As anyone who has ever seen Pearl Jam in concert knows: this is a band that thrives on the stage. Their studio albums are fantastic, but the songs are never fully realized until they’re performed in a live setting. This is a band whose greatness cannot be properly understood without the context of the concert.
And so, I took upon myself to find the best live versions of Pearl Jam’s debut album – “Ten.” Not because this is their best album; but because these are the songs that they started out with. These are the first songs that belonged to Pearl Jam, and the first songs that they performed together, live.
Whether I picked the best versions is up for debate, but there were a few criteria I looked for when parsing through their vast catalog of (official and unofficial) bootlegs. The main thing was intensity of the performance – from Eddie’s voice, to Matt or Dave’s thumping backbeats, to Stone’s pulsing rhythms, to Mike’s wailing awesomeness – I was looking for something that got the adrenaline running. Second: I was looking for performances that stayed true to the studio version of the song. Finally, the songs needed to be good quality.
And while none of the tracks are perfect, they all represent to me what this band is the best at – playing live shows. You can download the entire album as one mp3 here or as a zip file of the separate tracks here.
Why Go (3-17-95)