Pearl Jam Rule Austin City Limits With Ferocious Closing Set Featuring Ben Harper, Perry Farrell

October 5th, 2009 by J. Edward Keyes Leave a reply »

For the last 17 years, the going story on Pearl Jam was that they were a band that prided themselves on a willful disregard for expectations. The bullet-points are so frequently recited they can almost be announced in unison: their repudiation of the music video, their now-legendary tussle with Ticketmaster, their insistence on releasing their records on vinyl a week before they came out on CD. Lately, the group shucked the whole major label system, releasing their latest album, Backspacer, on their own, with exclusive distribution in Target and several small independent outlets. Commercial fallout be damned, Pearl Jam built their reputation on a stubborn insistence to follow their own muse.

All of which only served to make their crowd-pleasing festival-closing set Sunday at Austin City Limits that much more astonishing. Abandoning any impulse to confound or to frustrate, the group instead delivered a jaw-dropping, white-hot two-hour cavalcade of hits, one that served to aggressively reassert their relevance while casting a clean light on their past. It was — by any measure — the best show of the weekend. “We’ve been here three days,” Eddie Vedder said early in the evening, “and in those three days we’ve received many, many gifts. So we’re going to do our best to return the favor.” (Check out video from the band’s set, plus footage of the Dead Weather, above.)

Experience Austin City Limits in our best live photos.

Vedder laced a series of steely guitar runs through opener “Why Go?” and slashed a jagged path up the center of “Corduroy.” What was most breathtaking about the set was its brute, blunt force, and the ferocity with which the band tore into the songs. “Hail, Hail” and “Even Flow” — on which Mike McCready heaved...

Article Source: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily


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