You may say Self-Titled, I may say Avocado. Regardless of what the album is actually called, it has 13 tracks that are up for discussion in this episode. I’ll be ranking these in what will be a brutal challenge to figure out placements, however, there may be one that stands out above the rest. Is that going to be the super tier song? Gee, maybe watch for that answer, huh? I’ll have opinions in this one as I always do. We’re getting on the dad Ed era now where things get a little interesting in a way that perhaps the 90s albums didn’t. Some people may not agree with my opinions and that is fine. I don’t care if you disagree with me, I care if you’re a whiny baby about it. Constructive conversation is always the key to understanding, so let’s try and understand instead of torching the channel down?
This episode takes us to Cleveland for a show on the massive 2006 tour supporting their self-titled record. The big story at the time was coming off of a huge show in Grand Rapids where a slight shake up led to an inspired performance filled with rarities and a different set-up. This show has a few things shaken up itself with the two most notable being Better Man in as the opener and no appearance of Even Flow. The latter of which at the time was turning into a song that long-time Ten Club members rebelled against because of it’s frequency. How do they fill in that gap? Well, immediately you lose a big McCready moment, so we have Immortality to help with that, but you also lose a big crowd participation song, which in this case Daughter steps in for. We also get to see a few requests taken in encore 2 that led to some songs you almost never see, including one in which a certain Gossard sings. Along with Cleveland we’ll also talk about what’s going on with the presumed 2022 tour and get you a little prepared for the upcoming Ed and The Earthlings shows.
The 2006 tour is seen as Pearl Jam’s last massive rigorous year in their touring history. Supporting the Self Titled, or better known as Avocado record, they were finding their groove with new songs while also emptying the tank of all their songs with long droughts of not being played. The Albany show that we cover in this episode takes place just over a week after the album’s release, and while nine of those thirteen songs were showcased, the band went through and did some digging deep into the back catalog to bring back a few that hadn’t seen the live stage in a number of years – Red Mosquito, that had been played on the previous tour year but held off for 40 straight shows, Satan’s Bed, which was haphazardly brought back at State College in 2003 but played for the first legitimate time since 1996, and Rats which had only been played twice in the Matt Cameron era. Rats is the big one from this set that most fans will remember since it had gone 224 shows on the shelf. Later that month, the band would end up adhering to another popular drought request, Leash, and then eventually the elusive Dirty Frank. This show is defined by its rarities just as much as its defined by the brand new songs energizing them. Wasted Reprise/Life Wasted combo opening the show was something they didn’t break out very often, and after this era songs like Marker In The Sand, Army Reserve and Gone were pushed aside. We’ll get to talk extensively about some of these tracks and how fresh they felt being played for only a single digit amount of times till that point. Thanks to Horizon Leg Patron Zach Fields for requesting this show!
Hawaii has always had an important place within the history of Pearl Jam. From Ed’s love of surfing to discovering and connecting with B3 organist Boom Gaspar, a lot of important moments have developed from the islands. In this episode, we’ll talk about a 2006 show that acted as the end of an era for one of their most important touring years. To join us on this one is former Live On 4 Legs host Matt Helbig to talk about a few of his go-to songs. This episode is gonna be all about the love for Boom who got a warm hometown welcome on this night. We’ll talk about his introduction to the band and how he didn’t even know who Ed was before meeting him, but fast forward into the future and Boom has been a sixth-man staple of the live act. We’ll get to hear some of the classic Boom songs in this show such as Love Boat Captain, Wasted Reprise and Crazy Mary. We’ll also chat about how good of a mood the band was in on this night being able to finish out a monstrous touring year on such a positive note. We get performances closely representing some Hawaiian and beach themes such as Oceans, Big Wave, Ed ukulele song You’re True and a cover of Hawaii 78.
We’re taking a request from not just one, but two of our Patrons! We welcome Sean Rashkis and Brian Anderson to the show to talk about a rare occasion in Pearl Jam’s live catalog – a night 3 show, this one from the batch of San Francisco shows in 2006. Surprisingly, these set of shows were the first time the band played the bay area city since the infamous Polo Fields show from 1995 where Ed was struck with a bout of food poisoning and led to Neil Young jumping in as a replacement. To say this stint went better than the last would be a massive understatement. They gave the bay area fans three nights filled with 90 songs in total and 50 different tracks spanning their entire catalog. Night 3 was no exception as the main set dug into some brand new Avocado tracks along with some deep cuts that you may not hear as much nowadays. Songs like Untitled, MFC, Sad, Light Years, In Hiding, Down and the very appropriate Red Mosquito all filled up the main set. We’ll talk about the set and the songs, but we’ll also discuss the entire 3 -day experience with our guests who recall GA lines being super long and the GA itself being smaller than most venues, leading to some challenges down in the pit. We’ll also talk about a few moments from the previous nights including Ed completely forgetting the lyrics to Sometimes and performing Last Kiss from the crowd.
Our Around The World series takes us to France this episode as we talk about one of the best shows from the 2006 Avocado tour. Joining us to talk about it are some old friends of the show making a long awaited return, our old co-host Matt Helbig is back and right alongside him is his brother, Steve Maytan, who gets to share his experience being at this show and doing a small portion of the European tour that year. The show starts off hot with a version of Long Road that on paper would seem a part of the slowburn openers but in turn gives this show the much needed engine start up that pushes them through an extraordinary 6-song kick off to this show. Matt Cameron is the key player on this night and his performance shines through on Corduroy and Even Flow especially. Also on this night you get a handful for the serious collectors. Fatal would be busted out live for only the third time ever, Satan’s Bed was thrown in the mix as well as Leash which was in the midst of a resurgence in 2006. But the one talking point from this show that everyone walks away with is the incredibly rare appearance of Dirty Frank. Don’t worry, we have a LOT to say about Frank and it’s popularity with the fans. We try to both make sense of it and celebrate its presence by breaking down why the band never wants to play it even though its one of the most requested songs from the fanbase.
This episode we take a trip on the festival circuit, but since all great festivals can’t happen with just one band, we’ve enlisted another podcast host to help us out for this one. Tom Kwei, the host of the Alphabetallica Podcast joins us to tell the story of his first and only Pearl Jam show. When you think festivals and Pearl Jam’s connection to them, you immediately think of the Roskilde tragedy. At this time in 2006, they had just jumped back into playing festivals with this show being the second played since the incident six years prior. With that said, the band was mindful of what was going on in the crowd and announced that they would stop playing if they had to just to make sure everyone was safe, As for the set list, when you think festivals you usually think that it’s a collection of greatest hits, and no doubt they played the hits at this show, but it felt like they put a little bit more into the set to give the hardcore fans a chance to see something special. Songs such as Sad, Soon Forget and Crown Of Thorns were all played among Better Man, Jeremy and Alive making for a balanced group of songs.
It’s not a stretch to say that when you think of Vegas, usually the first thing that comes to mind is gambling. Funny enough, gambling would be a major theme of this night back in 2006. Branden Palomo from the Better Band Podcast joins us as our guest to help us relive this one. The first major gamble of the night came right away opening out the show with emotional cut Inside Job. It was a risk the band hadn’t taken with the song up until that point, and although it paid off, we discussed how much it affected the feel of the early set. Another gamble here? Well, you’ll have to listen to this unique version of Garden that around the ranks has been labeled “Sound Garden”. We describe it as Beethoven meets Phantom of the Opera and it’s something that you certainly wouldn’t hear in a version nowadays. The biggest gamble of the night however (outside of a jacket that Eddie donned while covering Elvis’ Little Sister) was Eddie taking a gamble on his voice which he claimed was stifling him on multiple occasions. You’ll be able to tell at times that Ed is having some difficulties, but only if you’re listening for it. It was a situation where if he had not complained about it or made fewer mentions than he did, you would never have known he was having an off night. We stressed this fact throughout the entire episode.
We take a trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan for this episode, but if you were to listen to this bootleg, you’d be surprised it wasn’t in a major city. After a two night trip in Chicago supporting their self titled, or Avocado album, the band noticed that newer tracks weren’t being well received by the Ten Club members that would continuously get the best seats due to their ranking in the lottery. Because they weren’t feeding off their energy, if you believe the rumors the band decided to shake things up and give some new faces a chance to get to the front. With new faces comes new energy. This show was driven by the energetic enthusiasm the crowd put in with every song, new and old, and the band fed off that momentum the entire night. Additionally, they decided to do a little experiment with the encore playing 6 slower songs in a row, similar as to how they tend to begin encore sets in this current era. One of the new faces that got a chance to see the band up close is one of our Patreon donors, Bradley Piasecki, who joins us this episode to talk about his experience at this show. We’ll talk with him about how the band’s placement of certain new songs in the set could’ve turned off the touring, front row followers as well as what the “experimental” encore has meant for the band moving forward.