Pearl Jam at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The other evening, I got to watch Pearl Jam get into the Jann Wenner’s rock and roll hall of fame.
It was a really special event for me, but it took me a few days to figure out why. As you know, rock music is my thing. I am a scholar on every level of rock music and rock history. I have been watching these ceremonies for decades, I think. What’s so big about Pearl Jam? Well, a few things. I LOVE that band. It’s the only band I am, or ever would be, a fan club member of. I have been seeing them for 25 years. First time I saw them was 1991, and I had no idea who they were. They were trending on Mtv at the time, with Even Flow, but I didn’t have cable. I went to see the other bands: Nirvana, and the Chili Peppers. This was ALL bands at peak power, but what a window of time to see Nirvana. See, ‘Nevermind’ was out, and ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’ had just taken over the Earth. This show had been book probably 6 or 8 months before. So, they were the openers for Red Hot Chili Peppers (touring on Blood Sugar Sex Magic).
But that isn’t what made this so special. What did was a couple of things.
First – this wasn’t my parents band. It wasn’t my brother’s band. All those great bands that came before: the Dead, the Allmans, Led Zep… they were before my time. Pearl Jam was MY band. I was there from the beginning. I have met (some of them), I have been to about 20 concerts. I have everything they have ever done. This was validation of my tastes. That is pretty damn cool.
The other thing? Well, if you see the performance… you see they still got it. Too often, the HOF is to try and bring together very bitter rivals on to stage. We stop to remember all their dead band mates. Some of them, like Journey, haven’t been in the same room together for 15 years. Pearl Jam not only never broke up… they are as strong as ever. Like Iron Maiden, they somehow just keep getting better. Pearl Jam doesn’t just get better, they get longer. Last time I saw them was last night of the Lightning Bolt tour… they played for almost 4 hours. They are still doing that now, at EVERY SHOW. (Ed note: review of that show here)
It’s also great they are good people. No arrests, no scandals, no deaths or overdoses. They give money to charity. They took on Ticketmaster, and went to goddamn Congress to do it.
I wish I could embed that performance here, but you need HBO to see it. I can give you this, though; David Letterman’s AMAZING induction speech. Forgot how much I miss Dave. He’s still got it!
· Postscript. Check out Ame’s shirt, and the story behind it. LOVE IT.