Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Water On The Road

The only problem with this new Eddie Vedder concert film is that it's too short. The whole show is pretty stellar. Onstage, the man puts as much commitment and focus into these stripped-down songs as when he sings with Pearl Jam. He lives and breathes them. There are plenty of songs from Into The Wild, all fantastic renditions. At one point between songs he talks briefly about the late Chris McCandless, saying something like how most people perceive something as insane, case in point, is in fact normal to guys like Eddie, and vice versa. Amen to that.

There are three from No Code -- Sometimes, Around The Bend and I'm Open. Meanwhile, Man Of The Hour gets an acoustic treatment, which hits you just as hard as the band version would. Eddie comes across as a very down-to-earth fella whenever he talks to the audience. The DC crowd is quite respectful most of the time, cheering at the appropriate moments; the last thing you want is a rowdy bunch of fans at this kind of show.

The definite highlight here is Arc, which is beyond moving. He uses a loop to create a huge wall of voices and everytime he sings, he sings differently and takes the emotional level and intensity up a notch. Inter-cut with the live songs is interesting offstage footage, like Eddie preparing backstage while his rehearsing a beautiful rendition of Dylan's Girl From The North Country plays in the background, and him in Hawaii chilling (and cutting coconuts); there's a nice short scene of him near the ocean strumming and singing an early version of Unthought Known. Also You're True, one of his best songs from the recently-released Ukulele Songs, makes a delightful appearance.

In the rousing closer of Hard Sun, Eddie puts on his PJ persona as he 'dances' around onstage, electric guitar in hand, as Liam Finn and EJ Barnes back him up on percussion and vocals. Get the blu-ray version for the two bonus covers; a rough but strong All Along The Watchtower (in which he has Fugazi's drummer, also this film's director, jam with him) and a tender Blackbird; boy can he play the guitar well! Watch this and you'll see how much Eddie Vedder has matured as a creative force. Highly recommended for anyone who still listens to music consciously.