Pearl Jam

Live: 8-17-00 - Nashville, Tennessee

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In a move to beat bootleggers to the punch, Pearl Jam decided to release each of their 2000 American concert performances in a series of inexpensive double-CD sets. The August 17th concert recorded in Nashville, TN, is unfortunately plagued by a raw-voiced Eddie Vedder and some minor sound problems. The frontman's vocal struggles are evident in a really rough version of "Do the Evolution," but aren't as much of an issue in less abrasive songs like "Wishlist" and "Small Town." The album isn't without highlights, though; "Untitled," the sweet, long-distance love song which is simply labeled as a red dot on 1998's Yield, and the uplifting "Given to Fly," which almost benefits from Vedder's breathy rasp, are among them. During "Daughter," he riffs on verses from R.E.M.'s "Wrong Child" and Sonic Youth's "Androgynous Mind," while a strong rendition of "Animal" and a hurried "Once" round out the first disc. Midway through disc two, the band pulled a fan onstage to sing the first few verses of "Smile," which was probably fun for him, but the album isn't necessarily better for it. Their cover of the oldies hit "Soldier of Love" leads into the crowd-pleasing "Porch," including Vedder's editorial "It's 120 degrees up here. What's the point of livin' here if I'm in my own living hell," and thinking better of it, he sang "to all those I've offended, I'm sorry," referring to the temperature on stage, hopefully not all of Tennessee. The band eventually decides on closing with an incendiary version of "Yelow Ledbetter" led more by Mike McCready's bluesy guitar work than the band's wrecked vocalist. In this particular version, McCready throws in a riff from Van Halen's "Dance the Night Away," continuing the game of "what classic rock song is Mike gonna tease us with tonight?" While this may not be the best performance in this series, there is certainly a warmth and an interaction with the crowd that the band has become famous for.

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