Pearl Jam Barcelona (Epic)
Pearl Jam London (Epic)
Pearl Jam Dublin (Epic)
Pearl Jam Paris (Epic)
Pearl Jam Hamburg (Epic)
Pearl Jam Stockholm (Epic)

Barcelona, London, Dublin, Paris, Hamburg, and Stockholm (Epic)

Record Reviews

Pearl Jam

Barcelona (Epic)

Pearl Jam

London (Epic)

Pearl Jam

Dublin (Epic)

Pearl Jam

Paris (Epic)

Pearl Jam

Hamburg (Epic)

Pearl Jam

Stockholm (Epic)

"Vacation, all I ever wanted, vacation, had to get away ..." Barcelona, Paris, Milan. Arch romance. London, Dublin, Glasgow, Manchester. Arch rock. Nürnburg, Praha, Salzburg. Über rock. Zurich, Berlin, Hamburg, Stockholm, Oslo. Arctic rock. Twenty-five European cities in just over a month. A railway pass to Getaway. Four young millionaires and a drummer. Must be nice. Pearl Jam, shit. Their 15 minutes expired after an earlier Cameron Crowe near-miss, Singles. Or how 'bout Vs. in 1993? Vitalogy ("Not For You," "Corduroy," "Better Man") in '94? Yield, 1998? Who can name their last album? Exactly. No one cares. So what better time to release 25 2-CD live "bootlegs" from the tour? Every show in its entirety, from the first night in Lisbon, Portugal, this May 23 to June 29's final date in Oslo. Slapped into cardboard foldovers and stamped with the city and date. Nice stunt. Who gives a shit? In these times o' plenty, Eddie Vedder's type of angst is dead. "Jeremy" still speaks in Columbine classrooms throughout the American Midwest, but in the New Millennium, that was yesterday's news! Let's work together for a shinier, happier tomorrow!!! Only Eddie Cheddar isn't angst-ridden anymore. Why should he be, when an adoring Spanish crowd bathes the singer and his rock band in love and good vibes on the tour's second night (the discs are numbered 1-25), and the band's nerves turn to grins? "How ya been?" asks Vedder. "You look good. This next song is called "I Saved Cigarettes for a Poor Girl." Really, it's "Even Flow," but who knew Vedder had a sense of humor? When did he stop being sullen and self-righteous? Upon finishing "Small Town," a highlight of the seven shows reviewed herein, Vedder remembers that a member of the Vandals, one of the tour's openers, had the microphone down his pants, and reacts accordingly. The guy sounds almost human! "Last Kiss," in the encore, is, how shall we say? -- endearing. Two nights later, in London's Wembley stadium for back-to-back nights, Vedder is once again endearing, in awe of playing the same stage as all his heroes -- the Gods: "Zeus, and Atlantis, and Aphrodite, and Paul and Ringo, Keith and Mick, Pete and Roger, and John and Keith." Even Austin gets a plug thanks to Tim Kerr and Monkeywrench opening the show!!! A cover of the La's "Timeless Melody" and Thee Headcoats' "Soldier of Love" later, Vedder produces a ukulele and pays tribute to his guru Pete Townshend and one of the great lost rock & roll albums, The Who by Numbers. The next night picks up the previous evening's spirit and energy and eases into a laid-back atmosphere that produces awesome new material. Not every tour date is a winner, obviously, and Dublin (No. 6) is flat, while Paris, (No. 10) is perfunctory, mostly it seems, because the notoriously picky French are nonplussed by the band. By the end of the tour, Hamburg and Stockholm, the band is on all the time. Newer songs like "Breakerfall," "Grievance," "Given to Fly," and "Do the Evolution" fit comfortably aside such warhorses as "Once," "Porch," "Rearviewmirror," "Go," and frequent highlight "Daughter" -- not to mention one-offs and B-sides like "Crazy Mary" and "Yellow Ledbetter." Frequent covers for encores, notably Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World" and "Fuckin' Up," and the Who's "Baba O'Riley" (better on a napkin than in Hamburg) keeps things loose. Which is how Pearl Jam comes across these days -- comfortable in their own skin. These are their songs, this is their sound -- their not-so-tortured-anymore vocalist. Makes a guy wanna visit Verona, or San Sebastian, Spain. Yes, Virginia, Pearl Jam is still Alive.

(Dublin) **

(Paris) **.5

(Barcelona, London No. 5) ***

(Hamburg, Stockholm, London No. 4) ***.5

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