August 27th marks the 25th anniversary of Pearl Jam’s debut record Ten. Not only has the record sustained as a classic in stereo, from the first note to the last, it also continues to translate live in incredible fashion.
At 968 shows and counting, the 11 songs on Ten have been played live a total 4,571 times (via LiveFootsteps). Of that, “Even Flow” has been rocked the most at 815 performances, and “Oceans,” the fewest, at 91 times (65 times as an opener, twice as a closer). The album’s final song, “Release,” has been the band’s most common opener; the three-chord movement has kicked off a show 140 times.
Digging deep into the vast archives of ticket stubs, ranging from the Off Ramp in Seattle to mega-stadiums holding 60,000 people in South America, here are classic performances of each song on Ten over the past 25 years.
“Once” April 29, 2016 – Philadelphia, PA
One of the first three songs ever written by the group via the Mamasan trilogy. After the Wells Fargo Center proudly raises the Pearl Jam 10 South Philadelphia sell outs banner, the band takes the stage to the Master/Slave intro and rips into “Once.” The Ten record would then be played in full from front to back- kicking off a truly special night.
“Even Flow” January 17, 1992 – Seattle, WA
An energy filled, enthralling performance in Seattle’s historic Moore Theatre. This version of “Even Flow” would be turned into the official video for the song. One of the bands introductory videos, a live performance. “Wahhh…”
“Alive” May 31, 2006 Storytellers – New York, NY
The intro. The story. “And here’s the thing. When they changed the meaning of those words. They lifted the curse.”
“Why Go” June 24, 2007 Hurricane Festival – Scheessel, DE
Played as the set opener for the first time since March 15, 1994 as Pearl Jam closes out the three day Hurricane Festival. The 2007 lineup included Kings of Leon, Incubus, Queens of the Stone Age, Beastie Boys, Sonic Youth and Arcade Fire to name a few. Why go home? It’s a good question.
“Black” April 3, 1994 – Atlanta, GA
A mesmerizing version of “Black” that includes the most heartfelt and sincere “We Belong Together” tag.
“Jeremy” June 8, 1992 Pinkpop Festival – Landgraaf, NL
If ever there was a performance of “Jeremy” that encapsulated the intensity of the music video, it might be this one. All the whirlwind of emotions come together and get expressed through song form. The eyes, the body language, the delivery.
“Oceans” November 14, 1995 – San Diego, CA
The last show of 1995 and a very appropriate setting. It’s impossible to find a non-goosebumped arm when the band walks on stage in the dark then a soft “good evening, 1,2,3….. hold on to the thread” balances out the roar of the crowd as the band glides into “Oceans” to open the show. As the Ten track played live the least, the song serves as gem found along the ocean floor.
“Porch” March 16, 1992 MTV Unplugged – Queens, NY
There are hardly words to describe how epic this is. To close out a TV show, you get taken on a journey where you realize what music is about. “Hear my name, take a good look, this could be the day.” It certainly was the day. “I just want to say – 1,2,3,4…”
“Garden” April 11, 1994 – Boston, MA
Considering the circumstances (Kurt Cobain’s passing six days before, the Boston Garden closing a year and half later) this is just perfect. The way Eddie Vedder hits the word “walk” in each chorus is chilling. There’s often no introduction before the band starts playing “Garden.” Stone Gossard’s beautiful guitar intro takes care of that. One of the more underrated songs on Ten.
“Deep” Apr 3, 2013 – Buenos Aires, Argentina
“This festival is 10 years old. This song is off a record called Ten.” A raw, yet right off the record version with the crowd and band jumping in harmony.
“Release” October 22, 1990 – Seattle, WA
Where it all began; the first song played at the first show. Hello world, via “Release.” Surely sets the tone. Who else opens like this? Who else has a song like this? “I’ll ride the wave where it take me.”