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.