Thrown in as a free CD with the purchase of Normal Happiness, Moon is a live concert recorded in front of a Pearl Jam audience in Cincinnati, OH on 6-24-06. Culling from earlier solo releases and showing off tunes that would eventually be released on Normal, and even throwing in Game Of Pricks for those in the crowd who weren’t quite sure if he really is the dude from GBV, Robert Pollard and the Ascended Masters rock the house in fine style on this disc. Pulling together all of his vast influences and filtering them through his strong love for 70’s guitar bands, Pollard leads his new band through the ups and downs and curves that his songs naturally take, all with impeccable accuracy, timing, and the smirk that you know never leaves his face as though he were remembering when he was a kid jumping off his bed with a tennis racket, unable to quite believe, even after all these years, that he’s getting to do the gig for real.
It is no slap in the face for Pollard, long a closing act with GBV, to be an opener for the likes of Pearl Jam. In fact, it makes a kind of poetic sense that, so close to his beloved hometown of Dayton, he gets to act as an introduction for a band that sounds nothing like him but that shares his love of The Who, and who must still think enough of his growing legend to have invited him along for the ride. What I would have given to have been there that night.
Surely this record came about because Pearl Jam records every one of their shows for their bootleg series so, with everything all set up already, it would have been easy to chuck in another blank tape and capture the Pollard sweetness for us all. Sure, it seems that the crowd noises are edited out except for between songs (which smacks of studio re-touching), but that matters little. The sound quality is consistent and, for one-offs like this, that’s the best we can ask.
Some will probably say that this is a fans-only record, but that’s bollocks. I would have bought this CD if it had been a separate release, and I would have enjoyed it just as much. So pull on your faded Chucks, get down to your local indie record shop and snag your copy before they’re gone. It’ll be the best thing you do all day.