Immortality – Live at the Orpheum

For those not in the know, Pearl Jam is reissuing remastered versions of their second and third albums, “Vs.” and “Vitalogy.” Released in myriad ways, I’ve ordered vinyls of both album, plus the deluxe versions of the CDs, which includes a copy of the band’s standout show on April 12th, 1994, at Boston’s Orpheum Theater.

And the highlight of that show, was the band’s unbelievable performance of the new song – Immortality. They had debuted it the night before at the Boston Garden, and it was clearly a song written in memory of Kurt Cobain; Mr. Cobain had tragically taken his own life just a week earlier, and the entire music community was still reeling and mourning from the loss.

The lyrics to this early version of the song are vastly different than the ones on the album version, but have a haunting quality of mourning to them. Mourning the loss of a friend and a role model. Mourning the loss of someone who took his fame too seriously. Mourning the loss of someone who couldn’t handle it all. Mourning the loss of someone who “die[d] just to live;” who became immortal.

At the end of the song, Eddie ad libbed Neil Young’s My My, Hey Hey.

Hey hey, this is my last day
My my, know how hard I try
Hey hey, I would’ve loved to stay
My my, I wish I could get high

That song famously announces “It’s better to burn out, than to fade away,” a lyric Eddie had responded to a few nights earlier:

Hey,… I gotta admit, we got a lot on our minds. It is tough to play. I personally felt we shouldn’t play at all. It is really very odd, it’s just like that empty feeling. It is all right to fade away and not to burn out.

Kurt, sadly, was unable to feel that way, and burned out way too soon.

Check out a stream of the track, the unbelievable video just uploaded (with the new audio synced to it), and the lyrics to the original below.

Pearl Jam – Immortality

I could take the sun
I could call the couple anyone
I won’t tell the comfort in the world
I can’t take it off
I won’t say, “Enough, it’s not my fault”
I won’t care, there’s something in the wind

Take me as I am
I don’t need this
I die just to live

I could paint the moon
I could reflect light into a room
If I could, the fortune (all be there)
I could paint it all
I won’t say, “Enough, it’s not my fault”
I won’t call the altar in the air

Take me as is
I don’t need this
I die just to live

I can’t take a walk
I won’t fight this world
I won’t save it all
It is not my fault

Take me as is
I don’t need this
I die just to live
I won’t stay long
I’ll be long gone
I die just to live…

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