[April 18, 1994] Pearl Jam and the 90’s vs the 80’s
Monday, April 18, 1994
Last night Anita and I went to a Pearl Jam concert. It was great! It was announced Friday at 6:00 and the only way to get tickets (if you weren’t in the fanclub) was through a radio station. Anita called one for 2 ½ hours and actually got through.
Mudhoney opened up for them and they were okay. Then Pearl Jam came on and for the first couple of songs I was real stiff (I almost felt like I didn’t belong there. I mean my favorite band is U2 and Smashing Pumpkins are way down the line at second favorite). Then I loosened up and just got real into it. I danced, screamed, it was wonderful. I hadn’t been to a concert in such a long time (about 4 years) and it was incredible. I want to go to so many more now.
(Also I should mention the fact that there was an extremely high number of cute guys there).
–“Just Say Maybe” (the back of a cool Smashing Pumpkins shirt this really cute guy was wearing at the concert.
Few things encapsulate the 1990’s as much as grunge. I’ll be honest, I had Doc Marten boots and a few plaid shirts, but for the most part, I hated the sloppy, unwashed grunge aesthetic. In terms of decade trends, I felt completely and utterly cheated coming of age in the 90’s after experiencing the 80’s as a child. The 1980’s were full of so many things I adored: the clothes, the movies, the TV shows, the hairstyles, the music… pretty much all of it.
The grunge that typified the 1990’s didn’t move me as much as the new wave and pop of the 1980’s. Nirvana, Hole, and most of the other bands associated with the scene did nothing for me, as evidenced by my lukewarm response to Mudhoney. There were exceptions music-wise, Pearl Jam being one for a short time (Alice in Chains and Smashing Pumpkins being others). But these bands never felt like a revelation to me, more like a reluctant acceptance, because they were so ubiquitous it was easier to just give in and like them after a while.
While I knew I wasn’t truly part of the scene Pearl Jam represented and didn’t love their music, I did become more of a fan after seeing them live. They sounded infinitely better in concert than they did on their albums, their growling intensity was mesmerizing, and the show reminded me of the power of live music. I don’t listen to Pearl Jam anymore apart from a rare song here and there, but to this day, having attended ~100-200 concerts since that one, I’d still say they are one of the strongest live bands I’ve ever seen.