3 ½ out of 5 stars
by Greg Allard
The original motion picture soundtrack to Cameron Crowe’s upcoming documentary Pearl Jam Twenty spans 20 years of the band’s existence through a smattering of live performances and the eyes of diehard fans immersed in the Pearl Jam experience.
One may ask what is the necessity of such a double record, considering the band put out over 72 official live bootleg albums in the year 2000 alone. Well, further considering that Crowe and co. collected over 30,000 hours of footage for the movie, there was apparently something left to hear, arguably even something for the most fanatical fan who has heard every bootleg being passed around at concert tailgates and floating in cyberspace. This record also serves to condense their official bootlegs into two more manageable discs.
Disc one of the album features 14 representational live performances of some of the best the band has had to offer live in 20 years. Disc two, entitled Rarities and Inspirations, is a set of demos and unreleased tracks that some fans have perhaps never heard before.
The highlight of the albums’ 29 tracks is the band’s November 2000 Las Vegas performance of “Crown of Thorns,” a song from Mother Love Bone, a pre-incarnation of the band that featured frontman Andrew Wood, who died of a drug overdose in 1990.
This collection is certainly not for the casual fan or someone who wants to be introduced to the band’s music via a greatest hits package. It’s really probably best suited for someone who falls somewhere in between the guy who has gone to a Pearl jam concert or two in his lifetime and the woman who really really wants to have Eddie Vedder’s baby.