Another awesome Christmas 2013 gift, this 2CD soundtrack for the documentary of the same name, this is one helluva great set of unreleased material. What a gift to fans! I will assume, in writing this up, that you’ve seen the film. If you haven’t, go now and get you some!
Disc one is all live versions, from all over the world and from widely varying years in their career, early days to recent. Lots of highlights, of course, including Black from the MTV Unplugged, a beautiful Thumbing My Way (love that song), and then, well, the last 4 tracks of the CD… there’s Crown Of Thorns, and then a fan club only Christmas tune, and on and on. If this had been released as a one CD set, it’d still be totally worth it.
Disc two kicks off with 8 demo versions, lots of titles you don’t know here, even Matt Cameron singing. But then there’s a great acoustic guitar demo of Given To Fly by Mike McCready, and Jeff Ament’s demo of Nothing As It Seems. And then another whole whack of live tracks, same varied approach as disc one. And, oddly, an instrumental of Of The Girl in the middle of those! Also, shame that, on the back of the packaging, a live version of Bugs seems to have been deleted from between Betterman and Rearviewmirror. Ah well.
I wonder at sticking the demos into the middle of this collection. I might have put them up front, on disc 1, as they seem to be the meat of the project. It’s not as if we’re lacking for opportunities to hear live recordings of Pearl Jam… great as these are, the demos stand out more. I’d also have packed the instrumental of Of The Girl with the demos instead of breaking up the flow of the live tracks. Still, who cares, in the end? Me, apparently.
Nobody ever asks me when they get ’round to making sets like this. They should, of course, but they never do.