Pearl Jam Late Night Series: Ep. 15 – The Tonight Show 2009

In this Late Night Series episode, we’re talking about the pilot episode of the short lived time that Conan O’Brien hosted The Tonight Show. Conan had personally pegged Pearl Jam to be his first musical guest on the show, and to return the favor, the band gave his audience a taste of a brand new song that was set to be on Backspacer. We’ll talk a little bit about how that all came to be, and how Conan was robbed of his show by Jay Leno.

Episode 245: Chicago, IL – 8/23/2009

We are less than a month away from seeing Pearl Jam take the stage for nine shows in September, and there’s possibly no bigger stage than the one set for Ed’s hometown of Chicago. As Wrigley Field has dominated the tour runs for the last ten years, the band is finally returning to the United Center for the first time since 2009, which is the show we’ll be digging into in this episode. It was right before the Backspacer record came out, and while not every song had been released yet, it was somewhat of a showcase for songs such as The Fixer, Got Some and Supersonic. With Randy in attendance for the night two of this back to back, he gives some insight as to what was going on this weekend and some of the buzz coming out of night one.

As all Chicago shows are, this is a true homecoming for Ed where he will reference fond memories of his youth on multiple occasions. He ties it in nicely when classic Who songs Love Reign O’er Me and The Real Me are played due to spending lots of cold nights listening to them on his walkman waiting for the L train. He’ll also tie in a story about some of his earliest loves of music coming in the form of listening to Motown and idolizing Michael Jackson, who had died that summer. There is a nice dedication to Michael during Ed’s rendition of Needle and the Damage Done, and a version of Rats featuring a short intro tease of the Michael Jackson song that’s referenced at the end, Ben. And of course, he’ll give nod to the Bulls championship banners in the rafters. As Ed would deem this show to be an emotional ride from the very beginning, we’ll get to hear those kind of songs such as Long Road, Come Back and Man Of The Hour utilized in this set.

Many thanks to Patron Andy Lore who requested this show! Our Gear Guru segments this week will get into a buzzy Mike solo on Sad, how Given To Fly and other songs guitar tone on this tour felt flat, and how Stone’s rigged strumming was the backbone for a fantastic version of Love Reign O’er Me.

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Episode 235: Universal City, CA – 10/1/2009

When you think of 2009, immediately the first thing that comes to everyone’s minds is those four Philadelphia shows that closed down The Spectrum. But people may forget that this wasn’t the only four-night stint that they had in one building during this tour year. The 6,000+ capacity Gibson Amphitheatre located in Universal Studios in Los Angeles also played host to four Pearl Jam shows. Not four in a row like Philly, but the shows invited a bit more of an intimate experience. We’ll talk about the two sets of shows and how one dominates the conversation over the other, but we’ll also address a misconception that people seem to have due to how The Spectrum shows went down.

We thank our Patron, Jason Weiss, for selecting this show as his episode request, and we’ll share his story here. This is a Backspacer era tour, which meant that eight of the eleven songs were played. Coming off the heels of our contentious takes on Ole, we’ll go off on another contentious song this week in Johnny Guitar, which has been known to be a bit divisive as well. If you join us for the Johnny talk, then you gotta stay for the conversations on Rearviewmirror, Alive, Red Mosquito featuring Ben Harper on a flat top steel guitar, and a spontaneous Lukin which included a string quartet accompanyment.

We’ll read you Question of the Week answers where we asked about what Backspacer songs that you’d like to see come back on the 2023 tour, and the Gear Guru segments will focus on Amongst The Waves, Red Mosquito and McCready’s electric Star-Spangled Banner.

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Episode 202: Austin City Limits – 10/4/2009

We’re hitting the festival circuit in this episode as we take a Patron request from Dan Greenberg to cover the non-televised Austin City Limits show from 2009. This episode could potentially seem as a bit contentious as there were things that Randy and John weren’t quite moved by. Mainly, the idea that this set felt like a time crunch in the way that they ran through it made it difficult to find an overall flow for this show. But there are no lack of good moments here! In 2009, the band went on a nice little run with Ben Harper inviting him out to play Red Mosquito on slide guitar almost every night. The performance and duel with McCready is a sight to behold, and something that we were itching to discuss on the pod for a long time. The other big moment? Inviting Perry Farrell out to sing Mountain Song. We’ll get into a deep discussion about both Jane’s Addiction and Perry’s influence on the band.

And, Ashley Moon is in the room! You may remember from last month’s Ottawa show that a woman who was sitting all the way in the back was invited to the front and got a lengthy and heartfelt dedication from the band. She writes in to the show to tell her story about the entire experience, with a part of the story connecting to our story from Erin Mackay last week.

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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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