Pearl Jam

Live: 8-9-00 - West Palm Beach, Florida

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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 9th concert recorded in West Palm Beach, FL, gets off to an uneasy start with a plodding version of "Oceans" and some minor sound problems in "Grievance." At one point, lead singer Eddie Vedder reveals that the band spent the entire day in the water trying to catch waves, which may account for their relaxed attitude throughout the night. As much fun as they seem to be having, the show suffers from it as is evident in guitarist Mike McCready's sloppy slide playing in "Red Mosquito" and an ambling "Thin Air." They do seem to pull it together for strong versions of "Dissident" and a loose groove intro into "Habit." The second set blasts off with an emotionally charged version of "State of Love and Trust" sounding every bit like their raw-energy shows of ten years earlier. The show draws to a close with a rousing version of the Who's "Leaving Here" and a faithfully raw run through "Rockin' in the Free World," each song honest enough to earn the certain approval of both Pete Townshend and Neil Young. While this particular night seems looser and more relaxed than most, it is not necessarily a bad thing. Pearl Jam is a band that has become known for its focused intensity, so it is sort of refreshing to see them lighten up and have fun with the songs. While the performances do lack the polish and technical precision of the other concerts in this series, it may be most interesting for fans looking for a looser, warmer set.

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