Pearl Jam

Secret Gig

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Before Live on Two Legs came out in 1998, bootlegs were the only place one could go to hear recordings of Pearl Jam's 1990s concerts. Of course, the release of Live on Two Legs didn't discourage bootleggers a bit, for they knew that some of Pearl Jam's more obsessive fans could never be satisfied with only one live album by the influential alternative rockers. And at the same time, bootlegs didn't cut into the profits of Live on Two Legs at all: Those who were willing to spend a lot of money on Pearl Jam's bootlegs also made a point of purchasing Live on Two Legs the day it came out (just as Led Zeppelin fans had bought The Song Remains the Same the day it came out, even if they already had 30 or more live Zep bootlegs in their collections). A double CD, this bootleg contains a September 14, 1996, performance at the Showbox Theater in Pearl Jam's native Seattle. Secret Gig offers good-to-excellent sound quality (the bootlegger no doubt taped from the venue's soundboard), and Pearl Jam is in fine form on such songs as "Alive" and "Even Flow" from Ten; "Animal" and "Go" from Vs.; "Not for You" from Vitalogy; and "Red Mosquito," "Present Tense," "In My Tree," "Around the Bend," and "Off He Goes" from No Code. Some might nitpick about the absence of a few gems, such as "Better Man," "Jeremy," "Daughter," and "Corduroy," but then, Secret Gig isn't meant to be the last word on Pearl Jam. Not perfect, but generally rewarding, Secret Gig is among the many Pearl Jam bootlegs worth acquiring if you're heavily into the band.