Like the Brattle Theatre employee told everyone before the Pearl Jam 20 screening last night, this wasn’t your typical VH1 Behind the Music. This was a true rock doc, covering the pre-PJ days, instant rise to popularity, and everything that followed.
Seeing Pearl Jam perform “Alive” at just their 2nd show, after they had been playing together for less than a week, was truly unbelievable. Just as crazy was Eddie’s signature climbing/circus/diving act of their early shows. And when Eddie started swearing his head off and tore down a banner at the Singles release party (what the band themselves call their worst performance ever – ever member totally wasted), I smiled and confirmed out loud, “He IS my hero!” I also enjoyed this back stage rehearsal of The Who’s Baba O’Reilly during the 1992 Lollapalooza tour:
But it wasn’t 20 years of just fun and games with the band. There was alcohol and drug abuse (some related to guitarist Mike McCready’s struggles with Crohn’s Disease), dealing with instant fame, and the tragedy at the Roskilde Festival in 2000 when 9 fans were trampled to death during Pearl Jam’s set.