Pearl Jam is a band with a big heart and a generous spirit. They let you in. It’s HUGE. And it’s the essence of The Pearl Jam Experience. Sure, the music is great; it’s always been great. I was one of the first Pearl Jam fans I knew back in the early '90s, but then I lost track and got busy having babies. Raffi took Eddie’s place in my heart (but just for a little while.)
The music from Ten, the band's first album, still sounds new to me, and many of the songs from that album are still played at their live shows. The songs are easy to sing (if you know the words in advance), and fun as hell. They’re dumb enough to be rock and roll and smart enough to keep you interested. I mean this is music that really, unless you have no soul you cannot help but bounce around and bang your head to. It is an exciting, foot stomping, heart pounding kind of sound. The kind of sound that you heard inside your body kind of non-stop when you were a teenager, even when the radio was off.
And make no mistake, these musicians are world class. Truly, jaw droppingly good drumming by Matt Cameron. Even if you are absolutely tone deaf and have two left feet you could keep the beat and dance with Matt at the drums. He makes you want to BE a drummer. His drumming is massive and masterful and … elegant. That sounds weird, maybe, to say about the drummer of Pearl Jam, but it’s true.
And Eddie. Well. Eddie! Eddie is the person you were pretending to be when you were a teenager pretending to be a rock star in front of the mirror. But the freaky thing is, you get the feeling that EDDIE is just like you, and that he also used to pretend to do all those things in front of his mirror that he is doing in front of you, on stage, right now. Eddie manages to get away with all the rock star antics because he is so unfailingly genuine, so very real, somehow, that it is shattering. Absolutely shattering. He is so unguarded, so open, that it is quite disarming. Quite alarming, even. He is an open soul. He is raw. He is on the outside who everyone who loves rock and roll is on the inside. And all these things that Eddie is come out in his singing. Holy shit. Eddie’s screaming of LOVE at the very end of their cover of “Love Reign O’er me” literally made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end for a good long while. He was somehow able to convey in that ONE word about 10 different emotions, including, but not limited to, love, passion, desperation, sadness, desire, hurt, loneliness, innocence, anger, pain. You know that feeling?