Pearl Jam MTV Unplugged
Astoria, New York 1992

What Up Yo.

Pearl Jam, I love them.

I've said it before.

I'll say it again.

Now, I post this because it wasn't until I saw this performance that I became a die hard fan.

The Pearl Jam MTV Unplugged performance...

It took a while because I'm stubborn, very stubborn.

And skeptical.

And cynical.

And at that age I wasn't open minded at all...not that I am now.

It takes me a while to get used to new things.

I need to get to know them inside and out.

Develop a personal connection.

It's all fucking intense to me.

All these people began to talk about them and I'm just fucking weary of popular "Fad" shit like that.

They were all talking about the mysterious lead singer and this new angst driven (I hate writing that) sound.

How they wouldn't do videos...

They would only release live performances of their singles.

Because the alt music scene was beginning to take hold, it was hard to know at first if they were for real or not.

Nirvana.

I felt they were real.

But I wasn't sold on the rest of the stampede.

And I was weary about this "Pearl Jam".

Then I heard Pearl Jams Black.

It wasn't on the radio.

There wasnt a video for it.

I heard it when I heard the album for the first time all the way through.

Then soon after I heard Hunger Strike.

That was undoubtedly strong and made me want to scream my face off.

Someone then told me:

"You know that's Eddie Vedder, lead singer of Pearl Jam singing blacking vocals....and Chris Cornell from Soundgarden."

"It is? It's on "Ten"?"

"No, it's on this other album that they all got together and made called "Temple Of The Dog"

Quick side note:
Why the hell haven't the done a second Temple album?

Hearing that, I remember, was intriguing to me.

That these new bands, they were part of a community.

This was completely unlike any other popular music I'd been exposed to before.

I cracked.

Bought both albums.

I loved singing Hunger Strike.

My friend Cameron and I...

And we are talking real 1992 grunge living here, we were 18...

We would meet up at like 11 at night, smoke some weed and go to this parking garage by our house that emptied at 6pm.

We would both sit at opposite ends of this thing, sitting maybe 30 feet across from each other...

And we would sing our asses off, our voices echoing throughout this large empty cement garage.

Now,
At the time...
And you don't know this really unless you went through it as it was coming out...

But most of us didn't know what the fuck Eddie Vedder was talking about.

It's not that the lyrics were so hyper intelligent we couldn't grasp them.

It's that vocally, he would stretch out the words in the verses...
Elongate certain words, drag them out so long that you didn't know when one word ended and the next began.

That was fucking beautiful. Genius really.

"RELEASE"

The first time I truly "Heard" Release...I was alone in my apartment at 18 years old, and I started to cry.

I had listened before, but hadn't heard it.

It was a tough time and I started to think about my mom.

I started to think about my mom, hard.

It sounded like Eddie was talking about his father who had maybe passed away?

I didn't know at the time that was the case, but I could tell from the song...

He was screaming to someone on the other side.

I remember replaying that song over and over, tears streaming down my face, screaming to my mom.

I could sing that song to my mother and mean every word of it.

Every word.

And the connection was made.

Then...
Years later...
I'm 20 we're getting ready to go out one night Brother Jeff is excited.

"Pearl Jam MTV Unplugged is on tonight we should watch it before we go out."

"Pearl Jam did an episode of MTV Unplugged? I didn't know that?"

He looked at me stunned.

Before the Internet.
Before DVR's.

Unless somebody had a VCR tape of it, you had to wait until it aired.

Me,
Brother Sunthar,
Brother Mike
and
Brother Jeff were all going out into Huntington Village to raise hell that night...
(Brother Boom? Brother Sal?)

Jeff insisted we wait.

"Dude, you have to see this. This is what made me fall in love with the band. "Black". You have to see them do "Black". And "Porch". "

Now a few years had passed since Ten came out.

Vs. (Five Against One) exploded, brother Shaun bought it for me for my 19th birthday also with a live bootleg disc "Covering Themselves"...
Which was a mishmash of life covers Pearl Jam had done in 1992 and 1993.

Fucking killer.

Vitalogy had just come out, The war has just begun with Ticketmaster.

The alternative music scene was fucking everywhere and great music was exploding from all directions.

Another side note:
Where is the "Dazed and Confused" for the 1990's?

We were at his friend Luke's house, and Luke and Dana lived in this awesome loft in Huntington Village, so we waited, drank red wine.

Then it came on.

I remember watching in awe.

The energy was pumping off the screen as they played Alive, Jeremy, State Of Love And Trust.

I had never seen Eddie perform live, and I had never watched him for longer than four minutes in a video...

And here they were...

Stripped down, pure, raw...

Over the course of the next hour, Pearl Jam became my favorite band.

And that's the way it is been since.

Then they start to play "Black".
Eddie plays with one of the verses

"I take a walk outside...And I'm surrounded by....Some kids that play!"

Oh my God

His face starts to change as the song progresses. He is singing to somebody. He is singing right to them. This is a true story. This guy had his heart torn out. He climbed a mountain and he is screaming, professing his love for her in front of the world.

Yes he is performing.

But you simply cannot fake the earnestness in his eyes.

"I know someday you'll have a beautiful life. I know you'll be a star...in somebody else's sky...but why?

He took this beautiful, haunting song took the next level...

I believe he forgot where he was.

And as the song began to close, Eddie starts to scream...

"WE..."

"WE BELONG..."

"WE BELONG TOGETHER...."

That was it.

I was done.

Changed my fucking life

I simply didn't know you could do that.

I had never seen or heard anything like it. I had never felt anything like that.

Then

He sits and is visibly shaken. He is jacked.

He needs a moment to shake off the pain and continue with the set

And then he marches into a song that I never cared for until that night.

"I just wanna say...One, Two, Three, Four...

Porch.

While Black was filled with the pure emotion of loss and defeat, Porch was rebellion.

The sheer intensity of the performance was staggering.

Bythe time the song finished and we left for the night, I was a changed man.

I don't know if you're going to get from this what I did.

I actually doubt it.

But some of you will. It altered my life and I share it with you.

PEARL JAM: MTV UNPLUGGED | BROADCAST

 

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