Wednesday, June 6, 2007

3:30 of rock genius

So I was driving in to work this morning and, as I often do when extreme measures need to be taken in my life, I turn to raw, loud music for a brief escape. I had the window down along the ocean and up onto my iPod mix came "Porch" by Pearl Jam.

It was 3 minutes, 30 seconds of pure joy ... pure rock genius, really.

If you are a fan of the rock and the roll and don't know Porch, I do recommend checking it out. It is a modern classic, Pearl Jam at their very best. And, unlike many, it's actually the reason I started liking and then loving Pearl Jam.

It was watching MTV's great old show "Unplugged" that did it. I had heard of these guys Pearl Jam, liked "Alive" enough (until I found out what it was about, that is) and saw enough of "Jeremy" on MTV to make me think they might be legit. So, this being the late college days of 1992, I had nothing better to do ... so I tuned in when they played "Unplugged."

Legend has it they taped the show at midnight one night at a studio in Queens. That's cool. Anyway, they put on a great set and Porch was toward the end, as it was then and always should be.

I didn't know the song before so was a bit shocked at the bleep Eddie Vedder got at the first lyric....

"What the fuck is this world, running to ..."

I thought, boy, I could like this song. And it went from there. With each, "oh," as the song built, it just gets better. There is a long instrumental break in the middle and this was the show Eddie, standing on the little stool they'd given him, grabbed a sharpie and decided to write on his arm in huge letters "PRO CHOICE." Cool moment, but nothing for what came after ... the crescendo kicks in,

"Hear my name, take a good look/This could be the day/Hold my hand, lie beside me/I just need to say/I could not take a-just one day/I know when I would not ever touch you/hold you/feel you/in my arms...never again...Yeah...

Great, great rock and roll.

Perhaps surpassed a few short years later. April 10, 1994. They'd found Kurt Cobain's body two days before and this was only the second show Pearl Jam had played since then. They skipped the memorial service to play the show, almost cancelled. And Ed said a couple times he thought they shouldn't play. But they did, and they blew the doors off the old barn.

Again, Porch was the climax ... and Eddie was slamming the microphone stand down so hard at one point (I think it was Porch), that he smashed a hole in stage floor - and then jumped through it to end the song. Wow.

Shame they fell down in subsequent years. If they could have bottled this, I'd still be hooked. Now, it's left to the random song like this that I remember the once-greatness. Sad, but still great. Thanks boys.

Oh, and if you want to watch it, here's a couple things you need to see. First is the video of the Unplugged set. I can't find just Porch, but this is the whole show. And then this is a great live video of Porch that shows Eddie at his best at the famed Pink Pop festival in 92. Very nice stage diving.


Jason said...

Again, sir, you are perfectly describing some killer music. I've also gone out of the way in the last few months to rip up "Porch" on frustrated car rides. Without the kids, of course. RVM provides the necessary fire, as well. It is too bad Pearl Jam isn't what it was, but it was pretty amazing 15 years ago. Some of that still comes through on the old HDTV. Well, new HDTV. Their storytellers is on non-stop, and is worth a visit.

davidguarino said...

Haven't seen the Storytellers, must check out. I DVR'd Green Day and Coldplay but hadn't seen Pearl Jam. Good stuff on RVM - cranked that one today. And 'Given to Fly' has similar soaring feel.