Pearl Jam

Live: 10-21-00 - Phoenix, Arizona

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With the band's tenth anniversary concert in Las Vegas a night away, Pearl Jam's October 21, 2000, show in Phoenix has a restrained feeling to it. It seems like the band wanted to save its best-known material for the celebration the next night. So the focus in Phoenix was on non-album tracks and cover songs, a total of seven in all. In an unusual move, both tracks from the 1995 Merkin Ball single are played in the same concert. The elegant and emotional ballad "Long Road" leads things off, while the self-analytical, visceral attack of "I Got Shit" shows up in the encore. Meanwhile, "State of Love and Trust" makes an unusually early appearance as the fifth song of the evening, while "Timeless Melody" by the La's is inserted right in the middle of the main set. Another tour rarity, "Thin Air" off the Binaural album, also makes an appearance. These rarities aren't offset by enough standards. Only two songs from the Ten album are played. The guys should've been more considerate of people who couldn't follow them to Las Vegas. Someone who paid good money to see Pearl Jam would have every right to be a bit upset to get a "B" set like this. On the positive side, the band is in a good groove at this point, and Eddie Vedder has no trace yet of the cold that would affect him for the next few shows, starting with the party in Las Vegas the next night. The technical problems the guitarists were experiencing in Albuquerque the previous night continue somewhat in this show, but everything is straightened out by the time the concert concludes with the first-option show closer "Yellow Ledbetter." This time, Mike McCready uses his unaccompanied solo at the end of the song as a tribute to Eddie Van Halen, including snippets of "Ain't Talking 'Bout Love" and "Eruption," both from Van Halen's classic 1978 debut, Van Halen. In all, the Phoenix show is acceptable, but has the upsetting and suspicious vibe of a deliberate decision on the band's part to hold back and use the night as a warm-up for the next show. A good performance, but non-essential to the general collector.

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