Saturday, December 30, 2023

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2023, #1


With only just a rumor in 2022, which frankly, we didn't believe, it came an exciting shocker that Stone Gossard and Loosegroove Records decided to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Brad's debut album, Shame, with not only 5 different variants of THAT album on vinyl, but an entirely new Brad album that had been recorded and never cleaned up for release.

With Shawn Smith's passing in 2019 we were sure that we had heard the end of Brad as well, but this song lifts our spirits.  It's everything we could have hoped that a sixth and final album from Smith could have been.  It soothed our soul and helped bring our mourning to an end.

Brad's In the Moment That You're Born was our favorite release in a year of amazing releases and reissues from Ed, Jeff, Mike, Stone, and Matt.  

Now, onto 2024 with hopes of a new album and a real, honest to God tour!

Friday, December 29, 2023

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2023, #2


Speaking of "Vault" shows ... the "reissues" of the "never before released" Best Buy promotional live album, Give Way, left us asking two questions.  "Why wasn't this a Vault release?."  And "Is it because there are nine songs missing?"

We speculated yesterday whether a drunk monkey may be running the Vault program, but honestly, sometimes recordings are hard to recover and this release was tied up in all sorts of corporate red tape.

So, when Pearl Jam announced we'd be getting this legitimate rarity on Record Store Day, most of us just cheered.  This album was such a myth for years, with copies being stolen and sold for hundreds of dollars.  This year, we all got a chance to get our hands of a well-mixed copy, and wow, does it sound good.  

If you haven't picked up a copy, there are almost certainly some CDs at your local record store.  Go grab it and give a listen right now!

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2023, #3

 #3, ATLANTA 1994 ON VINYL    

When Pearl Jam released the audio of their 1994 Atlanta show late in 2020, we weren't clear if it was part of the actual "Vault" program or if it had a number or anything.  Then they started releasing vinyl of previous Vault releases that weren't on vinyl, and it looked like they had a drunk monkey running their program.

Hopefully, this year sets things straight with the release of Pearl Jam's iconic show at the Fox Theater in Atlanta as the official Vault #11, and all 10 previous releases having come out on vinyl, CD, and digital.  Does this set the stage for something great in 2024?  There's so much we're waiting for.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2023, #4


VinylMePlease's marbled red reissue of Yield was the reissue we didn't know we needed.  It sounds mind blowing good against the original pressing.  Although it was available for only a limited time, hunting this down will be totally worth your time.  Happy 25th Anniversary, Yield!  Even if you did stiff us on Hummus!

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2023, #5


A snapshot of a specific time that doesn't even include "Pearl Jam" on the cover, but is, nonetheless, a favorite of many Pearl Jam fans ... The soundtrack from the movie Judgement Night contains one song featuring Pearl Jam backing Cypress Hill, with Eddie Vedder hard to find.

November's Record Store Day brought us a great sounding, red vinyl re-release of this album.  Was it the first time on vinyl?  It may have been, but either way, it's a favorite we were waiting for.

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2023, #6


We'd been getting little tastes of Jeff's work with drummer, John Wick, throughout COVID including his scary score for Under the Banner of Heaven, but in 2023, we finally got the album fully of punk fun, Catastrophic Metamorphic, including their first single, a cover of the Buzzcocks' Sitting Around at Home.  

Jeff, arguably the most active member of Pearl Jam when they aren't recording Pearl Jam records (which is either always or never, according to band members) rarely disappoints, and this album certainly doesn't.  A great collection of high tempo rock and punk that was one of our favorite albums of 2023.

P.E.S.T. EP3 on the Way

 In a Christmas Instagram message, Jeff Ament's band, P.E.S.T., featuring himself, aka Jeff Diction) (bass), Dave Parsons (vocals), Charlie Beaton (guitar), and Matthew Bainton (drums) have wrapped another punk EP.  Look for that to drop early in 2024.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2023, #7


In celebration of Vs.' 30th Anniversary, Pearl Jam re-released the album in a few collectible formats, "dreamsicle" vinyl via Ten Club, clear vinyl via Target, and a more widely available black vinyl.  They also put out the album again on cassette and release a new Spacial Atmos digital format.

Reports were that every version sounded great, with MAYBE just a little lowering of drums and upping of bass in the mix, but arguments continue.

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2023, #8

 #7, The Rockfords

Plenty of reasons to head out on Record Store Day this year.  The Rockfords, Mike McCready's band with Carrie Akre, Chris Friel, Rick Friel, and Danny Newcomb reissued their long out-of-print debut album and paired it with their later EP, Waiting, in a single package.

To sweeten the deal, the band even played live at Easy Street Records in Seattle on Record Store Day.

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2023, #9


After working with the Melvins in 2019 at the Chris Cornell tribute concert, Matt Cameron proposed an idea to Buzz Osborne for the Melvins to back him on some solo material that he had been working on.  The result was an EP of Matt Cameron solo material named in homage of the Melvin's album, Gluey Porch Treatments.

Released on white vinyl for Record Store Day, we always get excited for Matt Cameron solo material, because he never seems to get enough writing work in Pearl Jam.  A great little rocker and collectible!

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2023, #10

 Every year we like to summarize our favorite news stories about Pearl Jam to finish off the year.  Even though they did tour, or at least, played a few shows, we're going to focus on releases and reissues, because there was a lot of great Pearl Jam music released this year.

We should also mention that, despite being the most important news, we're not using the release of our first book, I Am No Guide, Pearl Jam Song by Song, as #1.  That would be rude.  At least, it's rude until next year, when the book actually comes out.  Go pre-order your copy now!

Now, on with our Top Ten!


3rd Secret, Matt Cameron's band with Bubba Dupree, Jillian Raye, Kim Thayil, Jennifer Johnson, and Krist Novoselić, released their second album in 2023.  Unlike many of the albums on our list, there is no CD or limited edition, colored vinyl version of this album.  You'll be streaming it only, but it's a great follow-up to their debut.  A great album, but up against some very highly anticipated music this year.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Pearl Jam Announce a Pair of Shows for Europe, July 2024

This morning, Pearl Jam announced two shows for this coming summer at European music festivals.  Rumors about a new album have now hit a fever pitch.  No guess on that front (but February no longer seems likely), but those of you across the pond will be rocking out for sure!

Ticket info is available on the Ten Club website.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Thursday, October 19, 2023

We Wrote a Book!

 Well, friends, you've been coming to our humble little website for more than two decades for all of your Pearl Jam news, reviews, and gossip, so we decided it was time to put our brains together to bring you something more permanent.

Brian Stipelman and I have compiled a collection of all of Pearl Jam's albums, exploring them with a deep dive into themes and suggesting all of our favorite performances for each song.

Thirty years after their genre defining debut record, Pearl Jam remains one of the most resonant, successful, and enduring bands in the history of rock music. From the opening notes of Ten through the closing moments of Gigaton, Pearl Jam shaped how a generation of fans understood integrity, self-worth, solidarity, love, and the power of like-minded people to change the world. Along the way they sold over eighty-five million records, played about a thousand live shows, and built one of the most dedicated fan bases in the world.

Fusing a wide array of musical influences, Pearl Jam offers the clarity of purpose of U2, the questing uncertainty of R.E.M., the humanism of Bruce Springsteen, the textured distortion of Neil Young, the reckless energy of punk, and the transformational sweep of the 60s and 70s classic rock era. Their music invites listeners to travel with them on an ongoing journey of self-discovery, carving meaning from the absurdity of suffering and the beauty of love.

I Am No Guide: Pearl Jam Song by Song celebrates Pearl Jam’s legacy through a deep dive into the ideas and themes explored in their music. It tracks Pearl Jam’s evolution from their explosive start and meteoric rise into the biggest band in the world, through their deliberate retreat from fame and gradual transformation into rock and roll elder statesmen, analyzing how these experiences shaped their music. Album by album. Song by song.

But Pearl Jam cannot be understood without reference to their legendary show, famous for their intensity and community, concerts that can run for thirty songs with no set list ever repeating. I Am No Guide: Pearl Jam Song By Song documents definitive live performances of every song and highlights the reciprocal and transformative relationship between Pearl Jam and their fans

I Am No Guide: Pearl Jam Song By Song invites you to look at familiar songs in new ways, throw on a record you haven’t heard in a while, and remember why Pearl Jam matters so much to so many of us.
You can preorder the book via or Amazon right now.  The release date is subject to change due to Pearl Jam hinting at a new album as soon as February.

Vs. 30th Anniversary Reissue


In honor of Vs.'s 30th anniversary today, Pearl Jam is releasing a reissue of the album.  It's currently available on their fan club site (for members only) on black vinyl ($42.98), "Dreamsicle" vinyl ($44.98), and cassette ($16.98).  The vinyl is mastered at 45rpm.

It'll be a miracle if the color variant hasn't sold out before I finish typing this update, so waste no time!  Head straight to to get your copy.

UPDATE: Crystal clear, 1-LP variant is available for pre-order via Target ($24.99).

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Lightning Bolt Turns 10

Credit: Don Pendleton


State of Love & Turst: A Pearl Jam Podcast, Episode 178

The State of Love & Trust Podcast welcomes TSIS's own, Stip back for a discussion about Lightning Bolt's 10 Year Anniversary.  You can give it a listen here, or wherever you get your podcast joy.
Jason and Paul welcome back friend of the show and The Sky I Scrape / Red Mosquito legend Stip to discuss how Lightning Bolt has aged over the last decade. Paul and Stip also grill Jason on the Loosegroove Records party in Beverly Hills where he got to meet Stone Gossard. All that and the Lyric and Live Cut of the Week - Sleeping By Myself.

Monday, October 2, 2023

Happy Birthday, Josh Klinghoffer!


Credit: Ehud Lazin

Gory Scorch Cretins by Matt Cameron

 Record Store Day announced their releases for Black Friday 2023, and the list includes a 12" EP by Matt Cameron featuring some of his solo work recorded with the help of the Melvins.  Look for one of 2,500 copies at your favorite record store on November 24th.
"I have been a massive Melvins fan since I first saw them play live in Seattle around 1985. They were a huge influence on me as a musician and big part of our local Seattle burgeoning underground rock music scene in the 80s.

I reconnected with the Melvins in 2019 when they performed at the Chris Cornell tribute concert in Los Angeles. After the show, I emailed Buzz and asked if he, Dale, Steven and Toshi could help me record some solo material I had kicking around. I also collaborated with Seattle musician/producer Nate Yaccino and Meagan GrandallI on this release. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, completely dug the results and decided to pay homage to the Melvins by reimagining the artwork (with their permission) from their groundbreaking record Gluey Porch Treatments. Enjoy." Matt Cameron (Soundgarden, Pearl Jam)
1. Our Time
2. Right Thing To Do
3. Down The Middle
4. Better Life
5. Top To Bottom

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

The Pearl Jam Halloween Shirt 2023

 Pearl Jam has decided to celebrate the band's contributions to The Last of Us by announcing their 2023 Halloween shirt, featuring Clicker artwork, on Outbreak Day.  You can pre-order your shirt here for $35 (+S&H).  You can order now until September 29th.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Austin 2023 - The TSIS Review

Credit: Geoff Whitman

 The Preamble

I was fortunate enough to attend Austin Night 2.  This was my first time flying to see Pearl Jam – I have done long drives and stayed with friends, but nothing that required airports and hotels. I had always brought friends and family to shows – outsiders I was inviting in for the experience. So after thirty years and thirty shows, this was my first Pearl Jam concert where I was on my own, and so my first time seeing Pearl Jam exclusively with the Pearl Jam community – the found family that springs up at these events and helps make them what they are.

I got my ticket through Jason Kerepesi, one of the co-hosts of the excellent State of Love and Trust podcast that inexplicably keeps having me on as a guest (first time meeting him in the flesh. A great guy – class act all the way). He had access to an extra ticket and invited me down to see the band and record a live podcast at the Wishlist Foundation pre-show party (check out their page - they do great work!).  I had never been to one of their events. It was a great time, and a fun podcast (it’s online, you can listen here).  I saw a truly spectacular collection of Pearl Jam t-shirts, and was a little alarmed at how many of these I had somehow owned and lost over the years. I had a self-deprecating laugh or two at our aging fan base, and was a little relieved to see the beginnings of a second generation of fandom. We met and interviewed some of the Wishlist Foundation organizers – Bryan Flood was seeing his 111th show. Laura Demartini, the founder of Wishlist, was seeing her 153rd.  I also met a gentleman who decided to follow the band on this mini tour, and had seen every show. A feat that exists entirely outside my realm of experience.

I have been in a bit of a live Pearl Jam drought - changes to Fanclub ticketing (which on balance were the right thing for the band to do) have made it harder for me to see them, and the inertia in my own life (small kids, a period of some financial instability) made it harder for me to justify traveling when I got shut out of local shows.  Other than Camden last year I had not seen them since 2013.  Two times in ten years is tough when the previous twenty years saw me seeing them two to four times every tour cycle (and just about every tour)

What I want out of a Pearl Jam show changes a bit, when I see them less often. I’m not as interested in collecting rarities. I’ve always been drawn to the live hits anyway, the songs that elicit the biggest crowd reactions. But after my time away, what I was really craving was the communal experience of seeing Pearl Jam - the shared mania, the explosive responses to the alpha tracks. If I had already gotten Corduroy or Small Town two times on a tour cycle I didn’t need it a third. But I hadn’t heard these songs in a decade and I craved them. I went to Austin not interested in the curatorial element of the live experience. I kind of wanted a greatest hits show.  Austin 2 was not that, but it was an amazing concert, and made my previous expectations and desires completely irrelevant.  Pearl Jam concerts are my church, and it just felt great to worship again, alongside my fellow believers.  Okay – onto the actual show:

 The Actual Review

Starting with the last tour, Pearl Jam have opened with a 4-6 run of slower songs. Sitting down, gradually ratcheting up the intensity, until they kick into the more traditional show experience.  I’m not sure if they benefit from the warmup, or if they just like how it helps the evening flow, but it works so well.   The slow songs building off each other create a mood that lets you glide into the experience. It lets you linger in the space while drawing attention to smaller moments of artistry that can get overwhelmed between the adrenaline bombs of their more aggressive peers. By the end of these cycles a song that might have been a mid-show breather feels like a climax.

The night started with Wash, which also kicked off Camden.  They sounded great, and Wash works well as an opener for this kind of structure. It’s moody, atmospheric, has a chorus you can sing along with, but unlike a Release or a Long Road it doesn’t demand an immediate emotional engagement.  People can settle into the night at their own pace.

They followed up with Sometimes – not a favorite, and it might have been a momentum killer mid set but this early worked really well as table setting (and I interact with the song differently as part of an extended slow burn mini-set).  As often happens, Eddie ratchets up the intensity in a cautious studio track, and this would be a really interesting song to see them rework live as a faster number.  It plays that way – like a runaway thought someone is keeping sedated.

Lowlight helped release that tension, a deep exhale. Like Sometimes, not a favorite, but it sounded beautiful.  These two songs back-to-back signaled it might be a night of deeper tracks, in the coded language any longtime fan uses to track the probable evolution of a setlist.  Real ‘last night of the tour means something special’ vibes.

Black this early was a surprise. Sounded incredible, and worked really well early on, when Eddie’s voice is warmed up and fresh. It was in the moment, but Jason called it out as one of the best versions he’s ever heard, and I think Black may be his favorite song (so that’s saying something). I need to relive the boot, but it was amazing.  Mike was on fire, but everyone was playing their hearts out.

Retrograde closed the opening set.  This is (for me) one of the more minor songs on Gigaton (though still really good, as everything on Gigaton is).  But Mike’s Sirens-esque expansive semi-acoustic writing shines in an arena setting, and it gives Retrograde a feeling of importance the studio performance wants to have and can’t quite get to.

Both times I’ve seen Retrograde, Eddie introduced it hoping for a big crowd reaction – calling for it, actually. This needs to stop. Those moments cannot be requested – they must be earned. Part of the problem may be that Eddie and the band had that live communal transformational experience in mind when they wrote/performed the outro, and are channeling that energy broadly, but the moment itself doesn’t really have the space for the audience roar he is looking for. It’s possible the ‘be the sound’ moment could work as a participatory space if he structures it that way but he’s looking for the reaction prior, and it’s not there…yet.  If they keep playing Retrograde someday it will be, because that ending was huge – it could have closed a show the way it built and built, the way the arena became a wall of sound. Such a powerful moment.  Over time the reaction Eddie wants will come of its own accord, though they’ve been in the habit of jettisoning newer songs before they have the time to embed themselves with the fans.

And we are off to the main set.  Once sounded great, albeit in that slightly disconnected way modern performances of Once often do – the song is heavy, but it’s not angry anymore, and it’s such an odd track to experience as a moment of communal bonding.  But Retrograde filled the arena with energy searching for a release, and Once provided it. There was an older, grandmotherly looking woman rocking the fuck out during Once (the whole night) and I hope I’m half as cool as she is in twenty years.

First time hearing Never Destination – really works well live. Briefly thought it was going to be Superblood Wolfmoon, and I was slightly disappointed when it wasn’t – only because after Dance that’s my favorite Gigaton song and I’ve yet to hear it.

Why Go was next, and it killed as it always does. What a monster of a live song.  Remember then ten-year stretch where it was almost never played. Ridiculous.  Jeff’s bass fills the room, the guitars are searing, and no one wants to go home.

Eddie talked a bit about the forthcoming album – I can’t recall when so I’ll mention it here. He spoke about how much they were pushed musically, and how proud he expected everyone to be of the results.  From the little bits of information trickling out it seems like they were asked to write and create together in a room, for the first time in a long time, rather than serving as the backing band for whoever happened to write the song they were putting together.  Seeing them live, you are instantly reminded of how locked into these guys are to each other, how everyone knows exactly what their role is, and how organically they each make space for the other to play it in a way that doesn’t always happen when they are slotting themselves into some one else’s creation.   I am expecting great things from this record.

½ Full was next, which is always welcome – an underappreciated live track once you get over the vague disappointment that it isn’t Red Mosquito. One of those songs that is unequivocally better live.

Daughter had a nice tag I didn’t recognize.  At this point it was clear that we were going to get a set of semi-rarities but to keep the crowd engaged each would be offset by one of the marquee live tracks.  It was an expertly designed setlist in that way – something for the folks who saw them 7-10 times this tour but always bringing the whole arena back in so the energy never went down.  It meant that songs like ½ Full (or some of what was to come) ended up getting much bigger reactions than they might have otherwise.  There was always a reservoir of goodwill there to greet a more obscure choice. Plus when they sound great, if we’re honest, it almost doesn’t matter what they play.  

Case in point – Unemployable. This is my least favorite track on Avocado, but it sounds much better live, (less shine to it) and the vibe in the arena welcomed everything with open arms, trusting the band to make it  worth our while. And they did every time.

Dance of the Clairvoyants followed. I didn’t get this in Camden, and was really hoping for it tonight. It’s my favorite song on Gigaton, and quite possibly my favorite song of theirs since Yield.   But man, what a weird moment in their catalog. Cool to see, and it’s fun, but it’s a song (they have plenty of these) that has a unique atmosphere and alchemy in the studio they can’t quite translate. Dance is a song that is meant to feel a little hermetic, defined by its clinical uncertainty, and live it just feels messy. Fun, but messy.

Speaking of – Habit was next, and Eddie forgot how to play it (which he was upfront abut right from the start – it was funny). He noodled around a little bit trying to remind himself, and they eventually made it through a sloppy but game version.  Habit has one of my favorite outros, and it did feel muddled.

Who You Are was a complete surprise, and sounded great.   It’s not exactly a sing along, but they did manage to make it feel communal and welcoming, like an invitation to thousands of people to be just a little imperfect together (a particularly apropos message after a messy Habit).  This probably deserves to make an appearance more often than it does. Honestly you could open a show with it.

Glorified G crackled, and even though Austin is not Ft. Worth I still credit them for taking the swing and playing that song in Texas. Great moment – it’s a minor song, but they made it feel like the most important thing in the world.

Rearview Mirror closed out the main set, and it flew by (the whole experience). I would have guessed we were still 3-4 songs away from the end. One of the best live versions I’ve seen. It kept the usual intensity and didn’t get lose in the instrumental bridge like it sometimes does. Tight and focused while still riffing off the studio track.

Encore 1 kicked off with Imagine. Eddie requested everyone get their phones out, and it looked beautiful, but this is a bit of a try hard, and there are more interesting songs to express this sentiment.  This was the low point of the show for me, but it was the kick off to the encore and in that slot where Eddie was re-establishing some familiar intimacy with the audience, so it was fine. We are gradually coming off pause.

Last Kiss was played for the folks in the back (I think they only ever get Last Kiss since Matt can play it on a mini-kit).  And as always, it is a blast to sing along to in an arena. 

We got a full Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns, and it was incredible.  The high point of the night. They sounded SO good.  The Wishlist founder told me this is her favorite Pearl Jam/Pearl Jam adjacent song, and I was glad she was here for it (although at 151 shows that’s statistically likely). I teared up a bit – the performance was just so immersive. There was a purity to the moment and performance even though there was no preamble or setup for it.

State of Love and Trust followed – good version.  But Jeremy brought the house down. The second highlight of the night.  Jeff’s bass just envelopes the space (it’s terrifying how good it sounded), and the crowd moments were super intense in the way only Jeremy can be. After my concert drought Jeremy, Alive, and Betterman were the three songs I really wanted to hear (from the classics).I got Alive in Camden but not the other two. I do not understand how Jeremy is not played at least as often as Black.

And here comes Betterman. During the outro (we got the end of ‘save it for later’) Eddie saw two banners from people who were at their 100 and 129th shows, respectively. He called them out, made a ‘can’t find a better fan’ joke, and was visibly moved by the continued dedication.  Thirty-two years and a thousand shows in, and still nothing is taken for granted.

I guess at this point Alive is a set list standard, as it should be. Followed by Rocking in the Free World with some guests on tambourine (John Doe and the opening band, I think) and Yellow Ledbetter. It was a ‘predictable’ conclusion, but everything felt fresh and vital in the moment.

What an amazing night. Great crowd, great performances, a well crafted setlist that kept surprising without getting up its own ass. It was full of moments that kept ratcheting up energy and emotion that got released in a way that let the folks around feed off it and keep it going. Symbiotic and reciprocal, and no one went hungry.

Following the death of Mark Lanegan, almost all my favorite artists are retired, gone, or likely soon to be. For Pearl Jam to still be going strong, to have found a way to age gracefully without abandoning their core strengths, to still be able to go out there night after night and put on a show like this is just remarkable. I am blessed to be able to still have this in my life. What is maybe most shocking is that an experience like last night, while likely a tour highlight, is still not far removed from what I might have expected on any given night.  

Earlier in the day, when I was talking to the fan who took three weeks off from work to follow them around, I wondered how someone manages to arrange their life to do this.  I left Austin wondering why I don’t.