I’m sitting in a darkened basement listening to one of Pearl Jam’s Spectrum shows–night two, or is it night three?–and contemplating PJ20, the Cameron Crowe documentary that chronicles the first twenty years of Pearl Jam’s career and that played its one-night engagement today. I’m not the person to write about it; suffice to say I loved PJ20, and since the one part of the movie that slipped ever-so-slightly into hagiography was when the fans (a.k.a. people like me) started talking about what Pearl Jam meant to them it’d be counterproductive to try and offer an objective assessment of its merits. For me, the best part was the first half-hour where Crowe (aided not just by Pearl Jam’s five core members but also by Chris Cornell) examined the history of Seattle’s now-legendary music scene and how Pearl Jam rose phoenix-like from the ashes of Mother Love Bone. It was fitting, then, that PJ20 culminated with Pearl Jam performing the Mother Love Bone song “Crown of Thorns” at their tenth anniversary show in Las Vegas ten years ago. PJ20 will have limited appeal to non-fans, or even to casual Pearl Jam fans, but I can’t imagine a better warm-up for tomorrow night.


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