Release Date: Jan 18, 2011
Record label: Island
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Hard Rock
The sequel to 1998's Live on Two Legs, this 18-track compilation is perfect for anyone unwilling to wade into the sea of official Pearl Jam bootlegs. It's also a reminder that Pearl Jam are one of the best live bands on the planet: Recorded between 2003 and 2010, every one of the 18 tracks here is better — more raw, more energetic — than its studio counterpart, and the track list mixes monster hits ("Jeremy") with newer cuts ("The Fixer," "Got Some") and a generous helping of fan favorites ("State of Love and Trust"). Best of all is a frenetic cover of PiL's "Public Image," in which Eddie Vedder manages to out-snarl Johnny Rotten.
Last year was a great year for Seattle’s prodigal sons, returning rejuvenated and victorious to arenas and stadiums the world over in support of the back-to-basics, warmly received Backspacer. Featuring blistering guitar workouts, mile-wide hooks and a newfound sense of vitality – the album represents their best collected work since 1994’s Vitalogy (no pun, ahem, intended). It seems that, sixteen years on Pearl Jam have set aside the much publicised resentment that followed their initial success; content to come in from the cold once more and nestle by the fire like a long-lost – and much missed – pet.
If there’s any band that doesn’t suffer from a lack of widely-available live recordings, it’s Pearl Jam. Having taken a first step into the live album field with the conventional single-disc release Live on Two Legs in 1998, starting in 2000, the grunge quartet has gone out of its way to provide full-length “official bootleg” recordings of virtually all its concerts, either as a free bonus for buying a ticket or as select commercial releases. It’s a measure of how much the group values live performance and its fans that it so willing offers up its shows as permanent mementos for the faithful.
Pearl Jam's latest release, a collection of live tracks à la 1998's Live on Two Legs, might be a hard sell for some, and much of the issue of its relevance lies in the question: Is there really a casual Pearl Jam fan anymore? Those who have stuck with the band from its grungy beginning through the latest resurgence have likely reveled in the band's penchant for releasing all of its live shows, and as such, most Pearl Jam fans have this material in numerous places already. That said, over the past 20 years, Pearl Jam has cemented its status as one of the best live bands around, and its songs played live always vastly outstrip their studio counterparts. The 18 tracks on Live on Ten Legs are no exception.
An explicit sequel to 1998’s Live on Two Legs, 2011’s Live on Ten Legs offers a portrait of Pearl Jam's new millennium, collecting 18 highlights recorded between 2003 and 2010. The decade was fruitful for Pearl Jam, the band generating a wave of four solid albums that nevertheless get no greater showcase than here their ‘90s alt rock standards, with “Jeremy,” “Alive,” “Spin the Black Circle,” “Animal,” “State of Love and Trust,” “Porch,” and “Yellow Ledbetter” all receiving prominent placement. If there are any surprises in store, they arrive via the inclusion of two covers -- Joe Strummer's “Arms Aloft,” a better fit for Pearl Jam than Public Image Ltd's “Public Image” -- because the music itself is straight-up solid, modern Pearl Jam, the band stalwartly anchored by Matt Cameron, who gives the muscle and a steadier pulse.
Huge crowds, quality performances and emotionally charged selections. Greg Moffitt 2011 Given that alternative rock giants Pearl Jam have released hundreds of concert recordings in their official bootleg series, this live compilation seems a fairly unimaginative way to celebrate the band’s 20th anniversary. Hardcore fans can, of course, simply ignore it, but they’re exactly the people who might’ve hoped for something more.