Pearl Jam

Live: 9-1-00 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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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 September 1st concert from Philadelphia, PA, (actually recorded across the river in Camden, NJ) seems to take special care to evenly showcase material from each of their six studio albums. Lead singer Eddie Vedder warns the audience that since they only have four more shows left on a lengthy tour, his voice may need some help. The adoring crowd seems willing to help out, but his singing stays strong throughout the evening. The audience favorite "Betterman" is injected with a few choruses of "Save It for Later" by new wave pop stars the English Beat, which humorously follows the exact same chord structure. Other highlights include the soaring "Given to Fly" and the arena rock guitar work of Mike McCready and Stone Gossard in "Corduroy" and "Spin the Black Circle" (probably the best rendition in this series). The first disc closes with a psychedelic twist on "Daughter" which is extended by injecting sections of "It's OK" by Portland, OR, indie rock band Dead Moon, and the chorus of "Androgynous Mind" by opening act Sonic Youth. These discs are (for the most part) recorded so well that the listener is able to pick out individual members of the audience recognizing their favorite songs, as is evident when the band begins their dark anthem "Black." The feedback-fueled "Go" closes the first set with tremendous power, and the second set opens with "Breath," a concert rarity which appeared on the 1992 Singles soundtrack. This inclusion adds to the possibility that the band resolved to play every single song in their catalog on this tour. The concert ends with their frequent closer "Yellow Ledbetter" which includes an effect-laden solo from guitarist Mike McCready featuring snippets from Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" and Iron Maiden's "Number of the Beast" before retiring. Despite Vedder's apprehension about his voice, this first night in Philly turned out to be one of the best shows on this leg of the tour, and makes for a spectacular live album.

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