Wednesday, March 10, 2010

CD of the Day: ‘Dissident’ EP, Pearl Jam (1995)

It’s hard to fathom now in the age of torrents and other online repositories of live music, but in 1995 high-quality bootlegs were hard to come by—and expensive. So the six live tracks—professionally recorded and officially released, no less—included on this CD single were a huge gift to Pearl Jam fans.

And what cuts they are! Culled from the band’s legendary set at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre on April 3, 1994, these tracks remain the only official documentation of that show, and that period in the band’s career. My favorites are “Release” and “Why Go,” but it’s also refreshing to hear “Rearviewmirror” and “Even Flow” before they became the bloated elder statesmen of current PJ sets. And on “Deep,” Eddie Vedder unleashes an inner fury that's rarer today.

The only drawback is, strangely enough, the title track. “Dissident” is one of my least favorite Pearl Jam songs, and here you have to sit through it both in the official version and the live version from the Fox show. Nevertheless, this EP—with its awesome “Not To Be Confused With More Expensive (Idential) Import Version” sticker on the front (the original was released in 1994)—remains a rewarding listen.

Grade: B+

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