Friday, September 11, 2009

Top Ten VMA Performances: #4 Pearl Jam and Neil Young ranked MTV Video Music Awards performances this morning.  Pearl Jam and Neil Young made number 4!

1993 was the year of Pearl Jam at the Video Music Awards as their clip for "Jeremy" garnered a number of awards, including Best Video of the Year. So it was natural for the band to perform at the show; maybe not so natural for the band, though. They had already decided not to make any videos for their upcoming album, and decided to publicly debut a new song, "Animal" for their performance. Luckily for MTV, the band also provided Neil Young who joined them for a raucous performance of Young's "Rockin' in the Free World." But don't forget the performance of "Animal," unfortunately not included in the YouTube clip below. It's intense and powerful, and also notable for Eddie Vedder managing not to move for three solid minutes, which is impressive. But while he was certainly uncomfortable with the whole thing, Vedder still delivered a great vocal performance on both songs.

But it's "Free World" that steals the show, and rightfully so. I've come to believe that it's such a great song and such amazing rock anthem that it's probably impossible to have a bad performance of it; additionally, when you have people like Pearl Jam and Neil Young performing it, then you're probably going to have something special. That was the case in 1993 as everybody on stage delivers one hell of a performance. Although Pearl Jam were the stars of the awards portion of the evening, "Free World' belonged to Young on this night as he infuses it with plenty of passion and gives a lesson in guitar playing. The whole group destroying the microphone stand and the guitar amps made for a fitting end to a spirited performance that remains one of the best not only from the Video Music Awards, but one of the better ones I can remember from Pearl Jam.

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