Pearl Jam - Live On Ten Legs
Pearl Jam has famously released dozens of shows as “official bootlegs,” but the prospect of a proper live album from them is a strange one. Ever since the band transitioned from grunge superstars to the Grateful Dead of their era, it’s become a dicey prospect to go catch one of their shows as a simple act of nostalgia. And credit to Pearl Jam for that. It just may not be up the casual fans’ alley. Proof? Of the 18 songs on Live on Ten Legs, six of them are from post-2005 albums, two of them are from the Rearviewmirror rarities collection, and two of them are covers.
And hey, I’m not blaming Pearl Jam for playing their newer songs live – that’s what bands do to remain vital. And, frankly, I’d rather see Pearl Jam play new songs than see The Rolling Stones play a collection of hits from the late ‘60s. The problem here is that even the band – let alone the fans themselves – seems more interested in their old songs. Ten Legs features a few tunes from the glory years: ‘Jeremy,’ ‘Alive,’ ‘Animal,’ and ‘Porch,’ and that’s when the album really comes alive.
So how to evaluate such an album? Anyone who is interested will know these songs well, and will likely have heard live versions of them already. So what it really comes down to is a pretty elementary question: Did the band play your favourite songs? Ten Legs isn’t recorded from a single concert, it’s actually a compilation of recordings from 2003–2010. Considering that level of flexibility, it’s hard not to feel like the selection of songs here could’ve been stronger. Some strange choices include ‘I Am Mine’ from 2002’s Riot Act, and as mentioned previously, too much from 2009’s Backspacer. But hey, ‘Spin the Black Circle’ sounds great.
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