Sound: What's this? Another Pearl Jam live CD? They must have had a million out already! What's so good about this one? I'll tell you what's good about this one! Three full length Pearl Jam shows, spread over seven (count them) discs with almost the sound quality of a studio album. Salivating yet? On September 1st 2005, July 22nd and 23rd 2006 the people of the Gorge were given a feast of music. Memories that will live long in the minds of those lucky beings present. For the other 6 billion of us we have this PJ extravaganza. The next best thing. The band's grunge style is brought out fantastically both by the musicians and the expert sound recordists. Recorded by John Burton and mixed by Brett Ellason Pearl Jam's unique, raw brand of energy is captured on something as simple as a compact disc. With the feedback from the crowd being perfectly handled, it's top marks for both Pearl Jam's musicianship and the recording panel's adeptness. // 10
Lyrics: Well the one-of-a-kind Eddie Vedder is one of my role models and his voice still gives me shivers down my spine. He can chill, uplift, sadden and bring you into his mind all with one note. The grunge genre has truly produced two of the greatest singers of modern music with Eddie being joined by the magnificent Kurt Cobain on that particular pedestal. On top of all this, Vedder is also an expert lyric writer. Anyone who has listened to his lyrics in any kind of depth will tell you his phenomenal skill in this field. Riot Act's "I am Mine" and the single "Man Of The Hour" are perfect examples. But of course we do hear of many a singer who sounds good on a studio album but fails to deliver when performing live. Eddie Vedder does not fall into this category. He rips the night sky with rock classics like "Alive" and "Go" and sows it back together with slower hits like "Black". Granted he slips up at times on this CD notably in "Off He Goes" on Disc 1 but he shows his experience by glossing it over. He has amazing stage presence cracking jokes to the crowd, getting them to sing along and teaching them chants (Hello Tom! Come down Tom! ) I'm sure Tom Petty didn't get any sleep that night. Eddie's singing coupled with beautiful music from a top band gives a great sound and something to marvel at. // 9
Overall Impression: Well since this collection has over 100 tracks on it I'm going to pick out the stand out tracks for me which are truly masterful.
Man Of The Hour - I loved this song the second I heard the studio version and this is a great performance of it.
Alone - this is a song from Lost Dogs which I've always wondered why it didn't make it onto the band's debut album Ten. Great to hear it live and well played.
In My Tree - a song that the band takes to another level when performed live. Great energy to it.
Daughter - I love this song and these two versions are masterful. For each the band performs different outros. On the first Eddie conducts a sing along with the crowd. Great to listen to but my favorite is the second. It's probably my favourite track of the whole collection. It's Daughter/its Okay. This uplifts and I can put it on again and again. Eddie's singer is perfect and the crowd is electric. Absolutely brilliant. Must listen.
Wash - great song and another one left off Ten. I really began to like when I heard this version.
Even Flow - you hardly ever hear of a PJ gig where they fail to play this song. I particularly love the performances on the July gigs. Mike McCready's guitar solo and Matt Camaron's on drums are great to listen to. Great musicians.
Black - I'm probably the only Pearl Jam fan in the world who thinks this song is overrated but this version turned me over. When ever I listen to this song I listen to this track. The very end makes you cry with the crowd singing the 'dedoodoododedoo' part and Eddie riffing over it. Emotional.
Insignificance - great song. Great lyrics. Great performance. Need I say more?
Footsteps - another song left off the Ten album and it's a great one. This version is a little more in the spirit of "Times Of Trouble" by Temple of the Dog but still captivates.
Porch - great jams at the end of both these tracks.
Baba O'riley - I much prefer the latter's version of this The Who song. Great energy and a breath of fresh air.
Rockin' In A Free World - great version of a Neil Young song. Nine minutes long and Mike McCready working his magic yet again. Superb.
Betterman - I love the latter's one. It's really Betterman/Save It For Later by English Beat. Great Medley and Eddie yells himself hoarse.
Garden - a bit different than the studio version but just as powerful and haunting as the original.
Jeremy - even though I don't think there's anything special about this performance it gets in there just for being "Jeremy". Still prefer the studio version though.
I Won't Back Down - Tom Petty would be proud. This is just Eddie with his acoustic. His singing is so passionate and it breathes new life into a rock classic.
Crazy Mary - this version by far outstrips the 1st of September's version. This was the first time I had heard this song and it's nothing short of marvelous. Kudos to Boom Gasper.
18. F--kin' Up - another Neil Young classic. Brilliant.
Well that's my stand out tracks but there's many more I love but I've a sore wrist. This collection is the best live CD of all the other ones the band has brought out mainly due to the sound quality. Some stores are selling it cheaper than others but you gotta get it. It's a must have for any Pearl Jam fan. Take a bow Eddie, Jeff, Stone, Mike, Matt and Boom because it's immense. // 9