An Opening Band for the Sun
By: Paula M. Sherman
As a continuation of my article from last month, In The Name of Pearl Jam, I have more things to say about this band. Since the release of their 5th offering entitled Yield, Pearl Jam fans have had a lot to absorb. Interviews, articles, commercials, billboards, pirate radio, concerts; it's all somewhat too much to handle from this band.
From the blustering spaz-jumping head-banding music that Pearl Jam gave us back in 92, which charged their talent while they grew up in front of the public eye; we've experienced the transformation of these 5 men and their trade through the years. Their history is quite exhausting to the average fan. It was a thrilling experience witnessing their energized wide-eye bushy tailed entrance into the music world 6 years ago; adorned in flannel, sporting long hair and spilling the occasional political statement. Then we watched them exhaust themselves and hit bottom trying to deal with their new existence and the death of Kurt Cobain. And their crusade against Ticketmaster was a most profound testament to this band's guts.
But time heals all wounds. That's a fact! And Pearl Jam is showing us that experience has made them stronger. Their new album is extremely different from their first release of Ten, and it's quite different from Vs. and Vitalogy as well. Although it does have an exquisite connection to their technically commercial flop of No Code. I say technically because No Code wasn't a flop in my eyes. It was the most beautiful gift a band could give to their fans! And Yield is another gift, except this one is full of enthusiasm and love.
Did I say love? Yep! Who would have ever thought that we could feel love coming from this band who renounced fame and screaming adoring fans who tried to invade their private lives, after being told by Mr. Vedder himself that he felt like punching out fans who pledged their love to them because they sounded ridiculous. Well, I guess that the love they receive truly is the love that is saved, because the love swims both ways now. For those of you who listened to Pearl Jam's MonkeyWrench Radio on January 31st, you know what I mean. Mr. Vedder said "love ya" in a very bashful and very respectful way at the end of the broadcast. Has hell frozen over yet?
No, I don't think so, I just think that Ed's heart defrosted after going into a deep freeze back in 93 and 94. Now that the chill is warmed, he'll live longer :) This means Pearl Jam will give us more music for years to come. And we have a lot to be excited about once Ed announced in a MTV interview that an "opera" is slated for 2001. So faithful Pearl Jammers, now that Pearl Jam is all warm and fuzzy, let's keep it that way! Let's not scare the bajibbees out of them by telling them how much we love and worship them. I think they get the point. We don't want Ed or the band to go back in hiding. So I would like to suggest that we give them the space and peace to do their jobs. And us faithful fans can secretly worship them and let Ed believe that he raised us fans right. You know, keep those halos on your heads when you're moshing!
And yes, there are probably people out there saying that Pearl Jam didn't stick to their guns. This line of thinking not only comes from the promotional avenues that Pearl Jam used to launch Yield. It comes from the tour dates that were furnished just recently. The band is coming back to cities that are Ticketmaster domain areas. Unfortunately the Florida and Texas fans still have to travel a ways to see the band, but there are hopes that Pearl Jam will accommodate these cities with a few dates.
I really wish that everyone could see that change is a good thing. They're not trying to kiss up to Ticketmaster, they are trying to give their fans a break. Ed Vedder mentioned in an article in USA Today that came out on February 17th, "I don't feel like we have a choice," Vedder says. "Ticketmaster has a lock on venues in places like Philadelphia and Los Angeles. It's going to be strange to see a Ticketmaster stamp on our tickets, but this isn't the ' We're Here to Make a Point ' tour. It's about playing music and sharing a nice night." Jeff Ament is quoted as saying in the same article, "It's not about mending fences." He goes on to say that there is still a sting left from the whole experience, and that they are not going to skip cities because of a ticketing company, even if people jump on their backs about it. Their views have not changed and it's Jeff's hope that after this tour, they don't have to talk about it again.
Congratulations to the cities who will finally get to see Pearl Jam after so many years. And a thank you to Pearl Jam for weathering the storm and coming back with such rocking music. For tour dates in your area, check out Pearl Jam - Synergy . Stay tuned for a concert review! I'm very much looking forward to sharing a nice night filled with the music that only Pearl Jam can play, in Philadelphia. Thanks for reading.