Pearl Jam

Let's Play Two: Live at Wrigley Field

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Among the many things Eddie Vedder wears on his sleeve is his love of the Chicago Cubs. He was there during the Cubbies' historic World Series win of 2016, singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh inning stretch of Game 5, an honor for a fan who held the team dear since a child, but earlier in the season, he and Pearl Jam saluted the Cubs with a pair of August concerts at Wrigley Field. Let's Play Two is a concert film documenting that stand and it's accompanied by a live album, which is Pearl Jam's first mass-market live album since Live on Ten Legs. That 2011 release was a compilation of highlights but this focuses on a particular residency, and the difference is a matter of concentration. Here, it's easier to focus on how Pearl Jam seem strong and settled, enjoying their immense power but also sounding quite relaxed in their passion. It's an appealing blend and one that helps highlight the consistency of their catalog, since the newer songs feel like good fits alongside the chestnuts -- old songs that don't seem worn, since it's clear the band and audience gain sustenance from the music. That warm-heartedness -- which may be accentuated due to Vedder playing at the home of his team, surrounded by fans who love the band and the Cubs -- seems deeper than it has on previous live Pearl Jam albums, but maybe that's a reflection of the band's middle age. They're comfortable in their skin and with their catalog and are happy to indulge in an unabashed celebration, which this album most certainly is.

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