Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Certain Songs #1506: Pearl Jam – “Porch (Atlanta 04-03-1994)” | Medialoper

B-side, 1994

Almost from the start, Pearl Jam were feted as a great and intense live band. So there was some serious irony in early 1994 when the tour to support Vs was thrown into chaos as they got into a fight with Ticketmaster over the exorbitant “service” fee that the concert behemoth routinely charged each and every customer.

While I’m not going to go into too many details — Pearl Jam basically lost, at least partially because Ticketmaster had a system of kickbacks to venues in order to be their exclusive vendors — the upshot was that the tours to support Vs and Vitalogy had a shitload of logistical issues, no matter how great the music was.

And by the evidence of a live radio broadcast from Atlanta’s Fox Theater — the same venue where Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded their great live album nearly 20 years previous — the music was pretty fucking great. I’m not sure if I taped that broadcast, but I definitely bought a bootleg CD of it a few weeks later, and it was a pretty great fucking show, to say the least, mixing old songs, songs from the upcoming Vitalogy, and even a cover of the Dead Boys’ “Sonic Reducer.”

As a matter of fact, it was such a great show that the band stuck nearly the entire thing — absent the Vitalogy songs and cover — onto the “Dissident” single, and made it available as a 3-disc pack in Europe. Which, naturally, I bought, mostly for the utterly crazed version of “Porch” that came at the end of the show.

The first of the Vedder-only songs to make it onto a Pearl Jam record, “Porch” was a highlight of “Ten,” leaping out of the back half of the record with the usual Vedder intensity.

What the fuck is this world
Running to, you didn’t
Leave a message, at least I
Could of learned your voice one last time
Daily minefield, this could
Be my time, ’bout you?
Would you hit me?
Would you hit me?
Oh oh oh
Oh whoa whoa, oh

After the speedy, cacophonous opening verses, “Porch” broke down into an mid-section where everybody could basically just make shit up while Eddie often did some kind of crowd-pleasing (or bating) shenanigans, often involving climbing to the rafters of whatever venue. Remember when we were young enough to do shit like that? I remember vividly watching the MTV Unplugged version where he took the time to scrawl “PRO-CHOICE” on his arm, knowing that it would piss off the “no politics” crowd.

But the version of “Porch” from the Atlanta show was a whole other beast. After speeding through the first two verses at punk rock speed, when the breakdown came, Dave Abbruzzese holding down the fort with his kick drum and ride cymbal while Mike McCready used Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child” as a jumping off point for a solo that never even stopped for a second as Eddie occasionally screamed with “you fuck with me, I’ll fuck with you” while Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament and drove it ever forward until Abbruzzese was doing rolls and builds and builds and rolls and then both guitarists were soloing and it was complete and utter chaos.

For six minutes. It was fucking amazing as it climbed higher and higher and higher and higher, bending and bending and bending but never quite breaking until days, weeks, months, centuries later they all launched back into the chorus one last time.

Hear my name, take a good look
This could be the day
Hold my hand, walk 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 ever again
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Even now, 25 years later, the sheer audacity and intensity (there’s that word again) of this version of “Porch” is off-the-motherfucking charts, and as great of a live act as they’ve remained, I’m not sure they ever topped it.

“Porch” live in Atlanta, 1994 (audio only)

“Porch” live at Pinkpop, Netherlands, 1992

“Porch” MTV Unplugged, 1992

“Porch” live in New York, 2006

The Certain Songs Database
A filterable, searchable & sortable somewhat up to date database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page

[from http://bit.ly/2lwcL5j]

No comments: