It's been ten years since Pearl Jam burst through the hole opened by Nirvana. Six albums and almost as many drummers later and it seems as if they've never been better. Pearl Jam's awesome live show means that they're one of the most bootlegged bands of recent years, so the decision to release double CD albums of every European and North American date from last year's tour wasn't a great surprise. Following on from that comes this video of the best bits.
There are 28 tracks in all, each from a different show from the North American tour, but cut together to form one show. So far, so ordinary, but seeing the band perform adds an extra dimension to hearing a fantastic live band. Mike McCready's guitar playing is as good as ever, Jeff Ament seems like he hasn't changed a bit, and Eddie Vedder (with or without beard) looks more relaxed than ever. In fact, the whole band look relaxed, and look like they're having fun at last.
The songs themselves are basically what you'd expect, a greatest hits set with the odd cover version ('Rocking In The Free World') and few b-sides. The only complaint is that there could have been a few lesser known tracks (like 'State Of Love And Trust' perhaps), maybe split into two sets, but that's just being picky, 28 songs is excellent value. The sound quality is good, but not outstanding, although the superb surround sound mastering makes up for this.
In addition to the two hours of concert footage, the DVD gives you 50 minutes of backstage footage. This include at least 20 minutes of film from the European tour with three unreleased instrumentals and a live version of 'Yellow Ledbetter' as backing music. There is also 'Smile' live, with more footage of the band messing around. You also get to see drummer Matt Cameron during three songs from the set, which is actually more interesting than it sounds. Add to this the videos for 'Oceans' and 'Do The Evolution' and you've got a good package, although the MTV Award winning 'Jeremy' video would have been nice, as in fact would 'Alive', but that's pushing it a bit.
So, for a Pearl Jam fan this is an essential purchase. For the casual fan, it's still well worth getting to see a band with a fantastic back-catalogue at their best, and you get a hell of a lot for your money.
Given To Fly
Nothing As It Seems
Not For You
I Got Shit
Rocking In The Free World
Do The Evolution
Yellow Ledbetter (live)
10Martin Mildner's Score