Pearl Jam Live On Ten Legs
Is there a need for official live albums in 2011? Pearl Jam fans have plenty to choose from with the click of a mouse already, from officially sanctioned live discs—dozens of them—to an unlimited supply of fan recordings, which are blessed by the band. It makes something like Live On Ten Legs—the name is a nod to another PJ live disc, Live On Two Legs—feel a bit unnecessary, since diehards will have live versions of all these songs already, and diehards are the ones who buy live albums. That doesn’t, of course, stop Legs from sounding pretty great. Pearl Jam has been known to sway doubters in concert—the band conveys its energy and intentions better in front of big crowds than in the studio. Though recorded from 2003-2010—and edited, understandably, to sound like one long show, with seamless clapping—it’s weighted toward 2009’s solid Backspacer, with particularly fiery versions of “Got Some” and “The Fixer,” both of which should’ve been bigger hits than they were. And it wouldn’t be an accurate representation of Pearl Jam live without a couple of covers, represented here with an album-opening version of Joe Strummer’s late-period “Arms Aloft” and, strangely, an arena-rock version of Public Image Ltd.’s “Public Image.” (Vedder shouts to the audience, “If you’ve never heard it, just dance, just dance!”) It also wouldn’t be a Pearl Jam show without nods to the expected, which means “Jeremy,” “Alive,” and—sorry, fans—the absolutely insufferable show-closer “Yellow Ledbetter,” the song that launched a thousand horrible bands. Maybe their inclusion was an attempt to make this set more casual-fan-friendly, but do those casual fans even exist anymore? It might’ve been better, perhaps, to compile more deep cuts and covers, and leave “Jeremy” to ’90s-rock radio.