Pearl Jam

Live at the Gorge 05/06 (Monkey Wrench / Rhino)

Box Sets

Pearl Jam

Live at the Gorge 05/06 (Monkey Wrench/Rhino)

"A little sunset music for Tom [Petty] and his band," announces Eddie Vedder before "Small Town." This after opening Ramones cover "I Believe in Miracles." And they're off, Pearl Jam "Given to Fly" across three performances at Seattle's Gorge that bulge a bare-bones, 7-CD Digipak. Disc one, Sept. 5, 2005, acts as warm-up, amps on five and perfect volume for Vedder's relaxed, sincere – committed – delivery. Second set is airborne from the opener, the band loose and in total harmonic balance, taunting Petty from the stage, though breather "Sad" rivals closer "Porch" in reading rather than volume. The hourlong encore on the third disc includes a rousing take of Petty's "I Won't Back Down" and less rousing cover of the Who's "Baba O'Riley." Discs four through seven three-alarm back-to-back gigs the following July, two 80-minute main sets and a pair of equally long encores. First show lacks the personality of the previous year yet bears down harder. When Vedder mentions 2006's global heat wave during eight quenching minutes of "Daughter," the band's 116-degree performance makes perfect sense, hemorrhaging "Blood." Nine minutes of Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World" blisters as a penultimate closer. The second show, July 23, 2006, settles in still "fucking hot," the last show of PJ's tour. Faster, rawer, played with abandon (inserting "Save It for Later" into a charged "Better Man"), it's crowned with Vedder's hilarious encore intro. "All right, be honest: How many of you vomited last night? ... How many people vomited on someone they care about deeply last night? ... How many people vomited on a stranger, and tonight you're dating them for the first time?"

***.5

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