Pearl Jam

Let’s Play Two

Classic Rock - - The Hard Stuff Albums - nick hasted

Sound­track to Ed­die Ved­der’s home-town base­ball homage.

Ed­die Ved­der’s af­fec­tion for un­der­dogs ex­tends to his base­ball loy­al­ties, given in his Chicago youth to the city’s Cubs, a team so un­lucky that black cats have run on dur­ing games. The big­hearted film of Pearl Jam’s 2016 dou­ble-header at the club’s Wrigley Field sta­dium – which splices in the team’s first World Series win two months later – is a bet­ter bet than this au­dio ver­sion from a band not ex­actly un­der­served by live al­bums.

Taken on its own mer­its, Let’s Play Two is still a heart­en­ing sur­vey of how Pearl Jam sur­vived Seat­tle to be­come a clas­sic Amer­i­can rock band. Black Red Yel­low hon­ours their debt to The Who, from its wind­milling gui­tar rev-ups to Ved­der’s in­dig­nant Dal­treyesque growl, and The Bea­tles’ I’ve Got A Feel­ing is a rowdy, yowl­ing set-closer. A joy­ously com­mit­ted Jeremy and pum­melling Go show their com­fort with their grunge past, even as In­side Job’s per­sonal lib­er­a­tion takes Ved­der past those painful days. Re­lease’s prayer­ful chant for a hurt­ing su­per-fan sums up a band who treat rock au­di­ences as com­mu­ni­ties.

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