Pearl Jam Late Night Series: Ep. 9 – Letterman 2002

The next appearance up in our Late Night Series comes from their promotion of the Riot Act album with not one, but two back-to-back performances on Letterman. I Am Mine and Save You were the two big songs that they were trotting out at the time, but it’s the era that’s much more interesting than the songs. As we’ve studied down this path through their broadcast TV lineage, there are all of these pinpoints where you can mark where the band was at in their career. Coming off an almost two year hiatus following the Roskilde tragedy and 9/11, the band had been out of the public eye, and it would remain that way for most of 2003 after Riot Act didn’t sell as well as the previous six records. They were in the weird stage of not exactly being a legacy band yet and not being anywhere close to feeling fresh. So they went out there and introducing an old Hawaiian organist while changing some important lyrics on Save You. It’s all here, enjoy the episode!

Episode 160: The Showbox – 12/6/2002

We end our 2021 Hometown Series run with the 2002 Showbox show that was released as a DVD. This took place at the beginning of the Riot Act era so we get three debuts from the album as well as a near OTOTO that’s festive for this time of year. Don’t Believe In Christmas, originally written by The Sonics, was featured as a Christmas single that year and closes out the show. We saved it for this time of year so it could be a special holiday treat for you all! Along with showcasing many of the new tracks, a major theme from this show was the incoming Iraq war and how that was impacting the band, mainly Ed. We get to see it in the tag for Daughter where he took a rendition of War: What Is It Good For and shook it to it’s core. The intensity behind his emotional outbreak is one of the angriest displays we’ve ever seen from Ed at a show, and we’ll discuss that in full detail. The political statements would continue throughout the night with the debut of Ed donning a George W. Bush mask during Bu$hleaguer, Insignificance getting a big moment and Yellow Ledbetter getting a few relevant lyrical changes.

Listen to the Episode:

Episode 147: Key Arena – Seattle, WA – 12/8/2002

In this episode, we continue our year long 30th anniversary Seattle hometown series with a tune up show from 2002 that took place shortly before the long Riot Act tour in the proceeding year. The band was slowly returning to the public eye for the first time since the end of the tumultuous Binaural tour, and in the two years since that run, the world had completely changed. In the wake of 9/11 was an impending war with Afghanistan that would transition into a war with Iraq that the band vehemently opposed, and would express their opposition to on the Riot Act record. The Riot Act songs are in their infancy of live performances with most of them only being played in between two and five times. We’ll spend some time talking about the crowd’s reaction to these songs and why some of them took a lot quicker to attach themselves to (I Am Mine, Save You, Love Boat Captain) while others maybe didn’t click as much at first (Ghost, Thumbing My Way). But we’ll also get an early appearance of the George W. Bush mask routine during Bu$hleaguer. Another big talking point of the episode is about The Ramones and their presence in the music world at the time. Earlier that year, Eddie, donning a newly buzzed mohawk, inducted The Ramones into the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame. It came a year after the passing of Joey, and two months later, Dee Dee would die from a heroin overdose. With Johnny’s health in decline, artists at the time were eager to share how The Ramones had influenced them over the years with Ed at the forefront of all of it. We’ll talk about their impact on the music world and how many artists were looking to keep their legacy alive after losing two original members in such a short amount of time.

Listen to the Episode: