Pearl Jam – Dissident (Part 2)

Part two of the Atlanta concert!!!!!

I am writing this CD completely out of sequence, both with Pearl Jam’s catalogue, and with the series of three singles that comprise the ‘Dissident’ single. I will now explain why.

I am a man of very odd routines. I stick to these routines if at all possible. Back when I bought CDs (high school), I obsessively catalogued them alphabetically. This alone is not unusual, but I also painstakingly listened to each one all the way through several times a year. This involved, for instance, listening to seven terrible remixes of ‘Perfect’ by Smashing Pumpkins, or waiting through half an hour of space in-between a ‘final’ track and a bonus track. That was the past, but now, thanks to the advent of i-Tunes and playcounts, I HAVE to know how many times I’ve listened to each song. Back in the day before music players synchronized with i-Tunes I would desperately try to remember all the songs I listened to every day, and when I came home I would meticulously tick up each play count by the correct number of listens. Now that isn’t necessary, but I do find it necessary to make sure there is a degree of playcount equity. I rarely have only one song by an artist be played at the exclusion of others. I will listen to Neutral Milk Hotel’s fourteen minute whirlygig ten times if I have listened to the rest of ‘On Avery Island’ ten times. I have listened to all thirty minutes of Liars’ “This Dust Makes That Mud’ many, many times. My obsessiveness is not limited to music: for a year and a half I wrote down everyting I consumed. See the first paragraph of my firstest Modest Mouse review! And those are just a couple of my neuroses that are barely kept in check by my habits! Now, for these reviews, I planned to only review artists via reviewing entire catalogues, in chronological order. However, due to the vagaries of constantly moving and not having a chance to arrange my music to my satisfaction, compounded by not having had internet access for the last four months (getting in again in April!), I’m faced with no choice but to grab a bunch of old CDs and start reviewin’. Luckily, a few of those happened to be NMH, who have a small catalogue (unless you count the large number of demoes and tapes that I’ll try and track down when I have the means), but the rest! Ah, the poor, sweet rest. Sadly, I grabbed parts two and three of Dissident, but not part one. So that’s why I’m starting with part two, and doing all my ‘splainin’ about the show in part two. Consider it explained!

Now, I don’t feel like there’s much point to describing what the songs sounds like. If you went to the trouble of buying or downloading this single, you’re a big enough Pearl Jam fan (god help you) that you’d know all of these eight songs. Furthermore, if you’re just reading because you feel like (I’m SORRY), then you’d probably read the actual album reviews (that will exist at some point circa this review) of the records that contain these songs. All that’s worth talking about is the live sound, how the songs differ, etc. I’m assuming you know what Pearl Jam in 1994 is and what they sound like.

Which is pretty easy, because Pearly Jim, at least at the time of this show, weren’t too into varying what they sounded like on record. This three-CD set, divided up almost explicity to get fans to pay for three CDs (which I presume some would at the time) is the only live document I’m aware of of the early period of their career. That’s all well and good for Pearl Jam historians, but for other five to ten of us….eh. Their sound doesn’t translate all too well for a live show, despite Eddie’s space-filling voice and the two guitars and such. Maybe recording instruments weren’t as good then or something. The drums sound tinny instead of way-too-loud, and instead of multi-tracked and rifftastic, the guitars sound more like a dull drone with some riffs trying to escape. I like a good dull drone, but this doesn’t work for PJ’s sound at ALL. At this point in their carear their songs depended on guitars being riff-centric, dominant, and competing for volume with Vedder, who, impressive as he is live, can’t possibly hit all of his screams and yells like he can in a studio. As a result, everything sounds rather thin, with Eddie’s grunts and animal noises sound silly. “Animal” and the end of “Jeremy” are the hardest hit (and they weren’t fantastic songs in the first place). He’s not the greatest conversationalist here, either! His audience interaction is reduced to the following:

1. Saying “this one’s for Kurt” being “Go.” Were they even friends, really?
2. Yelling “MOTHERFUCKER!” for no reason at the end of the rather nice “Garden,” ruining it entirely.
3. Saying “that was nice, man” after the same song, presumably complimenting himself.
4. The band plays a verse, but not a chorus, of “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2” after “Daughter.”

And that’s all! Otherwise they’re just playing album tracks. It’s rather nice seeing a lengthy show for a second album tour, because you get to hear them play the excellent non-album “State of Love and Trust” and the rarity “Garden” and such, but it’s not like the renditions are particularly riveting. Plus this CD has “Black,” and I hate the whinyass second half of that song.

Lastly and FYI, at this show they played four songs that didn’t make the CDs, even though they were advertized as being a complete show (the CDs each advertize that they’re for “your Dissident CD-Single Digipak(TM)”), four songs aren’t on here because they’re from PJ’s next album, not yet released, and we wouldn’t want fans who go to the length of buying live B-Sides to get a preview of a band’s next album, would we? I know one was “Whipping.” I don’t remember what the other three were, but I’m guessing they were all versions of the popular “Hey Foxymophandlemama, That’s Me.” Good songs, but who cares.

5/10

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