Pearl Jam play the Molson Amphitheatre June 28 with the Buzzcocks. Rating: NNN
PEARL JAM Live: Perth, Australia, February 23/03 (Epic) Rating: NNN
PEARL JAM Live: Tokyo, Japan, March 3/03 (Epic) Rating: NNN
Pearl Jam figure they're this generation's Grateful Dead, but instead of fans trading every show, Eddie and the boys expect you to shell out $30 a concert for over 100 official bootlegs. Official bootleg? Isn't that an oxymoron? Anyway, both these limited-edition two-hour-plus concerts rock hard, the way any PJ fan would expect. There's enough of the familiar to make you happy, and those who believe Pearl Jam haven't written a good song since 94's Betterman are sure to think again after hearing live takes of 02's Riot Act. You Are and Cropduster are perfect examples of the funky, hard-rocking, tight rhythms that define Pearl Jam. Ultimately, what makes any live CD, and especially a live PJ CD, is the between-song banter/jams, crowd sing-alongs and the covers. Maybe they should forget making a CD for every show and put out a double album of this stuff. Eddie speaking Japanese, sermons on saving the barrier reef, Cat Stevens and CCR covers? Now you're talking. Both sets are good, though any fan will probably opt for the inevitable release of the Toronto show later this month.