Episode 235: Universal City, CA – 10/1/2009

When you think of 2009, immediately the first thing that comes to everyone’s minds is those four Philadelphia shows that closed down The Spectrum. But people may forget that this wasn’t the only four-night stint that they had in one building during this tour year. The 6,000+ capacity Gibson Amphitheatre located in Universal Studios in Los Angeles also played host to four Pearl Jam shows. Not four in a row like Philly, but the shows invited a bit more of an intimate experience. We’ll talk about the two sets of shows and how one dominates the conversation over the other, but we’ll also address a misconception that people seem to have due to how The Spectrum shows went down.

We thank our Patron, Jason Weiss, for selecting this show as his episode request, and we’ll share his story here. This is a Backspacer era tour, which meant that eight of the eleven songs were played. Coming off the heels of our contentious takes on Ole, we’ll go off on another contentious song this week in Johnny Guitar, which has been known to be a bit divisive as well. If you join us for the Johnny talk, then you gotta stay for the conversations on Rearviewmirror, Alive, Red Mosquito featuring Ben Harper on a flat top steel guitar, and a spontaneous Lukin which included a string quartet accompanyment.

We’ll read you Question of the Week answers where we asked about what Backspacer songs that you’d like to see come back on the 2023 tour, and the Gear Guru segments will focus on Amongst The Waves, Red Mosquito and McCready’s electric Star-Spangled Banner.

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Pickin’ On Pearl Jam with Bluegrass Cover Band Iron Horse

Earlier this month, bluegrass cover band, Iron Horse, famed for their covers of bands such as Metallica, Guns ‘N Roses, Nirvana and many more, released an album complete with 12 renditions of popular Pearl Jam songs. All four members – Tony (mandolin), Vance (guitar), Andy (banjo) and Ricky (bass) join us to chat about the making of the record. We’ll ask them what went into the decision of selecting Pearl Jam material, how they decided what songs to pick, their previous intake of Pearl Jam and how challenging the process was to transition their songs into bluegrass. It’s a great conversation with insight into the bluegrass world and how it’s able to mix within other genres of music.

Episode 234: Santiago, CHL – 11/16/2011

Let’s head down to South America for this episode where the crowds show up in massive numbers and bring their powerful voices along with them. We have a special one here for you as we’re joined by our 5th leg, the Gear Guru Javier Hervas, for the entire episode. As you may have heard in recent episodes, Javier is our expert musician who joins in for a few segments per show to discuss some of the things you hear in songs and how the band creates the sound you’re witnessing. He’ll break down all of those pieces for an entire set here, including why 2011 is an important year for developing the tone that is still used in current shows.

As this was a show he attended in his homeland of Chile, the Guru will pull double duty talking about both the sound experience as well as his personal perspective and memories from the show. We’ll talk about Unthought Known being an usual opener getting the nod to kick things off, a wild crowd who would not adhere to Ed’s ‘three steps back’ request and full breakdown on some of the best highlights of the night, including amazing versions of Black and Rearviewmirror.

Javier will answer your questions for him this week about gear that they’ve used on tours and what makes certain songs work, and we’ll also go into heavy discussion on the song Olé. It’s our first time covering the song since episode 13, which means a full breakdown on why this could be Pearl Jam’s worst song was a necessary discussion!

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Patreon Exclusive: First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN – 3/25/1992

A little bonus episode for you guys this week! Thought this would be a nice attachment to the Portland show because they basically bookend this little US run that happens in the spring of 1992. We picked this for two reasons – 1) It’s a great excuse to discuss the legendary First Avenue. 2) It felt like we needed to do another Minnesota show in preparation for September, so this was an easy choice. Despite this boot not sounding all that great, We put together an interesting episode here for a show that was the follow up to the iconic MTV Unplugged taping. We’ll get into that, the venue, and we even do our best to guess what Ed is saying in each of his speeches due to this rough recording. Yes, we’ll probably talk about that all episode, but there is a cool Easter egg attached with that that also has an attachment to the local area. See if you can figure it out!

Episode 233: Portland, OR – 5/17/1992

This episode, we rock Portland! May 17th is former drummer Dave Abbruzzese’s birthday, so we decided to go back to the only show where he played with the band on this date from 1992. A lot of the conversation will be directed towards Dave and how well he was clicking with the band just less than a year since joining them. His bombastic, hard pounding style is in the forefront of this show, and we’ll focus on songs like Oceans, Why Go and State Of Love And Trust that he’s a standout on. This show is also the debut of Dave’s first song he wrote for the band, Angel. Will we get to hear from Dave himself about the development of the song? You’ll just have to tune in!

We’ll discuss the meteoric rise of the band during this time period. The show happened days after the first airing of MTV Unplugged and only a few weeks away from the iconic Pinkpop show, so their popularity was just on the verge of skyrocketing. This is also a great show for Mike McCready who is showing off his talents in songs such as Alive, Black, SOLAT and Porch, and we’ll get to talk about some era-specific improvs as well.

For the question of the week, we’ll read your answers on what songs from the post-Dave A era that you’d think he would excel at playing, and our Gear Guru segments will talk about the overall raw sound of the band during this era, and touch up a little bit on channeling their influences during Porch.

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Episode 232: Camden, NJ – 9/14/2022

For the second week in a row, we’re diving back into 2022 to discuss one of Randy’s favorite shows he’s ever been to that happened in Camden. Originally slated for Baltimore during what was going to be the 2020 run, the band making a return to the Philadelphia area meant that there were no punches going to be pulled, this was destined to be a monster set. Seeing that the city has had rich and historical significance within the 32 years of this band, there were many callbacks to other Philly shows, including the legendary JC Dobbs show in 1991. Nine of the ten songs from that show were played that night as the earliest eras of Pearl Jam dominated this set.

A lot of this episode will focus around Randy’s personal stories and why this was an important show to him. There were songs played on this night that were very high up on his wishlist. Ones that he’d seen before, but not in over a decade, and a few that he’d been chasing for just as long. We’ll highlight the memories created from hearing songs like Hard To Imagine, Untitled/MFC and Inside Job that were incredibly powerful, experience making moments. We’ll also go in depth on an explosive version of Retrograde as well as an excellent Not For You.

A big story from this show was that Ed and the band invited All-In contest winners, Richie and Dermot Berg to the stage, after a full day of experiencing the preparation of what goes in to putting together a Pearl Jam show. Back last September, we invited the Berg’s onto the podcast to tell their story. We’ll relive a clip from that, but give the full episode that’s available in our archives a listen because there’s no lack of awesome information shared there.

We’ll read your answers for question of the week where we asked whether you preferred shows in an amphitheater or arena setting, and our Gear Guru segment this week will focus on Do The Evolution playing off of the song’s original pace and Quick Escape’s overall sound from the Gigaton tour.

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Episode 231: San Diego, CA – 5/3/2022

On the one-year anniversary of the 2022 tour’s kickoff, we’re taking a look back at the first makeup show for the postponed 2020 tour. It started in San Diego, CA, a place that has always been treated as a homecoming for Ed, who grew up there in his school-aged years. With family, friends and celebrities on hand to witness this event, the expectations and nerves were at an all-time high. But with that being said, the setlist was curated in a way that paid tribute to the ocean and local area which most of his early lyrics were written.

There’s a moment in this show that can be argued as one of the most emotional in the band’s history. Ed makes a touching tribute to his brother before playing an incredibly powerful Long Road, but the tribute developed out of a dedication. Mike Cribier had written into the forums requesting that the band play In My Tree for his brother who tragically passed away back in 2014. Mike will join us on this episode to talk about his brother’s accident and living his final days listening to the band nonstop, the shock when Ed mentioned him by name and the addition of In My Tree as a tag on Daughter. It’s a can’t miss conversation.

Also in this show, the re-emergence of Gigaton songs that were played in a small sample size at the 2021 festival shows. Javier’s Gear Guru segment this week will focus specifically on the equipment used on this tour and how the tone impacted new songs such as Retrograde and Seven O’Clock. And of course, we will go into a lengthy discussion about the reverse Mamasan and how playing it in San Diego may have been more special than any other instance where it’s been performed.

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Episode 230: Pittsburgh, PA – 4/26/2003

After a week of big announcements in the Pearl Jam world, we’re coming back this week with more of the Riot Act Tour! Why not?! We’ll discuss a little bit of the upcoming September tour in the beginning of the episode, but if you want our full fledged analysis, please check out our reaction episode that came out earlier in the week. Pittsburgh is yet again on the docket for us, and the show from 2003 has plenty to talk about. Highlights galore in the main set as we’ll chat about Small Town making what was a rare appearance as an opener at the time, a killer Corduroy, an amazing Immortality, a Wishlist with an extended improv and Even Flow which was on the patented McCready hot streak at the end of the April run.

No lack of discussions for encore 1 as we get the very rare appearance of the scrambled Mamasan with Once appearing in the set prior to Alive. We’ll continue conversation about the development of Alive’s presence in 2003, and we’ll go in-depth on the addition of the harmonica to Footsteps and what would later become a composition change in the song. Oh, and an 11-minute Rearviewmirror to end the encore ain’t a bad thing at all!

Also in this episode, we’ll share our Patron Michael Fleisher’s story about this show due to this being his request, we’ll read you answers for question of the week that asked what some of your favorite shows were that had an abundance of a certain album’s songs played, and our Gear Guru segment delves deeper into the Even Flow hot streak that took 2003 by storm.

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Pearl Jam 2023 Tour Announcement Reaction Episode

It’s that time again! After a big come back year in 2022 with many highs and even a few lows, Pearl Jam has just announced their tour plans for 2023. It’s a nine-date run in the midwest from north to south featuring shows in St. Paul, Chicago, Indianapolis, Dallas/Forth Worth and Austin. On this special episode we breakdown all of the tour dates and what people may expect night in and night out, the length of the tour and why they may have gone this route, the accessibility of the locations, potential financial concerns and so much more. If you need all of your pre-tour information before the you win the Ten Club lottery, we touch up on everything!

Evolution Series: #21 “Love Boat Captain”

It’s time to evolve again! In our first Evolution Series episode about a song written after the year 2000, we are digging into one of the band’s most personal and emotional songs in Love Boat Captain. It’s a song about one of music’s worst tragedy’s that the band almost didn’t come back from, and the song has stood as grieving moment memorializing the nine lives lost in Roskilde. We’ll talk about versions where the band uses it as a tribute, and uses the crowd’s participation to lift them up. But we can’t forget about Boom! We’ll go into full detail about how this song was his gateway into the band and why Ed had always dubbed him as their Love Boat Captain. Lest we forget, we also have the modern era jammy versions of this song that we’ll talk about in full detail as well! Get ready for 140 minutes of great storytelling and extensive research all about one song that may have changed everything.

Episode 229: Champaign, IL – 4/23/2003

Continuing on our run of Riot Act shows, this week takes us to the home of the Fighting Illini in Champaign, IL. For this show being on a college campus and therefore not allowing the sale of alcohol, the crowd did an excellent job bringing in the same kind of energy that you’d see from their in-state big city counterpart in Chicago.

There are a handful of interesting things from this one. Do The Evolution is opened with for only the 4th time to this point, The Police cover, Driven To Tears, is played for the first time in 404 shows, and the first with a full band, and Ed will break out a ukulele for The Who song Blue Red Grey that Ed admits he stole for Soon Forget. Those two covers are part of this show’s major theme which is a total of six covers played on this night. We’ll discuss this in full detail and bring to the table how many covers are enough or too much to play in a set.

You guys weighed in on that on social media and answered that exact question, so we’ll read some of the answers that we got in the episode. Randy will talk a little bit about his upcoming Seattle trip for the last week of the MoPop exhibit and Record Store Day at Easy Street, and Javier’s Gear Guru segment will focus on the juxtaposition of tones from Given To Fly and Nothingman played back to back on this night.

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Episode 228: West Palm Beach, FL – 4/11/2003

As is the theme for this year, we’re back to celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Riot Act tour for the next few weeks looking into some of Pearl Jam’s most notable shows from April of 2003. We’re talking about a show from West Palm Beach in this episode, which may not stand out to you on paper, but it features significant moments that define some of the themes for this entire tour year. Three themes are prominent from this era – 1) is of course the political aspect as the country had just gone to war with Iraq and Ed had put President Bush under scrutiny every night. 2) is the aftermath of Roskilde still in ways effecting this band three years later. And 3) is the return of old songs into the setlist that had been missing since the mid-90s. Thanks to our Patron Jared Schaffer for requesting this under the radar show.

To hit all three of these topics specifically, one thing we’ll discuss is a version of I Am A Patriot that was re-constructed strictly for this era and talk about the political nature involved, as well as Ed’s invigorated speech that followed. We’ll get deep into the topic of Love Boat Captain, which is featured as our brand new Evolution Series episode that will be out to Patreon very soon, to talk about how the incident at Roskilde helped them create music through the process of grieving. And on the subject of returning songs, this show’s Glorified G performance was the first in 188 shows since November of 1996. We know that Ed sang a glorified version of I hate this song, but what band member here didn’t seem to take it as seriously as the others on it’s return?

Other big highlights we’ll discuss are Ed singing into a fan’s cellphone during State Of Love And Trust, and an excellent call and response section of Daughter that led to a rare tag of Sleater-Kinney’s Dig Me Out. We’ll also answer this episode’s question of the week which asked you all on social media what your favorite moments from the 2003 tour were, and our Gear Guru segments will discuss Stone’s gear during this tour year and some of the effects that came from his guitar and Ed’s vocals on Daughter.

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Episode 227: Bristow, VA – 5/13/2010

Most shows that go down as some of the greatest in Pearl Jam’s history are usually remembered for having an excellent crowd feeding off their energy. There are some shows that may not get discussed as often due to a crowd not living up to expectations. Bristow, VA 2010 fits into that latter category. On a cold night in an outdoor amphitheater just outside of Washington DC, the band had a challenge at hand when difficulties connecting with the crowd let to a few rough performances. As professionals, they kept pushing and pushing, and the crowd slowly but surely started to give them the reaction they desired. It was all good in the end, but this week’s episode talks about some of the struggles that this show presented.

Right off the top of the show we’ll run our interview with the host of The Better Band Podcast, Branden Palomo. After four years, his podcast that features a song-by-song run through of every Pearl Jam track will be going on hiatus. We bring him on to thank him for his work and get a little introspective on how his time with his show gave him a new outlook on this community.

Our question of the week stems from the theme of the episode. We read your answers on whether or not you’ve ever been to a Pearl Jam show where the band and crowd had a difficult time connecting. In our Gear Guru segment this week, Javier discusses the change in set-up for the Backspacer tour, including how shows from this era sound way more condensed than they did in the past.

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Episode 226: Murfreesboro, TN – 3/26/1994

We’re covering a Vs./Vitalogy era show this week from 1994 where both albums were nearly splitting play time live, but that’s not the story we’ll have for you here. Murfreesboro is legendary thanks to the appearance of one of the great song-writers of all-time, Steve Cropper. As part of the backing band, Booker T and The MGs, Cropper has played for a number of world renowned stars such as Otis Redding, John Lennon and even featured in the Blues Brothers band. After a 1993 tour where Pearl Jam opened for Neil Young with The MGs as his backing band, this led to an opportunity when they stopped by his home in Tennessee while touring. As a major surprise, he joined the band to perform Dock Of The Bay and Rockin’ In The Free World. The Dock Of The Bay performance became one of the most sought after covers of theirs, and was a track on the popular No Fucking Messiah bootleg. This song and Cropper are the central focus of the episode, and we’ll bring in Patrick and Brian from our sister podcast, Hallucinogenic Recipe, to discuss some of the history behind it.

Outside of the legendary moment, this was one of many scorcher shows in the 1994 tour year. With Dave A coming near the end of his run with the band, this is a hard hitting show that opened the gates for the band to get out of control on multiple occasions. You’ll hear mind blowing versions of Rearviewmirror, Go, Deep, Blood, Alive and Porch that we’ll discuss in full breakdown.

You answered the question of the week this week pertaining to the Dock Of The Bay appearance, which OTOTO type songs have been some of your favorites, and we’ll read the answers on the show. Also, Javier will join us for our Gear Guru segment this week where he’ll talk about Steve Cropper’s unique guitar and sound that he was using in this show.

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Episode 225: Pittsburgh, PA – 9/5/2000

There are moments that happen on the Pearl Jam live stage where you understand that what’s happening before you is a once in a lifetime moment. They’ve created a plethora of these moments in their 30+ years of touring, but that’s what keeps the faithfull coming back. They come in all shapes and forms, but when a member of the crowd is invited on stage, you understand how big a deal it is. One of the earliest occasions of this happening was back in Pittsburgh in 2000. Ed noticed a woman with a white umbrella who had been following them from night to night, so he called her down to the stage to play her request for Wash that was written on the umbrella. We’re excited to be joined by Amy in this episode so she can share her amazing story with you all! From how it all happened that night, to how she was able to see 100 shows by this time, these stories are can’t miss!

But the show itself is important in it’s own right. It was the final show for the leg that occurred following the Roskilde tragedy. It was a bit of a tumultuous tour, but getting to play this show felt like a cathartic release for the band during this difficult time. The setlist is interesting for a couple of reasons. Due to a family emergency, opening band Sonic Youth couldn’t perform as a full band so the remaining members played in the pre-set. Including a collaboration with Ed on Binaural rarity Parting Ways, and obscure Who b-side Naked Eye. Outside of the request for Wash, which hadn’t been played in four years, the band pulled out another rarity in the encore with a version of I Got You by The Split Ends.

Also on the pod this week, we’ll read your answers for your favorite crowd interactive moments in the band’s history. And we’ll have three Gear Guru segments this week featuring thoughts on Sleight Of Hand, Rearviewmirror and Mankind.

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Episode 224: Antwerp, BEL – 8/30/2006

Out of around 1,200 shows played within the lexicon of Pearl Jam, there are inevitably some that are going to fall between the cracks. Those shows are mostly considered to be outside of the USA, just because the majority of active fans happen to be American. But there are hundreds of Australian, South American and European shows that over time get forgotten about mainly due to being fresh in people’s heads. This episode features a show from 2006 out of Antwerp, Belgium that some may not consider to be better than average just from viewing the setlist, but is extremely important when looking back on their entire history of playing there. Thanks to Gunter (never thought you’d…) Habets for the off the radar request!

This show is important because after 15 years it was their first in Belgium, but that was never the plan. They’ve had to make multiple cancelations back in 1992, and then again in 2000 as a show at the Rock Werchter Festival was slated to be the following show after Roskilde. Since the fans had been waiting a long time, and the band also waiting just as long, this felt like a massive show for everyone involved. The crowd is in top form coming up with creative ways to participate during songs like Small Town, Present Tense and especially Black. We’ll also hear the band put forth inspired versions of songs like Big Wave, Hail, Hail and a version of Even Flow with a massive Matt Cameron solo befitting of the era. We’ll also get the first appearance of Hunger Strike in three years, but was the Wolfmother frontman good enough to step into Eddie’s shoes? Very debatable.

Check out the answers for question of the week where we asked you all on social media what you thought was the best Avocado live track from the 2006 tour to see what songs ranked highest. And we’ll also have three Gear Guru segments this week where Javier will discuss the overall 2006 sound in songs like Unemployable, Big Wave and Alive.

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Episode 223: Philadelphia, PA – 4/28/2016

The City Of Brotherly Love has been home to countless legendary Pearl Jam shows and moments throughout their history. As a matter of fact, the night after this show was the show in which they they played the album Ten in full. Which makes some people forget about night 1 from 2016 due to the magnitude of the Ten banner being raised. But what good are we if we can’t give every great show a spotlight on this podcast? Because there is no reason why this one shouldn’t be discussed as an all-time classic show, and we’re here to prove that.

With the knowledge of the album getting a run, this show was constructed so that Philly people would get to see some rarities, including three that haven’t been played since that date – Gonna See My Friend, In The Moonlight and Education. But it didn’t matter what they played, because the crowd was on fire the entire night. Right from the top when opening up with Once (including the Master/Slave intro that they would of course repeat again the following night), you knew that the crowd was going to make this a night to remember. We’ll go in depth on Love Boat Captain, In My Tree, Jeremy, Crown Of Thorns and Crazy Mary where the crowd is at the top of their game. Also, how about a concert wedding up in Suite 225?

This episode’s question of the week is based off of the rare songs that we’ll talk about. We came up with a system for scoring your rarest songs you’ve seen, and we’ll calculate the numbers and share them with you! On that note, our Gear Guru, Javier, tackles a different approach to rare songs and discusses what the musical reason for not playing them is.

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Pearl Jam Song Tier Lists: Ep. 16 – Christmas Singles


All opinions are subjective, but my purpose in these videos has always been to dig as deep into an album as humanly possible and rank each song based off of three things. 1) It’s overall popularity. 2) How it’s utilized live. 3) My personal interests. Those ingredients together make up a tier list ranking that I attempt to be as fair and balanced in order to pay homage to Pearl Jam’s history. This one is the 16th and final tier list video for original tracks as I take what’s left over from the Christmas Singles and rank them. There are only nine songs, so unlike the other lists this is rather uneventful. The songs talked about here are Angel, Happy When I’m Crying, Falling Down, Santa God, Turning Mist, Santa Cruz, Fuck Me In The Brain, Last Soldier and Olympic Platinum. If there is a song you are thinking about right now that wasn’t mentioned on this list, the likelihood is that we covered it in a previous Tier List episode.

What’s great about this band or anything that you have an opinion on is that your opinion is yours and you’re well within your right to have one. Same goes for me. So screaming about me not placing a song where you want it to be adds absolutely nothing to the conversation. Be civil about it, you’re not the only person that loves this band and the songs don’t revolve around you. Peace and thanks!

Episode 222: Sendai, JP – 2/28/2003

It feels like whenever a band embarks out on a ‘world tour’, you can’t coin that phrase unless you make a pitstop in Japan. While Pearl Jam has never done a true official world tour, they’ve had the opportunity to visit Japan twice. The first time was in 1995, and then they went back for five shows in 2003. This episode focuses on the Sendai show from the Riot Act tour. These shows are always interesting because the crowd is a lot more reserved than your every day average concert crowd. This factor mixed in with a venue that maxed out at 1,000 seats meant that the band could create more of an experimental setlist, moving songs around in parts of the set that stray from normal scenarios.

The best example of this show going through the experimental route happens at the very beginning. It starts with Of The Girl, which seems normal, but the performance in itself sets up for the unconventional trio that follow – Immortality, Insignificance and 1/2 Full. The rest of the show maintains weird spurts of momentum with not many radio hits mixed in the main set. As for the hits go, this isn’t the crowd that’s going to follow the same kind of cues we’re familiar with. We’ll concentrate mostly on Better Man and how strange it was without any participation from the crowd.

We’ll answer our question of the week this week which stems off of the first four songs of the setlist, and our Gear Guru segment features Javier breaking down the juxtaposition between Mike and Stone’s solo on the show closer, Porch.


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Episode 221: Maui, HI – 2/21/1998

Let’s begin our Yield tour celebration by going back and covering the 25th anniversary of their two night stint in Maui. A destination show for Pearl Jam in a 5,000 person venue to kick off a strong slate of shows for 1998. Hawaii is a place that would gain importance over time as it became a second home for Eddie, and his friendship connections would later lead to him and Boom Gaspar meeting. This time period would also become known as the beginning of the end for Jack Irons as he would leave the band following the ensuing Australian tour leg.

As we’ve discussed in the past three episodes, we’ll once again have the chance to talk about some of the earliest performances of Yield album tracks. Songs like Given To Fly, Faithfull and MFC provided a punch and make an impact, while a song like Wishlist is still finding its way. This show features 21 songs in a shortened 90 minute set thanks to an early curfew, but the band leans heavily on No Code and the new songs while Vs. and Ten tracks are fairly limited. We’ll discuss the fourth of fourteen performances of Around The Bend during this episode!

If you like surprises, I think you’ll be satisfied once the episode gets to about the 50 minute mark! No spoilers, but you’ll enjoy this! Also, we’ll have our Gear Guru Javier back to discuss Stone’s wah wah pedal on Do The Evolution, and we’ll answer the question of the week – what is your dream destination vacation spot that you’d like to see the band do a residency in?


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