It had been nearly 22 years since Pearl Jam last played the LA Sports Arena. As the opening act on a tour headlined by the Red Hot Chili Peppers with support from Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins, few seemed to care about what the Seattle quintet had to offer. Back then they were a budding outfit still trying to navigate its way through the murky waters of balancing a hit record (Ten) while garnering the respect of their snarling contemporaries who were jealous of their success. On their long road back to the not-so-hallowed, decrepit arena (which was referred to the band by, of all people, Bruce Springsteen), the quintet has done more than that.
With no opening act, the band culled through its 10-album catalog to give fans on the first of two nights a certifiable greatest hits package. There were a number of songs not so surprisingly included from the band's latest collection, Lightning Bolt, which got lukewarm critical reviews. Yet among the band's diehard fan base, it's been a hit. The album started off at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200, and is the band's fifth No. 1 record overall. Though they've managed to keep a low profile press-wise, "Mind Your Manners" (aka "Spin The Black Circle" part 2) and the drawn out ballad "Sirens," their two singles, can be heard regularly on radio and wisely spliced in between commercial breaks during sporting events. Like with many Pearl Jam songs, some of the newer material translated much better in a live setting, but it's hard to imagine these songs will elevate to beloved or even cult status amongst the fan base.More »