Sound: Even if you never understood the hysteria over Pearl Jam in the 1990s, you might just want to give the band another chance with it's latest DVD Immagine In Cornice. It doesn't take the usual approach of a live concert video, instead trying out a more cinematic view of the band's 2006 tour in Italy. There's a wealth to look at on the DVD, and thanks to the HD camerawork in some sections, it's also gorgeous to watch. There are 13 songs (plus a few bonuses) performed during the course of the Italy-hopping concerts, and they all hearken back to the classic Pearl Jam era. There are hardcore fans who will say that the band has never ceased to have a heyday, but for the general bulk of Americans, hearing Alive, Even Flow, and Porch evoke some particularly strong particularly strong memories.
The fact that the band didn't feel the need to swamp the songlist with their newest material was a surprising and refreshing aspect. While Jeremy is not one of the featured tracks, it didn't need to be. Corduroy, Better Man, and State Of Love And Trust are all greatest-hits material as well, and sound just as good as they did back in the day. It's true that it all does seem to shy away from the band's later years, but it's easily forgivable. Among the other standout tracks are Life Wasted, World Wide Suicide, and the Neil Young hit Rockin' In The Free World. The performances are all solid, but it's the moments away from the traditional stage that are the most memorable. In one moment vocalist Eddie Vedder and guitarist Mike McCready sit down with acoustics on stone steps somewhere in Europe and proceed to perform an impromptu Lukin. There are some extremely candid musical moments like that and they're just as engaging as the rehearsed stage show. // 9
Content: You're getting quite a lot more than a concert, and it's hard to say if it's the stage show or the numerous peeks backstage that are the highlight. One of the best moments comes right after a performance of Alive, when you're taken backstage with the band as they chill and discuss what songs will be in the encore. I can't ever remember seeing a DVD in the past where you see the band writing out the finale list -- pretty much off the cuff -- and it's a bit surreal to see Pearl Jam working it out amongst themselves. In another scene you see Vedder talking sweetly with his young daughter about trees, and it's pretty priceless.
The main feature is lengthy in itself, but you do get 3 bonus songs on top of it. There is a very cool cover of The Who's A Quick One (While He's Away) with My Morning Jacket, and the performance is actually one of the best -- if not the best -- on the entire DVD. Throw Your Arms Around Me and Yellow Ledbetter are also included in the bonus tracks. // 10
Production Quality: The video quality doesn't get much better than Immagine In Cornice. Using everything from HD to Super 8, the DVD is shot very much like a film. If you don't like things to get too artsy with your music videos, then you might find it a little too much. But even if you get antsy at something like that, you'll still enjoy the concert performances, which are shot in a consistently gorgeous camera style (which is likely HD). // 10
Overall Impression: With over 150 minutes of footage on the DVD, you'll be getting your money's worth. Truth be told, it's the moments away from stage that are the most engaging. The band is truly a cast of characters in a way, with very distinct personalities that you wouldn't necessarily expect to work so easily together. Whether bassist Jeff Ament is skateboarding or Vedder is practicing his Italian backstage, Immagine In Cornice takes you through the Pearl Jam traveling experience. Pearl Jam is one of those bands that, if you haven't remained a religious follower, you might have lost touch with over the years. It's nice to have reminder of why exactly they rose to iconic status in the first place. There is an onstage chemistry among the band members that is immediately evident, not to mention Vedder's almost hypnotic stage presence that seems to captivate the crowds. Although13 tracks might not seem like a huge playlist, Pearl Jam has put more energy than most bands in creating a truly well-rounded and entertaining DVD. // 9