Photo by David Brendan Hall
Across the past two and a half decades, Pearl Jam have cultivated a reputation for being one of the most incredible live acts of all time. From the very first time they performed in front of a live, paying audience at the Off Ramp in Seattle on October 22, 1990, right up to today, they have set a bar of excellence that few are able to surpass. Over time, the band’s shows have morphed from tight, high-energy, devil-may-care affairs to surprise-filled marathons where anything can, and usually does, happen. A ticket to see Pearl Jam is a near guarantee that you’re about to witness something truly extraordinary.
From the very beginning, it was apparent that the band had a visible, natural chemistry and rapport onstage. They each adopted loosely defined personas for themselves that they still wear today. Out front you have Eddie Vedder, the crooning, wild, and wine-swigging Dionysus crafting the setlists and operating as the master of ceremonies and chief focal point. Next to him is Mike McCready, the incendiary guitar hero, ripping licks and burning solos. Then there’s the steady bedrock of Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, and a variety of drummers keeping things moving underneath.
As one of the earliest proponents of the official bootleg release format, the marketplace is literally flooded with recordings of live shows from throughout Pearl Jam’s career. Having played thousands of times together, it’s a bit difficult for the regular consumer, or even PJ super-fan, to figure out where to begin when it comes to wading through all of that material, so we’ve compiled a list of the 10 greatest Pearl Jam concerts of all time.
Did your favorite Pearl Jam show make our list? Let us know in the comments below.