Episode 217: Columbia, MD – 9/24/1996

I’ve been to hell I spell it… spell it DMV. We head down to the mid-Atlantic for this episode to cover a show from the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland that took place in the heart of the No Code era in 1996. It’s the perfect year for those great stories that revolve around ordering tickets from non-Ticketmaster venues and the budding collectables scene in the Pearl Jam community now featuring nightly posters. To bring us back to that point in time, we invite our Patron Brian Tuchalski on to the episode to retrace his memory of his first show and some of his favorite moments from that day.

1996 isn’t widely known as an era where Ed connects with the crowd often, but this show has a moment that may set it apart from others. During the bridge of Not For You, Ed stops to address the crowd to apologize if he’s missed any lyrics, and informs them that although the song may be called Not For You, it isn’t them that the song isn’t about. This kickstarted a great night for the crowd as they took over on songs such as Jeremy, Better Man, Blood and Yellow Ledbetter.

Tune in to check out everything, including the question of the week – what Pearl Jam era would you travel back to if you had a time machine? Plus, we invite our Gear Guru Javier back on to talk about Jeff’s cello sounding bassline on Who You Are.

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Episode 206: Hamburg, DEU – 11/4/1996

The night after playing a notable show in Berlin that was broadcast on FM stations all over the world, the band played a show in Hamburg and made allusions to it being better than the night before. The crowd of 7,000, who had been dying to see them ever since they last played in 1992, brought their a-game to the Sportshalle. Nearly every song had a major crowd response, clapping sections in spots where we usually don’t hear them, especially for new songs that only had very few plays under their belt. It allowed the band to elevate their game and gave them a nice little spark of motivation that made the songs soar and excel.

This episode is very important to all of our German listeners out there, but it’s also important to us as a podcast. We were able to make a few different setlist discoveries that some of the other fansites may have missed. Listen to check out what we found! We’ll also hear from some of our European fans on Twitter about how Pearl Jam’s popularity in 1996 mirrored what was happening to them in the United States.

Performances to look out for in this show: Last Exit, Who You Are, Corduroy, Whipping, Sometimes, Rearviewmirror, Not For You, Daughter and State Of Love And Trust.

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Episode 185: Augusta, ME – 9/26/1996

Let’s dive into another episode in our OTOTO States Month Series! In 1996, Pearl Jam was still dealing with their Ticketmaster strike, so they found that options for venues on the east coast were limited. Big cities such as Philadelphia and Boston couldn’t provide a proper place for the band to play without the usage of Ticketmaster, so they had to get creative in finding locations to play. One spot happened to be Augusta, Maine – a state they hadn’t played before nor after. While it may seem as though this is just another bump on the road, something special happened in Maine’s capital that the fans who were there still talk about today.

Leaving his cozy vacation spot on the Mediterranean, Dennis Rodman took a flight out to the America’s north most state to witness a band and a front man that meant the world to him. Rodman and Vedder had become friendly around that time. Ed was seen joining Dennis in the locker room during the Chicago Bulls 1996 Championship win, and there’s a story passed around that they sporadically took a flight from Seattle to Vegas in order to go see Jane’s Addiction. Rodman got to celebrate with the band on stage for the first of many times throughout the years. We’ll talk about Ed’s relationship with Rodman as well as the visual of Ed taking a ride on the 6’7″ basketball player’s shoulder.

Also in this episode, we’ll talk about two moments that take place during this show that weren’t definitive of the 1996 era, but have been cornerstones of Pearl Jam’s live set in the past decade.

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Pearl Jam Song Tier Lists: Ep. 7 – Riot Act

We’re strolling along through Pearl Jam’s discog and taking a stop right here at 2002’s Riot Act. One of the best tours and times to be a Pearl Jam fan, this album was fired up with anger steaming from the Bu$h administration, and sorrow after the Roskilde tragedy. Some tracks are absolute classics and still live on in the pantheon of Pearl Jam’s live material today. Others have barely gotten a sniff of the setlist since 2003. Let’s see how everything breaks down on this week’s edition of the Tier Lists! Opinions are great to have, you should own yours just as I’m owning mine. No one is wrong and no one is lesser than for thinking a certain way. There’s so much toxicity in this world, let’s keep it out of Pearl Jam!

Episode 173: Hartford, CT – 10/2/1996

A night full of broken barricades and pepper spray, one of the glanced over shows from the No Code tour happened in Hartford, Connecticut only days following the massive Randall’s Island shows. As wild as some of the mid-90’s shows such as Miami 1994 got, this one had a moment that ended in the arrest of 13 fans. During Blood, a massive surge from the lawn crowd broke down the barricade, forcing riot police to invoke pepper spray, which in return caused fans in the seats to leave their section and rush towards the stage. The situation was handled better by Ed than by the police, but after a show that kicked off it’s main set with a ton of momentum, the band couldn’t let the situation potentially end the night sooner than anticipated. In this episode, we’ll touch up on that entire ordeal as well as a great moment during Not For You where Ed gives a speech similar to the infamous Porch speech at Randall’s Island. Also in this episode, we’ll touch up on ticket updates after the Ten Club lottery dropped, and we celebrate the life of Foo Fighters drummer, Taylor Hawkins.

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Pearl Jam Song Tier Lists: Ep. 6 – Binaural

Ahh the sixth installment of the weekly series chronicling Pearl Jam’s studio albums and breaking them down by tier ranks. This one is tricky, but for the songs on Binaural, the cream rises to the top. What will be crowned ‘S’ tier from this record and go on to the final round? Got opinions? Do share, just don’t be a whiny baby about them and we can have a conversation!

Pearl Jam Song Tier Lists: Ep. 5 – Yield

We’ve come to our next episode in our tier list series featuring my all-time favorite Pearl Jam album, Yield. Of course, I have a really tough time trying to fit these pieces into the puzzle. It’s very top heavy. But I figure it out and think I did the right thing, however there may be one or two songs that could surprise you! What could they be? This is meant to be fun and hopefully you enjoy the insight that I bring to the table, but there is a potential that you may disagree with me. And guess what? That is FINE. We should all have different tastes. I’m open to hearing why people attach to the songs that they do and learning those stories deepens my connection with the band. Arguing is pointless because your favorite things are your favorite things and shouting about them or complaining that others don’t agree with you gets you where? Absolutely no where. Pearl. Jam. Fans. Are. Better. Than. THAT!

Pearl Jam Song Tier Lists: Ep. 4 – No Code

Welcome back to the fourth installment of our weekly episodic Tier List rankings! In this one we’re doing No Code, one of my favorites, but the A-list material may not be able to be beat! Check it out and see where I rank the songs and comment below on whether you agree or not. Hey! You’re allowed to have differing opinions! But guess what’s pointless to have? A hissy fit if someone disagrees with you! It’s not worth the trouble. The wonderful thing about this band is that there’s so much material to sink your teeth into that it’s almost impossible for us to share favorites on anything. I respect what you guys think and that helps me learn a little bit more coming from a different perspective!

Episode 149: Randall’s Island, NY – 9/29/1996

On it’s 25th anniversary, we present you with an episode on what’s considered to be a top 10 Pearl Jam show of all-time- Randall’s Island! Having to book non-Ticketmaster venues, this muddy, massive open field was their best option in order to play in New York City. In with that marks a 32-song instant classic that many northeasterners have noted to be their first ever Pearl Jam show. Ed made the crowd a promise after playing the previous night that this would be the best played and longest show in their history, and they certainly made good on their promise. The show didn’t go off without it’s issues as very early on there was a desperate plea for crowd control. A performance of Animal was stopped midway through in order to calm things down, but the situation continued to be addressed during the first chunk of songs. Also in this show, we get the last ever appearance of No Jeremy, a rare rendition of Rats played by Jack Irons, Long Road in the encore, and so much more that made this night memorable. However, the most memorable moment is likely this version of Porch where Ed duct taped his entire body, jumped into the crowd and gave one of the most iconic speeches in the history of the band.

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Episode 148: Toronto, ONT, CA – 9/21/1996

Last month we gave a lot of love to the 30th anniversary of Ten, which by no means was meant to ignore the 25th anniversary of No Code. This episode gives love to the record and the era as we dig into a revved up show from Toronto that was essentially the tour starter. Coming off their memorable David Letterman performance the night before, the band looked forward to playing their brand new songs in front of a crowd that wasn’t their hometown. The result? A 22-song banger of a show that had the band at the top of their game. The new songs such as Hail Hail, In My Tree and Habit blast through the speakers, but it’s also some of the Vitalogy era stuff that Jack Irons absolutely thrives on such as Tremor Christ and Immortality. We go a little old school LO4L on this one and get in depth with every individual performance!

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Episode 128: Showbox Theatre – 9/14/1996

In this episode we go back to our 2021 hometown series celebrating the best shows in the band’s 30-year history emanating from their Seattle residence. This surprise Showbox show from 1996 was the tune up for that fall’s No Code tour. We get EIGHT, yes, EIGHT song debuts from this night from the No Code record so there will be a lot of discussion about the earliest renditions of these songs and how they’d evolve. Sure, the first half of this show is No Code and as mentioned, basically everything is a debut (outside of previously played Habit and Red Mosquito) but we also get some important moments during the ‘jukebox’ set. We get the first ever extended Immortality intro and the first time Cinnamon Girl was tagged on I Got Shit. We’ll also get into a larger discussion about how some of the Ten, Vs. era songs weren’t clicking at the time the way they once were and also how Ed was considering new vocal changes that strayed from his mid-90s primal screaming.

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Episode 101: Charlotte, NC – 10/4/1996

We continue the politically charged Pearl Jam theme with a show that sets the standard for the band’s dedication to encouraging their fans to vote. Originally dubbed as a retirement party for former NC Senator, the bigoted Jesse Helms, this show in Charlotte prior to the 1996 election was one where the music was secondary to the mission which was to get the young people in attendance registered to vote. Joining the band on this night was activist Gloria Steinem who made a poignant speech about the importance of voting that can be repeated 24 years later and still have the same importance. On many occasions Ed would repeat that sentiment, even at a point during Porch where he painted a picture of the America that we as people can build together where everyone regardless of their race, gender or sexual orientation could live free of hatred and bigotry. It was a maturing moment for the band as they’d expressed their political beliefs in prior years, but took this time to be proactive in helping achieve their goal in signing up registered voters. Over 1,000 new voters were registered that night. And wouldn’t you believe that the music was pretty good too? The band had to deal with a wild crowd that took to surfing and moshing right from the start of Long Road. Yeah, Long Road. On numerous occasions Ed has to calm the crowd down even invoking the two steps back practice to alleviate the rambunctiousness. Key highlights from this show include In My Tree, Immortality, Red Mosquito, Whipping and I Got Shit with the inclusion of Brendan O’Brien on bass.

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Episode 97: Lisbon, PT – 11/25/1996

We conclude the European portion of our Around The World series with a stop in Lisbon, Portugal that happened to be the final night of the No Code tour in 1996. The band and crowd brought their a-games and it made for an electrifying atmosphere with lots of chanting and hi-jinx abound. A big talking point from this show is centered around Mr. Stone Gossard who’s parents were in attendance to witness the event. You can tell its a setlist curated to some of Stone’s favorites because he’s always been a proponent of getting the hits in the set – which is why we see a three headed combo of Even Flow, Jeremy and Daughter in a row. But they also take a few fan requests to play some rarely heard tracks, one of which wasn’t played due to Stone forgetting the song entirely. Other cool facets of this setlist include the OTOTO opener of Who You Are, which would almost fade into oblivion after this tour, Not For You which features a classic Ed moment where he takes a second to rant about the meaning of the song, an Immortality that absolutely steals the show, and then of course Ed makes love to a push broom during Porch. How else is a tour supposed to end?

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Episode 78: Berlin, DEU – 11/3/1996

This episode focuses on one of the most well known shows from the No Code era. The Berlin 1996 performance is remembered fondly because it was one of their shows that was broadcast live on radio stations throughout the world in the same way that Atlanta 94 and Soldier Field were both showcased. This was a completely different era in the band’s history though as the trials and tribulations from No Code’s reception knocked the band off their perch as the biggest in the world. While their fame dwindled a bit, it allowed the band to present a looser live act with less scrutiny on them and all of the eyeballs paying attention belonging to those in for the long haul. Those who stuck with them were treated to a hell of a show that had one of the best first half main sets of any show in history. Kicking off with Long Road, their stretch from Last Exit, Animal, Hail Hail, Go and Red Mosquito and rounding out with Mankind and a Hunger Strike tease was a statement as to how powerful a live act they still were during a turbulent time period. Other main highlights that we’ll feature on this show include excellent versions of Sometimes, Immortality, Blood and a unique encore that wouldn’t quite fit in with today’s repertoire.

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Episode 70: Budapest, HUN – 11/17/1996

Coming off the heels of a major tour announcement where the band will be postponing the first leg of their Gigaton tour, we use the mantra “the show must go on” and use this time to continue to reminisce over the history of Pearl Jam. For now we go back Around The World to this year’s first stop in Europe discussing Budapest, Hungary from 1996. This is their only show in the country to date, but if all goes as planned they’ll be making their long awaited return this summer. This was a nice little No Code era show that might get lost in the shuffle. The most notable moment from this show is likely the live debut of Lost Dog, Black, Red, Yellow. We talk a lot about the No Code era during this tour and whether the band might’ve thought they were losing steam with their fanbase due to the record’s poor reputation at the time. But the band took it with stride and were still able to utilize the new songs in unique ways live. The show has fantastic versions of No Code tracks Who You Are and Habit as well as great performances of Daughter and Immortality. Joining us for this episode is Branden Palomo from the Better Band Podcast. If you want to be a guest on his show, reach out to him via social media on Facebook or Twitter.

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Episode 21: Barcelona, ESP – 11/21/1996

In this episode, we dig into a show from the No Code tour in 1996 that was a popular bootleg back in the day, but not necessarily for the reason you’d guess. This Barcelona show featured a sound check that made the rounds throughout the Pearl Jam community because of three featured songs – Parting Ways, Hard To Imagine and I’m Open. While Parting Ways was 4 years from even being included on an album, the other two songs were ones rarely in Pearl Jam’s live repertoire at the time. While the sound check is certainly an interesting facet, we’ll talk about how in hindsight it might not be as good as was praised at the time. As for the show itself, it’s obviously very No Code heavy which we’ve talked about before. But there are interesting set decisions here that we wouldn’t usually see nowadays such as a mid-set version of Off He Goes and a late set version of Sometimes. Can’t forget to mention our Wishlist set choice for closer, Around The Bend, that was used in that spot for the third and last time here.

You’ll tune into this show for the Pearl Jam, but you’ll stay for the pizza and Muppet comparisons which are totally logical. We swear!

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