Pearl Jam and Chicago Cubs com­bine in film ‘Let’s Play Two’

Medicine Hat News - - ENTERTAINMENT - MARK KENNEDY

NEW YORK To many fans of Pearl Jam, the band’s twocon­cert stand last sum­mer at Wrigley Field in Chicago was epic. What hap­pened a few months later at that hal­lowed venue was also pretty epic to base­ball fans. Film­maker Danny Clinch com­bined them.

In the new doc­u­men­tary “Let’s Play Two,” the con­certs be­come the sound­track for the Chicago Cubs end­ing their 108-year World Series drought, the worlds of rock and sports tied to­gether by band front­man Ed­die Ved­der, a life­long Cubs fan.

Clinch’s cam­eras cap­tured a dozen live Pearl Jam songs per­formed Aug. 20 and Aug. 22 in 2016 (in­clud­ing “Last Exit,” ‘’Jeremy” and “In­side Job”) while also chart­ing the Cubs’ elec­tri­fy­ing World Series run that fall while also cel­e­brat­ing the city of Chicago. The As­so­ci­ated Press asked Clinch how the movie came about.

AP: This isn’t a straight-ahead con­cert film. It com­bines two dif­fer­ent things, base­ball and rock ‘n’ roll. What did you start with?

Clinch: We went there to film Pearl Jam’s two shows at Wrigley, which was in­cred­i­ble. The en­ergy was great, the per­for­mances were great, and that’s what you hope for. We cap­tured it in a way we were very happy with at the end. When that whole in­tense process was fin­ished — the last note of the last show — I think we were all think­ing, in the back of our minds, ‘Well, you know, we are at Wrigley Field. The Cubs are on a mad tear and Ed is a big Cubs fan. What would hap­pen if this ac­tu­ally came to pass?’ I said to Ed­die and Theo Ep­stein, the gen­eral man­ager of the Cubs, I said, ‘Look, if they make a run, I’m go­ing to come back with my cam­eras. Do you guys mind?’ They were like, ‘No, no. Let’s see what hap­pens.’

AP: It’s a care­ful bal­ance on film, a love let­ter to the Cubs and Chicago with a sound­track by Pearl Jam. Was it hard to put to­gether?

Clinch: It was dif­fi­cult. It was in­ter­est­ing be­cause we were cap­tur­ing hope and de­vo­tion from both sides — from the Pearl Jam fan side, from the Cub side, from the band side as well. The idea of weav­ing that all to­gether was re­ally in­ter­est­ing.

AP: You have worked with the band be­fore. Did that help you get in­ti­mate mo­ments like a mo­ment you cap­tured them do­ing a sound check on a roof over­look­ing Wrigley?

Clinch: My re­la­tion­ship with them is long and there is a trust there. I don’t think they would let just any­body up there to do it. They know that I re­spect them. They know I re­spect their gui­tar tech, their tour man­ager, their whole team. We know that they’re not in our film. We’re film­ing their show. And I think that’s an im­por­tant thing to re­mem­ber. By do­ing that and by al­ways show­ing re­spect, they al­low me to cap­ture that stuff. They’re not a band that al­lows ev­ery­body to cap­ture that stuff. They’re not a band that’s post­ing to In­sta­gram from back­stage or do­ing a Snapchat or some­thing like that. They are pri­vate and they en­joy their pri­vacy. I’m a Pearl Jam fan and I’m a mu­sic fan and what do I want to see?

AP: How did you lay out the mu­sic? You make the songs com­ment on the ac­tion, as when the song “Alive” plays when the Cubs forced a Game 7, stay­ing alive in the con­test.

Clinch: The set-list was a chal­lenge. The band said, ‘It’s your film, you do the set-list.’ I was like, ‘OK.’ I was grate­ful to have that op­por­tu­nity and I thought, ‘Well, you know what? I’m go­ing to rough it out and then give it to them and I’m sure they’ll tell me what they want to do.’ I roughed it out and they didn’t say any­thing. They were like, ‘This looks good to us.’ The way they set their set-list up, they eased into it. It kind of started on a mel­low tip and there was this build, build, build, and this ebb and flow, which is ac­tu­ally how a film should be. In a way, it was very cin­e­matic. We wanted to keep the spirit of that set-list.

AP: Have you ever done any­thing like this be­fore?

Clinch: I’ve done quite a few con­cert films, quite a few doc­u­men­taries. I’ve never had an op­por­tu­nity to mix the two. And it was a great chal­lenge.

AP: What would have hap­pened if the Cubs col­lapsed, the sea­son ended with fail­ure?

Clinch: You know, I don’t think the film would have been that much dif­fer­ent. We prob­a­bly would have fol­lowed the story the way that we did. The end would be dif­fer­ent. ___ On­line: https://pearl­jam.com/let­splaytwo

PHOTO BY DREW GURIAN/INVISION/ AP, FILE

In this 2012 file photo, Ed­die Ved­der of Pearl Jam per­forms at the "Made In Amer­ica" mu­sic fes­ti­val in Philadel­phia. In the new doc­u­men­tary “Let’s Play Two,” the band’s two con­certs at Wrigley Field be­came the sound­track for the Chicago Cubs end­ing their 108year World Series drought, tied to­gether by band front­man Ed­die Ved­der, a life­long Cub fan.

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