Pearl Jam has acquired a reputation for attempting to communicate as directly as they could with their fans. Whether it is through exclusive material offered through their fan club, the official live bootlegs, the self organized concerts, Pearl Jam has made an effort to stay outside the realm of “corporate rock”, while still being able to maintain a huge level of popularity.
We’ve decided to cover the second part of Pearl Jam’s career as seen through their concert posters. And come the new millennium, the quality of the posters seemed to improve, while there were ever more design ideas being added.
The band’s 2000 European tour ended with a truly horrid event during their performance at the Roskilde festival. During their set concert goes starting pushing towards the stage. Despite numerous requests for the crowd to move back, a tragedy occurred in which nine people were crushed to death. This was a turning point in Pearl Jam’s career and an event they often referred to as a moment in which their career shifted gears.
Pearl Jam ended promotion for their Binaural album and in September of 2001 performed in a charity concert with Neil Young, the funds of which were designed to help victims of 2001 American terrorist attacks.
In 2002 Pearl Jam were back with the release of the album “Riot Act”. In terms of sound, Pearl Jam seemed to be moving further away from experimentation of previous records and embracing the hard rock elements of their first releases.
There was an air of mystery about the band still, brought up by the fact that despite their continuous popularity, the band did not seem overly eager to promote themselves in the same aggressive fashion as some of their contemporaries.
Enough time had elapsed by now, that the artists from the “Grunge” were receiving an almost universal acceptance in the U.S.A. In a few more years the term “classic rock” would be used in connection to these groups. On their end, Pearl Jam were steadily presenting themselves more and more like a classic rock group in the vein of the Who and less like a punk band set out on a path of destruction.
Pearl Jam continued to tour at a pace they largely kept until today. During this time they also showed their support for various social and political issues. The “Riot Act” album featured the song “Bu$hleaguer” and singer Eddie Vedder publicly voiced his criticism towards the then current president of the U.S.A. In the following 2004 elections, Pearl Jam would support democratic candidate John Kerry, who would go on to lose against the republican George W. Bush.
Pearl Jam also released a best of record around this time and an album of b-sides entitled “Lost Dogs”. B-sides like “Yellow Leadbetter” or “Footsteps” had accumulated a good reputation throughout the years and were as popular with fans as many of the songs featured on the official albums.
In 2006 Pearl Jam released a self titled album, or what affectionate fans referred to as “The avocado album” (because of the album artwork). It was another step towards the classic, immediate sound of their early records and received positive reviews, with the general critical consensus being that it was “a return to form”.
Pearl Jam then signed to a new label, J Records, at the time a subsidiary of Sony.
The band was at a point in their career where they were receiving as much praise from contemporary bands having been inspired by them, as they were offering to their musical heroes, bands like the Who, Led Zeppelin or Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Pearl Jam also made the decision to play some festival dates, including the Bonnaroo Festival in 2008, which were their first festival appearances after the tragic events at Roskilde in 2000. Their creative output since then has also seemed to generally maintain the same level of quality.