Wednesday, September 28, 2011

PJ20 Soundtrack - Disc 1

I finally got my copy of the soundtrack in the mail, a day after I got the book, which I'll review much later once I'm done with it. The PJ20 tracklist was put together by director Cameron Crowe, and if I can recall, most of the songs appear in the film in some fashion. But it's still a compilation that will not appeal to the casual fan. For one thing, you got very few of the big hits here. Essentially it's a collection of songs in which most of them has some sort of significance to the band's history, as you'll read in Crowe's liner notes.

The first disc is mainly presented in chronological order, after Release from '06. Alive, decent sound quality, from the then Mookie Blaylock's second-ever show reveals a then-shy Eddie yet to break out of his shell. Obviously the song was still in its infancy onstage, and it wasn't the audience to 'own' just yet. The next two tracks, Garden and Why Go are taken from their short club tour in Europe in '92. I'm sure the performances were something, but I was too distracted by the very lousy sound quality. Then it's back to NYC for an MTV unplugged version of Black, which needs no further mentioning.

Next three,
Blood, Last Exit and Not For You come from the '95 Australasian tour and they blew me away the first time I heard them. Pure fiery passion coming from the band, and Eddie just knocks every line out of the park. Makes me wish I were born earlier so I could see 'em on that tour! Then it's Monkeywrench Radio for Do The Evolution (the whole broadcast is available online and it's mandatory listening). Now Thumbing My Way reveals the soft, gorgeous, more melodic side to PJ; this live rendition contains that 'thing' that was missing from the studio one, as does always in their live versions.

Then comes the big one; the debut of Crown Of Thorns on their tenth anniversary show, a tribute to Andy Wood. This was one of the very rare times that the original intro, Chloe Dancer was played (not sung though). What I like about this is you can hear Brendan O'Brien's organ loud and clear, which is what defines the song really. And paired together with Stone’s guitar, it makes for a unique, emotional experience. Of course you'll also want to listen to the Mother Love Bone version if you haven't yet.

After an impromptu Let Me Sleep comes Walk With Me (from last year’s Bridge School Benefit). The absolute highlight of this disc. The original Le Noise version was as intense as it could get. Acoustically, PJ takes it down a notch, but Eddie's vocals and Matt killing it on the drums make sure the song still has that potency. By now it's common knowledge that PJ does justice to every Neil Young song they cover. The disc ends with Just Breathe from their 2010 SNL performance. On to Disc 2 in a bit.