Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Kids Are Twenty

This title, inspired by The Who The Kids Are Alright documentary, is supposedly the original version of what became Pearl Jam Twenty. It contains full live performances of the band right from their inception all the way to last year, with a few archival interviews scattered throughout. As great as most of the live footage is, it's not sufficient enough to tell the Pearl Jam story; a good amount of talk has to be included. Cameron Crowe had to cut down most of the live performances to sizable portions for the final cut of the film, if not the duration of PJ20 would've been too long.

So like the book, this particular version makes another companion piece to the actual film. The song sequencing follows closely to that of the soundtrack, same for sound quality too, only that in most of these performances, the audience noise is mixed noticeably lower. The exception is Bu$shleaguer, where unlike in the soundtrack version, you can actually hear people shouting 'fuck you' to the band, and there's much more crowd booing, which makes viewing the whole clip more enjoyable.

There are also some additional performances not shown in the film, like last year's acoustic performance of Walk With Me at the Bridge School Benefit. My most-listened-to song from the soundtrack, it's always a joy when PJ and Neil Young play together (also there's Rockin' In The Free World from the short European tour of '95). Then there's Gonna See My Friend, taken from their now-legendary Philly stand in '09. It's obvious that those shows were professionally shot in high-def, so it only makes sense if they release a DVD/blu-ray box set in the future; it'll definitely make many people ecstatic.

After the credits roll, there's a bonus clip of the band debuting Of The Earth in Dublin last year. Not pro-shot per-say, as it's only filmed from one handheld camera right at the front, but it proves that perhaps the best spot in the house for any PJ gig is really standing right there. It's something else to see the band members' facial expressions up-close, especially Eddie's. Let's hope Of The Earth makes it onto their upcoming album.