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Pearl Jam Heads Back to the Road

Eddie Vedder and his Seattle-based rock group Pearl Jam are letting fans know they’re still alive.

The band plans to launch a 48-city North American tour in April at the Pepsi Center in Denver in support of its latest album, “Riot Act,” after a swing through Australia and Asia in February and March, the group announced on Thursday.

The North American outing will be broken into two legs, the first wrapping May 3 in State College, Pennsylvania, and the second starting May 28 in Missoula, Montana, and winding up July 9 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

According to Billboard magazine’s online site (www.billboard.com), the band will be offering authorized soundboard-sourced “bootlegs” of each show on the upcoming tour, as it did for its 2000 world tour in support of “Binaural.”

Guitarist Stone Gossard told Billboard.com the upcoming tour would focus on material from “Riot Act,” the group’s seventh studio release from Sony Music’s Epic Records, and the band is expected to revive a handful of rarities from its back catalog.

“Riot Act,” which has sold nearly 393,000 copies in 10 weeks of release, debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200 but has steadily slipped down the charts since then.

Prior to its opening U.S. show in Denver, Pearl Jam will play 10 dates in Australia, starting Feb. 8 in Brisbane, followed by five concerts in Asia. The band expects to announce opening acts next week, and add a handful of other U.S. dates over the next month.

Pearl Jam burst to the forefront of the Seattle “grunge” rock movement to become one of the most popular American rock bands of the 1990s, with a riff-heavy guitar sound and Vedder’s anguished lyrics on such hits as “Jeremy,” “Evenflow” and “Alive.”

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