Performer: Pearl Jam
Songwriters: Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, Eddie Vedder
Original Release: Vs.
Definitive Version: Dissident Vol. 3: Live in Atlanta, 1994. Imagine a half-dozen people crowd-surfing in a roiling moshpit and McCready chucking his guitar into his amp stack at the end of this song, and you get some idea of the frenzy that was Louisville a week before the Atlanta show was recorded.
Ah, Lousville. I’ve referenced the first time I saw Pearl Jam in March 1994, but here’s more of the story.
After Vs. came out in fall 1993, there was no question who was my favorite band in the world. I didn’t play Pearl Jam in exclusion of everything else; it only sounded like it. For example, the White Horse jukebox didn’t have either Ten or Vs., so I HAD to play something else there. (And had the karaoke dude had Black on his playlist, I would’ve sung it.)
So I was dying to see them. Fortunately, they were touring in spring 1994; unfortunately, they weren’t coming to Michigan. Fortunately, I had connections in Indiana who could get me tickets; unfortunately, tickets were exceedingly hot. Pearl Jam had booked small venues and were charging less than $20 per ticket.
No matter. Scott said he’d take care of it. He and John, Shani’s brother, would go to Lafayette in January when tickets went on sale there and get some. He said if they could get only two, Shani and I would get the prized ducats. Scott was less inclined to go, and John would willingly give up his seat. As long as I’m in the door, I’m fine with whomever I go with.
Scott called that afternoon—no dice: Tickets were gone in less than 15 minutes. I thanked him for giving it a shot and resigned myself to not seeing Pearl Jam until they played big enough arenas that I’d have a better chance of getting tickets.
Then Scott called the next day. A ticket broker in Indianapolis had tickets available to the show in Louisville, Ky. The price: $75 a pop. Face value was $18.
At the time, the most I had paid for a concert was something like $40, maybe $50—probably for Genesis at Ohio Stadium in 1992. I don’t remember, but, regardless, Pearl Jam would be, by far, the most I’d ever paid for a concert if I paid the scalper’s price.
I thought about it for all of, I don’t know, five seconds. Get three, and you can go, too. We’ll call it a late engagement present. (He and Shani had gotten engaged in November 1993.)
I didn’t care about the price. In all likelihood, I would have paid $100 a ticket. I was making enough by that time to afford the extravagance. I was going to see Pearl Jam in a couple of months. That was all I cared about.