Live On Ten Legs

Pearl Jam

Universal, 2011

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


One can be forgiven for not getting worked up over a new live Pearl Jam CD. Between the myriad official bootlegs, the PJ20 soundtrack, the free complete live show downloads that came with Backspacer and the Immagine In Cornice DVD, it’s pretty easy to find quality concert recordings from these guys.

Thus, Live On Ten Legs tries to stand out by offering a smattering of songs recorded between 2003 and 2010, divided neatly between newer tunes and the older ‘90s alt-rock stuff that brought the band to prominence. As usual, a couple of covers are thrown in, and of course the whole thing ends with “Yellow Ledbetter.”my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The two most recent Pearl Jam discs have been short, to the point and free of clutter or experimentation, but still retaining the band’s classic punk-meets-arena rock sound. Some of those newer tracks are here – “Got Some,” “The Fixer,” “World Wide Suicide,” which dovetail nicely with 1995’s “Spin The Black Circle” and the covers of “Arms Aloft” and “Public Image.”

Those who know and love the big sounding, moody Pearl Jam from Ten and Vs. will be rewarded with “Alive,” “Yellow Ledbetter,” “Porch,” “Jeremy,” and “Animal,” all great songs, all performed pretty much the same as any previous approach. Of note are “Rearviewmirror” and “State Of Love And Trust,” two of the more intense and enduring songs of this era.

And finally, the sensitive side of the band is evident on “I Am Mine,” the excellent “Just Breathe” and album tracks “In Hiding” and “Unthought Known,” a couple of left-field choices probably designed to draw in longtime fans.

What this adds up to is a balanced portrait of the old and the new, making it a pretty decent best-of and/or introduction to the band. Yet as with Live On Two Legs, the 1998 live disc that encompassed the first eight years of the band, there is little here that is truly transcendent; rather, Live On Ten Legs is a solid, steady offering from perhaps the best rock band of the last 20 years.

Rating: B-

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