Crowe: "Vedder shuts his eyes, forgetting the cameras, and provides a truly galvanizing moment… singing one of this most personal songs." And rock fans all over the country saw it, complete with inspired additions, his voice booming over the acoustic guitars.

"Blood" (from March 25, 1995 Aukland, New Zealand)

A raw live version of the track from 1993's "Vs." Crowe: "It's an in-the-moment response to the group's increasing success. The performance is almost violent, a demand for oxygen."

"Last Exit" (from Feb. 24, 1995, Taipei Taiwan)

Crowe: "It was a challenging time to go, … 'We might be a different band right now'" says Stone Gossard. "And maybe [the audiences] will like the new band." They did.

"Not For You" (from Feb. 26, 1995 Manila)

Crowe: "Spurred by Vedder's early defiance that the band not be used as a took for salesmanship. This cornerstone song from 'Vitalogy' shows the band at full raging force."

"Do The Evolution" (from Jan. 31, 1998 Monkeywrench Radio)

The raw, infectious rocker from 1998's Yield sent out from their Seattle studio space into the radio ether. Crowe: "The band filmed the performances, making the most of a small room filled with big noise."

"Thumbing My Way" (from Sept. 6, 2002 Seattle)

"This graceful acoustic performance captured the spirit of one of the band's favorite tracks from 'Riot Act'," Crowe writes. "We used it [in the film] to score a trip to Montana with Jeff Ament."

"Crown Of Thorns" (from Oct. 22, 2000 Las Vegas)

On Eddie Vedder's request at Pearl Jam's 10th anniversary show, the band covers this song by the late Andy Wood, frontman of pre-Pearl Jam band Mother Love Bone. Crowe: "Asked about it in 2010, Vedder recalled their afternoon soundcheck rehearsal of the song as a 'nearly blinding light-show of emotions."

"Let Me Sleep" (from Sept. 16, 2006 Verona pre-show)

Crowe: "A stolen moment from the road captured for posterity by Danny Clinch's cameras."

"Walk With Me" (from Oct. 23, 2010 Mountain View, CA)

Crowe: "Always searching for a song to perform together, PJ picked a choice track from [Neil] Young's 'Le Noise.' Young obliged and the result is this soulful union of old friends."

"Just Breathe" (from March 13, 2010, 'Saturday Night Live')

Crowe: "The group's history only makes this open-hearted composition more powerful." Vedder's ballad of enduring relationships, from 2009's "Backspacer," performed live on television.

"Say Hello 2 Heaven" (Temple of the Dog Demo, 1990)

Crowe: "Hearing this track and others brought back a flood of memories for everybody involved." One of Chris Cornell's first songs written in tribute to the late Mother Love Bone frontman Andy Wood, it became the beginning of the Temple of the Dog project that joined MLBer's new band, Pearl Jam, with half of Soundgarden.

"Times of Trouble" (Instrumental Demo, 1990)

Crowe: "'Times Of Trouble' is a track from the original demo tape made by Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament with help from Mike McCready and Matt Cameron. The one missing ingredient -- a singer." When the tape landed with Soundgarden's Chris Cornell, it became Temple of the Dog's song by this name. When it landed with San Diego surfer Eddie Vedder, it became the Pearl Jam song "Footsteps."

"Acoustic #1" (1991 Demo)

Crowe: "Eddie and Stone [Gossard] trading ideas and rhythms, exploring their newly minted potential." The singer, in big-voiced "Yellow Ledbetter" mode, ad-libs his way through the guitarist's loosely grooving riffs.

"It Ain't Like That" (1990 Demo)

Crowe: "A heavy slice of rehearsal magic." Chugging guitars and some tongue-in-cheek bon mots from Eddie Vedder.

"Need To Know" (2007 Demo)

Crowe: "A self-made demo that [Matt] Cameron would later submit to the band." In this form, it sounds destined for the drummer's post-punk side band Wellwater Conspiracy. When Eddie Vedder and the rest of Pearl Jam worked with it, it became the poppy 2009 single "The Fixer."

"Be Like Wind" (2010, Score)

Film scoring is "another home for [McCready's] sometimes ferocious, sometimes delicate always truthful style," says Crowe.

"Given To Fly" (2010, Instrumental)

The 1997 "Yield" single, "was originally written during a snowstorm shortly after McCready battled back some blizzards of his own," Crowe writes, perhaps obliquely referring to the guitarist's mid-90s struggles with alcohol. The Zeppelin-like music is played here by McCready as a soaring instrumental.

"Nothing As It Seems" (1999 Demo)

"'Nothing As It Seems' will forever feel like a portrait of [Jeff Ament's] roots," says Crowe. Here the bassist's demo, complete with his own Pink-Floydesque vocals, shows the song's beginnings.

"Nothing As It Seems" (from Oct. 22, 2001 Seattle)

The song, writes Crowe, "here finds its home on the stage." With a particularly enflamed Mike McCready solo, Ament's song is performed to a hometown arena crowd.

"Indifference" (from Bologna, Italy Sept. 14, 2006)

The closing song of 1993's "Vs." performed live. Crowe: "A visual and sonic highlight from our film."

"Of The Girl"

A deep album cut from 2000's "Binaural," resurrected here as an atmospheric instrumental. "[We] often found ourselves just listening in the editing room, appreciating all the layers to the 3D sound," explained Crowe.

"Faithfull" (from Sept. 20, 2006 in Pistoia, Italy)

A soundcheck moment, "outdoors in the sun, a world away from Seattle," writes Crowe.

"Bu$hleaguer" (from April 30, 2003 in Uniondale, NY)

Crowe: "A portrait of PJ at their most political." To say the least. The Long Island performance of the song, from 2002's "Riot Act" elicited a chorus of boos as Vedder donned a George W. mask and sang about "the haves have not a f*ucking clue." It was a difference of opinion between band and crowd that Pearl Jam was actually proud to countenance.

"Better Man" (from May 21, 2010 New York)

Crowe: "A PJ show anywhere in the world will often take you to a place like the one captured in this recent recording from Madison Square Garden." Here, the arena is filled with 20,000 fans singing louder than Vedder to this crucial track from 1994's "Vitalogy." It's also a key moment in the film that illustrates just how moving current Pearl Jam shows can be.

"Rearviewmirror"  (from Oct. 1, 2009 Universal City, CA)

"The 'Rearviewmirror' jam is one of the best examples of what happens when the band is at the wheel and the ride is often psychedelic in its intensity," writes Crowe. And this latter-day rock out of a 1993 "Vs." tune shows how the band is constantly reinventing its live presence.

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I Want To See This

pearljamYou've seen the teaser.

Now here's the trailer.

And here's your primer.

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Pearl Jam Twenty Teaser Trailer

pjMan, am I looking forward to Cameron Crowe's Twenty. Twenty is a documentary about Pearl Jam who mark their 20th anniversary this year.

Here's the teaser trailer:

And here's your Pearl Jam primer.

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Crank it Up

Pearl JamYeah... that's the stuff.

Crank it up.

And now my bitter hands, chafe beneath the clouds, of what was everything.

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Alt Nation, Pearl Jam and a Great Read

pearljamThe A.V. Club is showcasing a series they call Whatever Happened to Alternative Nation? and this guy in his mid-30s is absolutely loving it.

Part 3 is called "1992: Pearl Jam, the perils of fame, and the trouble with avoiding it" and as a big Pearl Jam fan, I was riveted. If you're a music fan who remembers the early 90s at all, you have to check this out. Here's an excerpt:

Vedder typically wasn’t so accommodating, especially once his status as Pearl Jam’s figurehead gave him the freedom to tell people no. He fought the push from Epic, Pearl Jam’s label, to release Ten’s big romantic ballad, “Black,” as a single because it appeared poised to become the band’s biggest hit yet. (“Black” became one of Pearl Jam’s most popular songs regardless.) “We didn’t write to make hits. But those fragile songs get crushed by the business,” Vedder told Crowe in Rolling Stone; Vedder thought “Black” was so fragile that, in a weird anecdote related by Crowe, he once chastised a group of Pearl Jam fans for singing it when he overheard them on a hiking trip. 

It's strange to think of "Black" as fragile. I can tell you with great certainty as a guy who tracks such useless information that I've seen Pearl Jam perform Black live 5 times. I've also heard it approximately 389 times on 102.1 and another 1,933 times on CD, cassette and MP3.

It's not fragile. In fact, like Hulk Hogan in a match for the heavyweight championship of the world, it only gets stronger .

As proof, I submit exhibit A.


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It's OK: From Dead Moon to Pearl Jam

pearljamIf you're lucky, when you hear Pearl Jam perform "Daughter" live, they'll tag on "It's OK". That's what they did in New York back in 2000, and the bootleg of this performance has been an iPod staple for me ever since. It's also my current ring tone.

Here's Pearl Jam's Daughter / It's OK from Jones Beach State Park on August 24, 2000. Appropriately enough, It's OK kicks in around 4:20.

I must have heard Eddie singing "It's OK" a million times before I learnt who he was covering. The original belongs to Dead Moon and you can hear it below.

From Dead Moon to Pearl Jam, that's the incredibly under-appreciated It's OK.

It's okay, we've all seen better days
It's okay, you don't have to run and hide away
It's okay
It's okay, yeah we love you anyway.

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Eddie Vedder's Oh Conan for Coco

conanConan O'Brien's birthday was on Monday. He performed in Seattle. Eddie Vedder played him a little song.


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Pearl Jam - Just Breathe

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS23 consideration. I'm submitting "Just Breathe" by Pearl Jam.

This isn't just the best song on Backspacer, it's the best Pearl Jam single since... since... well, since before SLS, that's for sure.

There's a rule with SLS that the same artist can't be represented on the same issue more than once. Pearl Jam's "The Fixer" was a shoe-in for SLS22, so I couldn't nominate "Just Breathe" until now.

Now you know the rest of the story.

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