Thursday, September 29, 2011

PJ20 Soundtrack - Disc 2

The second disc opens up with my favorite Temple Of The Dog tune, a demo of Say Hello 2 Heaven. The sound is muddy but listenable, and Chris Cornell's uncanny, soul-stirring vocals shines through. Oddly it doesn't sound as dated as compared to the album version from '91. This is followed by another demo, an instrumental Times Of Trouble, which is perfect for singing to PJ's Footsteps too!

The next demo is kind of a revelation; Acoustic #1 is Stone trying out some ideas on the guitar, with Eddie mumbling some words, but it sounds gorgeous; two young creative minds at work. After this is yet another short demo of the band fooling around on an Alice In Chains song. Fast-forward seventeen years, where you hear Matt Cameron doing his own cut of a tune known as Need To Know, which would eventually turn into The Fixer in 2009. This early, raw version reveals Matt's unique odd time signature style of playing.

Be Like Wind is Mike McCready's little score that was included in the film, and then also a short showcase of Given To Fly, which still sounds cool even when done on the acoustic. The following two tracks are Nothing As It Seems, the first a home demo by Jeff Ament, which reminds me exactly of something Roger Waters would've done during The Wall sessions. Then it's a live version from Seattle '01, which has the usual scorching McCready solo. But other than that, the song has never gotten to me; I've tried very much to like it, but still can't feel it. Seems like a good waste of album space, if you ask me.

Indifference is another song I wasn't so crazy about previously, but this live take from Bologna '06 finally did it for me. The crowd sings along to every word, like it's the biggest Pearl Jam song ever. It's not! But that's the beauty of it, the enthusiastic response a song like Indifference gets from the audience. As Jeff said in the PJ20 book, that's success. Next, Of The Girl, in which I'm glad Cameron included in. Here it's presented without the vocals, in full stereophonic awesomeness.

There are a handful of PJ songs that mean the world to me, and Faithfull is one of them. Their best song about organized religion ever, and Eddie tackles the issue with utmost grace and wit. This performance was only a soundcheck (Pistoia '06), but he sings as if he were in front of thousands; just the sound of him pouring his guts over the chorus lines; pretty unreal. I've always liked how he drops the f-bomb over my favorite line: "whatever the notion we laced in our prayers/the man upstairs is used to all this ____ noise". Just by doing that, the song enters a whole new stratosphere as it takes off into distorted territory.

This particular performance of Bu$hleaguer (Nassau '03) wasn't exactly well-received by the fans. I've read reports of people from the show getting very pissed off by the sight of Eddie donning the Bush mask (also addressed in the film). The crowd noise was purposely turned up in this mix, but I would've liked to hear more of the 'boos' and 'fuck yous' than the cheers. The following live Better Man comes, not surprisingly, from last year's Madison Square Garden show. Everytime PJ (and Springsteen) play that venue, the crowd energy is always off the charts.

Rearviewmirror ends the disc, as it usually does for the band's main sets. If you chart its onstage evolution over the years, you'll know that it has gradually turned into a monster of a song. It's the jam, by golly. I also own the bootleg (Universal City, 10/1/09) in which RVM is taken from, and I'm pleased they've decided to get the sound mix right for this compilation. So with that, I conclude my 2-part review. And now, back to the PJ20 book.