What did people do at early 90s grunge shows? It’s not hard or fast enough to headbang nor gentle and romantic enough to be romantic. It’s not overtly political, so no fist-pumping, it’s not cleverlicious either, which wouldn’t really matter, as standing with your arms crossed nodding your head hadn’t been invented yet. I suppose you’d just stand and watch. The concept is pretty soporific as far as show-attending goes. I remember attending a Radiohead show back in ’03, and basically just standing still in an amorphous friend-blob, singing along when I could and being enraptured. Yes, it must have been nice to be a Pearl Jam fan back in ’94, but now this show means nothing to me or to anyone else listening who wasn’t magically there in Atlanta back when it was created. Makes the venture seem rather pointless, even when you consider that nearly all the songs on this last edition (Contains 8 live tracks – For insertion in your Digipak!!!) are of the less-exciting album-track variety, the band having blown their hit load entirely after playing “Alive.”
Like I said, Eddie’s pretty good live; he really takes out his testicles and rubs them against the microphone like he does in the studio, but here, at the end of the show, he starts losing his voice a bit after the dumb screamathon “Blood.” And perhaps it’s the fact that the show is live, perhaps it’s the fact that he knew it was being recorded and broadcast and he was indulging an urge to sabotage the visibility, but ugh, the insertion of loud swearing for no good reason in all the hit songs is annoying. Why, why, make the first verse of “Alive” go “what you thought was your daddy / was nothing but a motherfuckingassholemotherfuckingfake”? It sounds ridickulips. No man can pull off being Eddie Vedder live, but this CD gets the worst of him relative to this show.
And why say “Goodnight!” three times before leaving? Everyone knows you aren’t going to leave after playing “Blood” or “Rats.” And can you imagine how annoying it’d be to see the band leave and cheer for an encore, consciously deciding not to head for the exit in case of a second encore, only to have the band come back and play an eleven-minute long, unexciting version of filler track “Porch” and then the barely-there “Indifference”? I can imagine that, and I can tell you: pretty annoying unless those are your favourite Pearl Jam songs . But then, if that’s the case you’re probably not reading this review – you’re probably at home reminiscing about that one time when you were nineteen and that groupie chick blew you after your band played a whole show of Soundgarden covers.