Pearl Jam – Twenty

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.

6 thoughts on “Pearl Jam – Twenty

  1. Deke says:

    I’m not a huge PJ fan ,I have some of there studio releases and I think the Fixxer was one of there best ever tracks well me thinks anyways!
    Having said that the one live album I really think stands out for them is the Drop In The Park live album recorded in 92.. There performance is outstanding on this,than again they have always been a great live band.
    They even showed up and played Thunder Bay back in 04 I think? Or was it 2006?
    I kick myself for missing that one!


    1. keepsmealive says:

      It’s always worth it to go see Pearl Jam perform. Even if you’re not a huge fan of the music. There’s a magic in the air, a sense of community. Unity. And while the albums are great (haven’t released a bad one yet, IMHO), the live act is where it’s at. And early days, ’92? Damn. So hot.

      Never know, Deke, they may come back to TBay someday. If they do, this time, GO! I saw them in Barrie in 1996 on a bill with 6 bands (they were headlining). Supposed to get Iggy Pop as the main opening act (second stage had the other 4 bands), but Iggy couldn’t get over the border into Canada. So, last minute, we got Cheap Trick. Ha. Still, great show.

      Lots of great live PJ out there (seems they release just about every show). Anywhere you stick your toe into the pool will serve you just fine! And this set is cool, as it spans all the years. With cool demos as a bonus. Yummy.


    1. keepsmealive says:

      Easy to let that happen – I wasn’t a first day buyer either. I thought “hm, MORE live Pearl Jam? How much do I need?” The correct answer being, of course, more more more! But the demos here are the real score, for me. I like hearing tunes in their embryonic state. It’s like when Lost Dogs came out and we went bonkers over the official release of so much unheard/bootlegged stuff.


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