JAM PLAYS A FAMILIAR TUNE
BY RICHARD PACHTER
There was a bit of a tailgate party going on in the MARS
parking lot Wednesday night. Rather than ribs and chicken
attendant SUVs, minivans and the like were cooking up Pearl
Anyone expecting to hear the band's latest release, Binaural,
or any of its
predecessors, would have been disappointed, as the debut
collection uncannily echoed throughout the lot.
Onstage, however, it was another story. The night's
set was drawn mainly
albums, with a few exceptions. The sold-out audience didn't
to mind. They responded predictably upon recognizing anything
Frontman Eddie Vedder wore white. The rest of the band -
Gossard and Mike McCready, bassist Jeff Amnet, and the latest
percussionist Matt Cameron - could have slipped into the
Some critics fault Pearl Jam's compositional abilities, citing
and somewhat repetitious oeuvre. In fact, there was a lack
variety in Wednesday
night's set. The songs from Binaural,
"Breakerfall" and "Nothing As It Seems"
were nearly identical to the recorded
Pearl Jam may be something of a throwback in these days of
rock hip hop and electronica, but there was nothing iconoclastic
anachronistic about their performance. The playing was fresh
and they clearly fed off the crowd's enthusiasm
journeyman work deserves presentation equal to the performance.
It's a little surprising, given Vedder's adulation of The
Townshend, that he hasn't steered Pearl Jam toward a bigger,
or at least
fuller concert presence.