Episode 255: Slim’s – 5/13/1993

About the Episode

Episode Release Date: October 18th, 2023

Episode Guests: Javier Hervas

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of Pearl Jam’s sophomore record, Vs., in this episode we’re going back to where it all started. In the spring of 1993, the band set out to record the new record in the Northern California town of San Rafael. The process took two months to lay down all the tracks. At the end of the session, a surprise show was planned under the moniker of the David J. Gunn Band at a small San Francisco area venue called Slim’s. It was on this night that the 500+ in attendance, both indoors and out, witnessed the dawning of the Vs. era.

Nearly everything off of the album debuted, plus other songs that would end up being Lost Dogs or on Vitalogy. Animal, Go, Blood, Dissident, W.M.A., Rats, Rearviewmirror appeared for the first time in their infant stages, alongside Whipping and a little Bad Radio song titled Better Man. Hard To Imagine also claimed it’s live debuted after being noodled and an improv all throughout the 1992 tour. An abridged version of Dirty Frank was played upon request, as was Alone that was also considered a deep cut by this point. While the beloved songs from Ten were played, they felt like an afterthought with all of the new material showcased.

This is considered to be the first true surprise show in the history of the band, and with that came stories of how this show was almost canceled on multiple occasions and may not have happened if Cyndi Lauper was still set to perform that night. To give us the historical context of this show, we’ve invited on a Pearl Jam community legend, Kathy Davis, who watched this show from an open window. If you don’t know Kathy, you should. She was a band archivist going all the way back to this era in 1993 putting together her zine called Footsteps. She’d later help take over with Two Feet Thick after Five Horizons parted ways. Her retelling of the night and how it all came about is more than enough reason to listen to this episode!

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