Pearl Jam are going to get very re-acquainted with Boston this summer, when the survivors of grunge play two nights at Fenway Park. But while we have August 5 and 7 circled on our calendars, today marks the 22nd anniversary since Eddie Vedder and company torched the Orpheum Theatre in Boston for a live show so good, it ended up being featured on “Legacy Edition” album re-issues nearly 20 years later.
The date was April 12, 1994 (one week after Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain killed himself), and the Orpheum show landed between the release of Pearl Jam’s second and third albums, October ’93’s Vs. and Vitalogy, which arrived in December of ’94. When those two albums were re-released in 2011, Live At The Orpheum was included.
“A special performance recorded at the tail end of the mythic Vs. tour, Live at the Orpheum Theater showcases a dream setlist created especially by the Pearl Jam crew and has for years been one of the most sought-after recordings among serious aficionados,” reads the “Legacy Edition” promo.
The 25-song set launches with a pair of Ten tracks, “Oceans” and “Even Flow”, before tearing through a cover of Dead Boys’ “Sonic Reducer” with guest vocals from Mark Arm of Mudhoney, who opened the show. “Hey, this next song is called ‘Sonic Reducer’, and umm, we’d like to involve someone from Mudhoney on this one,” says Vedder. “One of the forefathers of… um, the great music you [mumbles]. Mark Arm, ladies and gentlemen.”
It seemed Vedder didn’t want to say the word “grunge”. It was a dirty word at the time.
The set also includes a cover of Neil Young’s “Fuckin’ Up”, and notably, they don’t play “Jeremy”, which was a massive MTV hit after debuting less than two years prior. Most Pearl Jam fans are probably well aware of this show, but celebrate its anniversary by watching it in full below.