This episode is our fifth and final in our run of celebrating 30 years of the Vs. era. We’ve decided to go backwards a little bit and veer away from the November/December shows by covering one from Vancouver when they opened up for Neil Young back in September from that year. After five years, this is our first opportunity to discuss a show that emanated from the Seattle’s neighbor to the north, so we’ll take some time to dig into the history of shows from there and find something special about each of them. For this show in 1993, it’s only 16 songs, and suffers a bit from really bad acoustics in a big football stadium that did not meet expectations of ticket sales. Although Pearl Jam and Ed seemed ripe to take a jab at the place every opportunity they got, they made the most of it and gave the crowd a preview of half the Vs. record which was still over a month away from being released. This show was also the follow up to the legendary performances of Animal and Rockin’ In The Free World at the VMA’s, so we’ll talk a little about the immediate impact of those two moments.
It’s Groundhog Day… again! For the fifth time in seven episodes (and it’ll be sixth in eight next week before getting to some 2023 shows) we’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Vs. tour. The tour certainly had it’s ups and downs, and while the last two episodes could be considered some of the down moments, this second night in Vegas is the follow up to a show that’s pound for pound one of the best on this tour. The first night in Vegas featured a reunion of Green River, and the moment where Jeff and Stone joined Mark Arm and Steve Turner for the first time since 1987 seemed to re-energize the band.
As they only had two more dates before ending the tour on a triple header back home in Seattle, you’re able to tell that a little bit of the weight was lifted off their backs. It had been a year of growing pains, but on most nights they were able to put aside their struggle with fame to spend 90 minutes giving the crowd a show to remember. All of the positive energy was radiant on stage at this show with Jeff doing his signature zips and leaps across the stage and Ed’s voice having that trademark ferocity for the era. We’ll dig deep into songs like Go, Glorified G, Daughter, Garden, Blood, Porch and others that were the highlights from this night.
We’ll also react to the news announced by Matt Cameron that the new album is mixed and ready, and the Gear Guru segments this week will dig into an intro for Daughter that had a very 80s, Tears For Fears or Police sound to it, and will get into Mike’s experimental, Sonic Youth inspired sound on the Porch solo.
Let’s stick in 1993 for this episode and head over to Nacogdoches, Texas, a show that takes place only days after Ed’s arrest in New Orleans that we talked about last week. This show yet again presents all of the trials and tribulations of being on tour in 1993. After playing nearly non-stop, and spending their off days working on and recording brand new music, the rigorous travel had finally gotten to the health of Dave Abbruzzese where he is needed to rush to the emergency room after the main set. This left for the band to improvise an encore without drums.
We invite one of the most knowledgeable Pearl Jam minds onto the show that wrote THE book chronicling the history and timeline of Pearl Jam in PJ20, Jonathan Cohen. Jonathan joins us to give a little bit of context to the era and why the band had a difficult time dealing with their skyrocketing popularity, and what they did to seek the advice of rock ‘n’ roll’s elder statesmen to help guide them through. We’ll also talk a little bit about Pearl Jam’s 2024 plans and what you can expect from a new album year!
We’ll spend some time on some interesting setlist decisions from this show, including the choice to open with the Daughter/Glorified G combination, Sonic Reducer in the middle of the main set and of course the decisions made without Dave on hand. The Gear Guru segments will break down both Yellow Ledbetter and Footsteps that were performed without drums at this show.
As we continue our ode to the 30 years of the Vs. tour this November, we’re stopping at a show that’s known for both what happened during the concert, and then what happened in the aftermath. The show is an unforgettable night from this tour highlighted by a very early rendition of Crazy Mary in which original songwriter, Victoria Williams, joins them to play guitar and sing, and long-time Pearl Jam producer, Brendan O’Brien, is called upon to play the B3. It’s a moment that’s etched in history, but perhaps gets overshadowed by the events that took place the following night. After a dispute with a fan in a New Orleans bar, Eddie Vedder was arrested for public drunkenness and disturbing the peace after spitting in the man’s face. We’ll take the early portion of the episode to discuss about the incident as we’ll invite the 1993 American League Cy Young award winner, Jack McDowell, onto the show, who was there during the occurrence.
We’ll talk to Jack about his relationship with Eddie and how they met through their ex-wives, how Pearl Jam got his band V.I.E.W. bumped off a gig at CBGB’s, how he and Ed convinced TV reporters that Ed was a White Sox call-up, and of course the New Orleans situation. Get to hear what he thought of the whole ordeal and how his night ended up after getting into it with the friend of the agitator that Ed had to deal with. There was only so much time that we had to share of his interview in this episode, but check out Patreon this week for the director’s cut of the interview featuring stories about his band’s V.I.E.W. and stickfigure, Pearl Jam’s relationship with baseball and his current frustrations with baseball analytics that he likes to write songs about.
As for the show, there are excellent performances that we’ll get to dig into from Why Go, Footsteps, Porch, Rats, Blood and of course, Crazy Mary. We’ll also discuss Release being an OTOTO Daughter tag and a wild sequence that featured Ed singing lyrics from Michael Jackson song “Ben” into a fierce, unrelenting rendition of Blood. Our Gear Guru segments this week will focus on some of the slide guitar features of Rats, and of course, the contrast of this version of Crazy Mary compared to what we know of it now.
1993 could be considered as one of the most important years in the history of Pearl Jam. Vs. sold over a million copies in a week, their popularity was skyrocketing to unprecedented heights where mainstream news sources like TIME Magazine wanted in on the hype. Believe it or not, we haven’t dabbled in many 1993 shows on this podcast. That’s why this entire month is dedicated to the tour year where we’ll talk about some great shows that may get overlooked next to the all-timers such as Indio, Mudfest and others. This episode will take us to Ed’s hometown in San Diego for the second of a two night stint that displayed the power and authenticity of the band in their sophomore year.
A lot of the conversation here will be about Dave A and how comfortable he felt behind the kit during this time period. His heavy, bombastic style brought even more power and ferocity to the songs that had already claimed that identity. But he also made a song such as Release feel like a triumphant, exhilarating live experience that elevated every band member to match his intensity. The big story of this show comes within one of the most polished improv performances they’d ever attempt with a song that is known as Hold Me. We’ll get into a deep discussion on how locked in the band was at this time that they were able to make these improvs feel like well rehearsed songs that could’ve been confused as b-sides. Porch and Once are also major highlights of this show to tune in for.
Our Gear Guru segments this week feature Javier getting into whether Stone is using a Fuzz Pedal on Jeremy, how electric guitar works for a song like Small Town and what made the improv come all together to feel complete. Javier has a brand new single out called La Distancia under the artist name Panamericana. You can find the song on Apple Music and Spotify streaming platforms. Please go check it out!
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!
This show has been on our radar for quite a while and we’re happy to finally get it out to you in this episode! In the summer of 1993 prior to the release of Vs., Pearl Jam was doing some touring opening up for U2 and Neil Young getting at most around 45-60 minutes of set time. That was until they hit the middle of the prairies in Manitoba, Canada to headline Sunfest. However, nobody knows this show under that name. This show has properly been dubbed, Mudfest. A rainy evening up in Gimli caused for slippery conditions and a misty drizzle that followed the band around the whole night. But the legend of the show doesn’t end there. We got a racous, inebriated Eddie Vedder at his absolute best firing up the crowd and letting his voice growl and shred the entire night. The early performances of six Vs. songs are eye opening, especially Go, Animal and Indifference, which had the same show closing vibe that we are known to see nowadays.
Come for the mud, stay for the belittling of SetlistFm.
Let’s kill two birds with one stone here as May’s Vault series continues and we start to get prepping for the upcoming Vegas show! We’re going back to 1993 on the Vs. tour to talk about one of the most recognizable shows that year from the Aladdin Theater on 11/30. This show is know for being the reunion for Stone and Jeff’s former pioneering Seattle grunge band, Green River. Along with former Green River members Mark Arm and Steve Turner from Mudhoney, the reunion is much more than getting a band back together and more so a group of friends being reunited after six years. We’ll also get a crooning Eddie with a very special Vegas-related guest. We’ll hear some stories from two different parties in this show. First, Patrick and Brian from Hallucinogenic Recipe stop by to go over the history of why this was such a highly circulated boot before becoming a Vault show. Then we’ll play a byte from Given To Live’s Tom Pugh who sat with young Reece Jones to chat about his experience at the Oakland show, a story you do not want to miss! That and plenty of Vs. tracks including a phenomenal version of Go, and most importantly, the live debut of Tremor Christ.
We’re back for our second edition of the album song Tier List. If you know your Pearl Jam album chronology, then you know exactly what this is. We’re looking into Vs. to try and find the cream of the crop from their amazing sophomore release. Remember, the game we play is to create one ‘S’ Tier Song at the end so it will go into a final challenge when we come to the end. These lists are based off of three factors – 1. is how I personally attach to a song, 2. is how the fanbase in general attaches themselves and 3. is how the band sees the song 29 years after its release. Opinions are just that. If you agree on me with everything, that’s wonderful, but I would not expect that from the majority of you. Shouting and getting angry over someone’s opinion does not make your opinion better, it just makes it your opinion. I’m not saying this to protect myself from being harassed about it, it’s more about how we all want to see this community be reflected as. There’s no need for there to be infighting, I’ll respect people’s opinions as long as they are civil.
In this episode of the late night series, we look back on the 1993 Video Music Awards performance where they premiered Animal for the first time in a public setting, and had Neil Young join up for Rockin’ In The Free World. Only a little more than a month before the release of Vs. and Pearl Jam is starting to creep back into the public eye. However, not without resistance. Being on top of the world wasn’t what the band had in mind, and all of this media sensationalism got the best of Ed. We’ll go through both performances and why Ed isn’t very camera friendly, but the rest of the band, and Neil, more than make up for it.
In this episode we invite Clint Brownlee, author of the new 33 1/3rd book about Vs. onto the podcast! He’ll talk about his research for the book in an extremely important era for Pearl Jam that almost tore them apart as they became the biggest band in the world. We’ll also talk about the story of his first show which was the kick off to this album tour in 1993. There is no perfect formula for handling fame when you’re popularity is skyrocketing to peaks reached by a select few in the industry. Some bands live a lavish life on the road carelessly spending money, diving into drugs and alcohol, and bringing new women backstage after every single show night in night out. Pearl Jam reacted to their fame with the concern that they weren’t prepared to reach that level of fame so fast. While Ed is donning covers of Time and Rolling Stone magazine quickly becoming one of the most recognizable faces in America, he increasingly made attempts to shy away from the spotlight. When you look at the timing of this show, two days after the release of Vs., you may be shocked to know that no one was celebrating the record breaking sales of the new album. Instead, the show and the music was used as an escape from that. Ed would address the crowd multiple times in attempt to describe how he was feeling, you got a sense of what was really happening with the band behind the scenes during this show. We’ll talk about that, some interesting soundcheck moments, a recurring improv and many references to The Who!
This episode is the third installment of our Hometown Series where we celebrate Pearl Jam’s 30-year history by paying homage to the place where it all started, Seattle, Washington. In this show we cover the first of a three night stint that ended the 1993 Vs. tour at the Seattle Center Arena. The hype around Pearl Jam was massive and as they continued to push new material and tour extensively, the demand proceeded to grow. This was just over a month after finding out that Vs. had sold over $1 million copies in its first week. That’s something that would be a crowning achievement for most bands, but this was a growing concern within their circle that things were moving way too fast. The band was expecting a more gradual rise to fame, but instead Eddie is finding himself on the cover of Time Magazine. While there is a sense of comfort from being in their home city, most people recognize this set of shows from the night 2 affair that was recently released as a part of the Vault series. While they cracked jokes about their rise to fame, 1993 shows are some of the most raw sounding and unruly in their catalog. As they rip through standout tracks like Go, Why Go and Porch, they also have to deal with a crowd that has a disregard for safety at times of this show. We’ll talk about it all along with how playing songs such as Alive, Black, Blood and Porch before getting into their encore was something that almost never happened from that point afterward.
A jam packed show as we go back around the world for the first time in a few episodes. We’re close to rounding out our European trip and what’s Europe without doing a show in London? We go back to 1993, two months before Vs. was distributed, to talk about a show in the famous Brixton Academy club. Prior to our show coverage, we had the privilege to chat with Tom Pugh, the founder of a charitable organization called Given To Live that helps people affected by illness, addiction, domestic violence or any other personal struggle to get a concert experience that they otherwise couldn’t afford to have. Tom tells some wonderful and heartbreaking stories about the people he’s helped and will share a story about how Eddie learned of his organization. Follow them on Twitter and IG @GivenToLiveUK – Because You Matter. As for the episode, we get into a truckload of topics that can only be touched upon in the era. One big talking point was how some of the more methodically paced songs such as Release, Black and Garden sounded with Dave A as we questioned some of his stylistic choices and how it might not have been part of the band’s vision going forward. We’ll also talk about Ed’s comfort with the crowd and ability to take the stage having each member of the audience eat out of the palm of his hands. Big moments from this show were significant to the era. The encore is a perfect collection of songs that defined who the band was during this time – Leash, Fuckin Up and Sonic Reducer. They are raw, unfiltered performances that allowed the band to completely let loose and blow the crowd away. Also, we get very early versions of Vs. songs to talk about including Blood, Animal, Rearviewmirror, Go, Daughter and Indifference.
Thanks to the Vault #9 release, this episode will break down the Seattle show from 1993 that many of you will soon be receiving in your mailbox. While this show was a bit of an unexpected pick to be unveiled from the Vault, it features important moments in the history of Pearl Jam. As the 1993 tour was winding down, the band was looking towards the future with Vitalogy experimenting with two incredibly fresh songs for the time in Last Exit and Tremor Christ. While both songs were making only their second appearance on the live stage, you can get a sense of what the next stages were for the band – a unique rawness that encapsulated the magic of the first two albums, but also held a sense of maturity that was setting the landscape for the mid-90’s era for the band. Another major moment, and possibly the reason for the decision to make this a vault, was that this was the fourth and final time that the Mamasan was performed in its entirety live. We listen to all 3 songs and discuss the importance of it’s presence, especially Footsteps which is played sans harmonica and in a full electric ensemble.
Indio 1993 is one of those shows that’s always in the conversation, maybe not one of the greatest shows of all-time but it lives in infamy for numerous reasons. When you add a wild crowd together with a lead singer who’s blood alcohol content exceeded his age, there’s no other result but absolute madness. The band already knew what they were walking into when the crowd were throwing shoes on stage during the opening act, so the anger is at full tilt. Ed has so many classic lines at this show that reflect his anger such as “kill your local rapist, but torture him first” and “why the fuck would I want to live forever?” But this show is infamous for two moments that have never been replicated on the live stage. After a version of Porch where Ed challenges the crowd to spit on him, they go into an improvisation that is forever known as Fuck Me In The Brain. Along with all the insanity, the band continued to dodge shoes at this point leading to a very angry Eddie threatening to kick the shit out of anyone who walked out of there barefoot. But as the man is known to do, he turns a negative into a positive and encourages the crowd to throw more things on stage so they can donate to charity, urging people to shoe the shoeless. Shoes for my friends! These are pivotal moments in the band’s history that we’ll get into along with the rest of the set which is a classic representation of a wild early 90s show.