In honor of the 20th anniversary of Pearl Jam's very first live show, Oct. 22, 1990, at the Off Ramp Cafe in Seattle, which took place less than one week after they formed as a band, I am listing 20 Reasons I am Obsessed with Pearl Jam (in no particular order):
1. The album "Vitalogy." I listened to it non stop between Christmas 1994 and August 1996. It made me love music, it made me love rock and roll, it made me love Pearl Jam. It's the best rock album ever made, and it changed my life forever.
2. The way Eddie sang the word "resist" during "Corduroy" at the Bridge Benefit Show in 1994 (at approx 1:35):
4. Mike's kick butt solos (i.e. Even Flow, Present Tense, Yellow Ledbetter)
5. They support important causes, and have written about important issues (domestic violence, drug abuse, war)
6. For years they've allowed fans to tape record their shows and trade their shows, helping to create a community of fans, a "Jamily" if you will...
7. ... And then as technological advances came on the scene, they made many of their live shows available online almost immediately following the actual show for affordable prices.
8. The way Eddie sings "remind me" in Daughter, stretching remind from 2 syllables to 4... just beautiful!
9. Pearl Jam has had 4 official drummers and each one brought something special to the mix (Krusen = polished; Abbruzzese = raw; Irons = funky; Cameron = hard)
10. I've seen them live in concert 29 times and each time they play a completely different set of songs, it's never boring, and always as exciting as the show before it. However, certain songs have certain parts where you know what you need to do as a fan (sing along parts, hand movements, etc.). It makes you feel like you're part of something bigger.
11. Eddie writes lyrics that make me cry: "I know someday you'll have a beautiful life, I know you'll be a star / In somebody else's sky, but why, why, why / Can't it be, can't it be mine." - Black
12. Eddie gave Rich a pick after "Betterman" when we were in 2nd row at the Buffalo show May 2, 2003.
13. I've never heard a Pearl Jam song that sucked. Each song sounds like it's supposed to be in my ears at that very moment. It's basically the soundtrack for my life.
14. Their concert posters are pure art.
15. Heyfoxymophandlemamathatsme (my spanking, it's the only thing I want so much)
16. They are influenced by some of the most amazing hard rock, punk, classic rock, and folk artists ever (The Who, The Beatles, Neil Young, Sonic Youth, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Soundgarden) but they never are derivitive. They make every song their own and have become, themselves, a real influence for new bands (who can never do it as well as Pearl Jam does... obviously!)
17. 3 hours shows... not once, but several times. Randalls Island, The Spectrum, Madison Square Garden... they deliver for the fans consistently.
18. Amazing covers - Patriot, Rockin' in the Free World, Sonic Reducer, Throw your Arms Around Me, Masters of War. Eddie's voice makes every song better than the original:
19. Eddie's crazy antics during the early 90s... climbing rafters, crowd surfing... and then in 1998 I got to see it for myself during "Alive" at MSG, when he climbed up the microphone wire. He was a little rusty, but it was still fricken' awesome!
20. How the sound of Eddie's beautiful raw voice mixes with two rhythm guitars, one lead guitar, a consistent and sometimes funky bass, and powerful drums, and now most recently with Boom on keyboard. Each song has so many different parts, it's like its own symphony.
A big thanks to Pearl Jam for making my life full of music and joy. Here's to another 20 years of amazing, intelligent, fun, and inspiring rock and roll!