Pearl Jam gives everything it has for Vancouver performance

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      Pearl Jam
      At GM Place on Friday, September 25

      Watch Pearl Jam perform "Alive" at GM Place on September 25, 2009.

      Sure, every Pearl Jam album since 1996’s No Code has been listenable enough. But, compared to their first three groundbreaking releases—Ten, Vs., and Vitalogy—the Seattle protogrungers have pumped out some pretty redundant, irrelevant, and, dare I say, somewhat forgettable music. (Unless, of course, you listen to new rock radio 24/7, in which case, you need to be deprogrammed; let’s start with a no-more-’90s-at-noon intervention.) So why then is Pearl Jam so respected? Well, I got my answer at a sold-out GM place on Friday. It’s a combination of things, really.

      As for the set list, Pearl Jam didn’t blow its grunge-era load all at once. Instead, the band spread its early hits throughout the show. Shortly after kicking out “The Fixer”, the first single from the new album, Backspacer, the group unleashed “Even Flow”. Unlike in the glory years, there was no stage-diving from the 44-year-old singer this evening, but it was still a worthy performance.

      For the encore, Pearl Jam busted out a cover of “Love, Reign O’er Me”, and they did the Who proud with that one. Every throat-scorching “loooooooove” was more epic than the last. And they finished with “Alive”, a fitting sentiment for these survivors of a bygone genre. It was also a nice way to end the show. Except, surprisingly, they still had some juice left.

      Pearl Jam came back for a second encore, serenading the budget seats behind the stage with “Last Kiss”. Then Ben Harper came out to sing a hauntingly beautiful version of “Indifference” with Vedder. Harper left, but PJ just kept going. Eventually, the lights came on, but Vedder was still singing. I don’t think he wanted to leave, and his adoring “neighbours to the north” didn’t seem to mind one bit, even if they’d stopped caring about Pearl Jam’s records right after Vitalogy.




      Sep 26, 2009 at 10:34am

      The writer here assumes that since *she* doesn't care about PJ's records after Vitalogy, that everyone in Canada must not care either. There's a reason that everyone around me was singing along to EVERY song they played - not just the grunge-era stuff.


      Sep 26, 2009 at 12:44pm

      To piggyback on Murray's post I offer a review of this "review"
      There really is nothing sadder than a critic who doesn't do her homework. For a real review, stick to the experts - you can find them anywhere but here apparently.


      Sep 26, 2009 at 1:27pm

      How is Pearl Jam doing a second encore a surprise when if you did some homework and looked at Pearl Jam's website and their setlist page you would see that they've done a second encore for EVERY non-festival show this year.

      Anyway, the show was simply amazing. I recorded nearly the entire set and am posting my stuff to YouTube. My footage of The Fixer is already up and there's more to come.


      Sep 26, 2009 at 2:00pm

      Oh, Sarah. Back to blanket approval for the latest "daring" release of hipster acousto-shoegazer trash, available only on red-tinted vinyl in a limited run of six and playable only on a turntable rigged to spin backwards for extra-exclusive-credibility.

      Your boredom with their material isn't even close to universally shared, and says more about you than Pearl Jam. But that was the idea, wasn't it? I'm sure you scored the points you were trying to score.


      Sep 26, 2009 at 3:30pm

      You should revisit the last record - avacado - and listen to it top to bottom a couple of times. It is fatastic and maybe my favorite. What an amazing show!


      Sep 26, 2009 at 8:19pm

      If people "stopped caring about Pearl Jam’s records right after Vitalogy", which was released 15 years ago, THEY WOULDN'T HAVE GONE TO SEE THEM LIVE IN 2009. Stop trying to imitate your colleague's irrelevant cynicism, you will never manage to sink down to his level. Your review is a waste of space.


      Sep 26, 2009 at 11:58pm

      I think the Ms. Rowland speaks for the masses when she refers to the bands recent recording history. They lost me somewhere around the time they released, like, 20 live albums at the same time. Nice review, though. Made me wish I was in the house.


      Sep 27, 2009 at 7:41am

      Can we all just agree that GS reviewers should maybe just stay away from PJ. How can you review PJ when yer still thinking the Arctic Monkeys and the Fleet Foxes are the second coming....Huge ups to Magmazing for the excellent youtube link.


      Sep 27, 2009 at 11:45am

      You guys like PJ we get it, but Sarah's opinion on PJ's post-millennial releases is practically consensus in the world of music criticism.


      Sep 27, 2009 at 1:23pm

      This is why Pitchfork doesn't have a comments section. So they can put out an honest opinion without fear of offending lowest denominator masses.