Picture this… You are 25 years old, working night shifts at a gas station. A friend of yours passes you a tape from a minor band who are looking for a new singer. You give it a listen, then you go surfing – and start thinking of some lyrics that would go well with the tracks. The band is impressed and you move to Seattle. Not even a year later, you and your new band release your debut album and – bang! Suddenly you are everywhere: festivals, magazines, MTV. Two years later, you are on the front page of Time. A whole scene of bands are copying your sound. That’s just the beginning. Eventually your debut album ends up being certified Platinum thirteen times in the US alone, and your band will be inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Oh and a few years later you will become friends with Obama.
Sounds like a movie, but it’s actually the incredible story of Eddie Vedder, the singer and frontman of Pearl Jam. Their first album, “Ten”, came out in 1991 and will turn 30 this year. Rough around the edges, charged with a youthful energy, it immediately became one of the definitive landmarks of the grunge rock era. Marking a clear cut from the 80s with its hair and glam rock, Pearl Jam set new standards and brought angst and strong ideals back under the stage lights.
Watching a live performance of their first single “Alive” is like jumping into the sea, and coming out reborn. Post-corona trigger warning: you will see huge crowds of people with no safe distancing, having the time of their lives. After a despicable 2020, we cannot wait to be with one another again, feel carefree, let our hair down, and blast some good tunes. When the chorus hits at around 01:20, we can definitely empathise…
“Oh I, o-oh I'm still alive / Hey, hey I, o-oh I'm still alive / Hey I, o-oh I'm still alive / Hey, oh”
Still from: “[HD] Pearl Jam - Alive [Pinkpop 1992]”, uploaded by 96Leo to YouTube.com