Pearl Jam Song Tier Lists: Ep. 9 – Backspacer

This week I’m doing a Tier List for Pearl Jam’s Backspacer album! I know a lot of people who love Backspacer, I definitely liked it more when it came out than I do now, but that’s not to say that there aren’t good songs to discuss here. Sure, Johnny Guitar won’t have much of my backing, but Amongst The Waves will. I do my best not to shit on this album way too much, but sometimes these songs just don’t age as well as others and that’s what I’m attempting to prove here. Share your opinions, I welcome them. But as I write in every description, no one has any business being angry over any of this. They are just songs.


Episode 164: Berlin, DEU – 8/15/2009

Berlin is an important city in Pearl Jam’s history. There’s no questioning that. From the 1996 radio broadcast show to the Roskilde tribute on the 10th anniversary of the incident at the show in 2010, there are no lack of major moments that have happened in Deutschland’s capital. The show we cover in this episode certainly fits into that category. At the famous Kindl-Bühne Wuhlheide venue, the band pulls out their bag of tricks and creates a plethora of memorable moments for one of the best shows in 2009. The show may seem dominated by rare tracks with four songs from Binaural being played and four off of Lost Dogs, but some of the regulars will make for the biggest moments of the night. Even Flow was a show stealing moment, Daughter had incredible energy and crowd interaction, Small Town, flanked by a short tease of Stones song Angie, has a big anthemic vibe. The band simply came to play on this night, but it was the crowd that helped elevate this show to elite level status. And don’t sleep on this version of Insignificance either, possibly the highlight of the night. As mentioned, yes, there are tons of rarities! God’s Dice, Nothing As It Seems and Light Years rounded out the Binaural representation, but we also hear the Untitled/MFC combo, Glorified G, Unemployable, Bee Girl, an amazing rendition of Hard To Imagine, and the ultra rare early era song, Brother.

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Episode 150: Key Arena, Seattle, WA – 9/21/2009

We’re heading back to an era that has gone nearly untouched in the Live On 4 Legs pantheon. In 2009, the Backspacer album was released and subsequently toured for. Although somewhat polarizing in retrospect, people thought highly of the album at the time and considered it to be Pearl Jam’s return to their “true rock ‘n roll roots.” Yet of the eleven tracks the album bares, the band rarely goes back to many of those songs that were getting attention then. As a podcast, these songs have seen minimal coverage possibly thanks to that. This episode will continue the Seattle hometown series featuring a show that was considered to be the Backspacer era’s maiden voyage taking place only a day after the record was released. As mentioned, a lot of music critics and journalists hopped back aboard the Pearl Jam bandwagon when this album came out. Was it due to the album being exclusively released at a big box store like Target? Or could it possibly have been because the George W. Bush administration was out of office and the album seeing a fresh, positive outlook for the first time since Yield? Whatever the case was, the band was clearly feeling good about their recent production, continuously pushing songs such as Got Some and The Fixer along with the family oriented love song Just Breathe. But this era also hosts a few of those songs that have absolutely disappeared from the Pearl Jam live repertoire such as lead-off track Gonna See My Friend, Johnny Guitar and Ed solo track The End which we’ll cover the debuts for in this episode. But this era also led the way for a few classics that we continue to hear today such as the aforementioned Just Breathe and Unthought Known. Since we are coming off a month where Gigaton songs were finally played for the first time in 18 months, we’ll make some comparisons to how these new songs fit in with the setlist to how the Backspacer songs ended up. Seven O’Clock is seemingly on the projection of an Unthought Known made to be a nightly hit, but what songs can we compare Retrograde and River Cross to? All of that, plus a few good personal stories mixed in for this one.

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Episode 53: The Spectrum – 10/30/2009

Last year at Halloween time, we covered the historic Philadelphia show where the band closed down the Spectrum, but after we released that episode we came to find that most fans that attended the 4 show stretch thought that night 3 was the best of the bunch. At a time where the city of Philadelphia is heavily focused on the World Series, the band managed to score a show on an off-night so the crowd didn’t have to worry about continuously checking the score of the game. For that, Pearl Jam gave them one hell of a show with a lot of serious collector sightings – including the first appearance of Lost Dog, Hold On. They’d have a bunch of other tricks up their sleeve playing songs like Deep, Habit and Parting Ways that had all been lost from set lists for the past handful of years. But the special appearance of a rare reverse Mamasan is another reason why this show is so great.

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Episode 8: The Spectrum – 10/31/2009

Welcome our first annual Halloween show titled In My Treehouse Horror I! In this episode we cover a doozy of a show focusing on the final performance ever played at The Philadelphia Spectrum. The last of a 4 show series to say goodbye to a legendary arena featured a set full of 41 songs! Including a few that have never been played before and barely been played since. And to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve, the band took a time machine back to 1980 to put on red hats and yellow jumpsuits and perform Devo’s “Whip It”. This is our longest episode to date, so buckle up and enjoy the 3 hour ride!

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Episode 3: Chicago, IL – 8/24/2009

Randy and Matt take their first trip nine years into the past to breakdown Night 2 at the United Center in Chicago. They discuss venturing out to the midwest for the first time at the age of 23 for Pearl Jam and a night game at Wrigley Field. We tackle set list arrangements as well as answer the age old question of whether or not its okay to use the bathroom during Even Flow. We also take a look at 2018’s tour reviewing some of the highest and lowest points and sharing our Top 5 favorite sets from this year.

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