5. Pearl Jam – Reign O’er Me/The Real Me
Of course, one must not underestimate the ability of Pearl Jam themselves to take a song and turn it into their own. In this absolutely stunning live performance from the VH1 Rock Honors broadcast celebrating The Who, Eddie and the band show why they have, for over two decades, been one of the top live acts in all rock music.
Vedder’s vocals make even the great Roger Daltrey look pale by comparison, and the whole thing is just so full of energy and light…again, pure beauty in sonic format. Eddie gets kind of undersold on his vocal range, due to being part of the same scene that brought us the unparalleled incredibleness that is Chris Cornell, but he’s all over it here. The rest of the band is all over the place – in a good way – with Mike McCready breaking in to an on-stage channeling of Pete Townshend’s stage presence that is not only spot-on, but so full of the passion and energy that he and his band bring to everything they do that you don’t even notice (until I point it out) that the performance overall is a little live-sloppy, with a missed snare shot here and a little roughness in the vocal. Somehow, the little imperfections just add to the power of the whole thing.
Matt Cameron is just killing the drums here, hitting Moon’s manic fills with a precision that even Keef never really managed. The symphony supporting adds a gorgeous wall of sound that Phil Spector could only dream of, and Jeff Ament’s tribute to John Entwistle during the breakdown in “The Real Me” has to be one of the greatest few bars of live bass playing ever witnessed. If you can watch this and not be a Pearl Jam fan by the end of it, I can only recommend you find a good ear doctor.
- This song does not appear to be available for purchase through any legitimate source, although live versions may be available on one of the many live “bootleg” shows available through PearlJam.Com