Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Fans Are Alright

As the title already suggests, this bonus film (3rd disc of the PJ20 deluxe DVD/blu-ray set) focuses on the fans, their relationships to the band, and how they've enabled the band to stay to true to themselves all these years. Interspersed with live hand-held footage are interviews with fans from different continents, including a group that traveled cross-country in a van during the '09 Australian tour. I vividly remember seeing their hand-painted vehicle parked outside the venue after the opening show in Perth.

There's also a 'statistical analysis' portion by this professor who's a big fan, which is strangely interesting to watch. Although he was wrong in one part -- he thought that the reason why the band didn't play Alive during the American leg of their 2000 tour was because they got tired of it. Actually the reason was because of the tragedy at Roskilde. Speaking of which, there's some great footage of Daughter during the first show after that incident.

As far as performances go, the highlight is no doubt Yellow Ledbetter from Philly (31 Oct '09), which would've made the PJ20 film even better if it were included. The look on McCready's face as he stares blankly up to the Spectrum ceiling as he belts out Star Spangled Banner is just PRICELESS. Then there's also Bugs from that night, first time ever performed, a song so bad it's so good. And Eddie was really rocking it on the accordion. Again, let's hope this entire concert sees the light of day on DVD.

The most poignant moment comes during Hard To Imagine (Bonnaroo '08) where Cameron Crowe reads Eddie a fan letter, in which upon watching I had a sudden realization -- where would I be if not for Pearl Jam, or Bruce Springsteen, or Neil Young? To paraphrase what that fan said, their music has made so much impact on every aspect of our lives. Simply put, it's hard to imagine.