On August 31st, Pearl Jam will be releasing Live at the Orpheum Theatre on vinyl via Newbury Comics. This is the first standalone vinyl release of the album, which features a show in Boston that took place just days after Kurt Cobain’s death. The album was originally part of the Vs. reissue in 2011.
Newbury Comics wrote, “A Newbury Comics exclusive – our limited edition 180g black pressing is the only standalone vinyl release of this recording. 100 copies of a Fenway color variant (1 Blue LP, 1 Red LP) have been pressed and will be shipped randomly to a lucky few who order this release.
A special performance recorded at the tail end of the mythic Vs. tour, Live at the Orpheum Theatre showcases a dream setlist created especially by the Pearl Jam crew and has for years been one of the most sought-after recordings among serious aficionados.”
Apple Music described the album as, “Live at the Orpheum Theater, Boston, April 12, 1994 was originally issued as the bonus live album that accompanied the three-disc expanded edition of Vs. and Vitalogy. That show—recorded just a week after Kurt Cobain’s death—features covers of Dead Boys’ “Sonic Reducer” (with Mudhoney’s Mark Arm) and Neil Young’s “F***in’ Up,” as well as early versions of “Immortality” (with mostly different lyrics), “Not for You,” and “Tremor Christ,” which would appear on Vitalogy later in the year.
The setlist was assembled by the road crew and is considered by serious Pearl Jam fans as a special night on the band’s limited tour. (Pearl Jam were battling against playing arenas and using Ticketmaster.) This was the third and final show in Boston and by far the smallest. (The previous two shows were at the 15,000-seat Boston Garden, as opposed to the 2,700-seat Orpheum Theater.) The band are in explosive form throughout: young, hungry, and determined to make a difference.”
Troubled Souls Unite wrote about Eddie Vedder’s Kurt Cobain tribute at the show.
And the highlight of that show, was the band’s unbelievable performance of the new song – Immortality. They had debuted it the night before at the Boston Garden, and it was clearly a song written in memory of Kurt Cobain; Mr. Cobain had tragically taken his own life just a week earlier, and the entire music community was still reeling and mourning from the loss.
The lyrics to this early version of the song are vastly different than the ones on the album version, but have a haunting quality of mourning to them. Mourning the loss of a friend and a role model. Mourning the loss of someone who took his fame too seriously. Mourning the loss of someone who couldn’t handle it all. Mourning the loss of someone who “die[d] just to live;” who became immortal.
At the end of the song, Eddie ad libbed Neil Young’s My My, Hey Hey.
Hey hey, this is my last day
My my, know how hard I try
Hey hey, I would’ve loved to stay
My my, I wish I could get high
That song famously announces “It’s better to burn out, than to fade away,” a lyric Eddie had responded to a few nights earlier:
Hey,… I gotta admit, we got a lot on our minds. It is tough to play. I personally felt we shouldn’t play at all. It is really very odd, it’s just like that empty feeling. It is all right to fade away and not to burn out.