As if a live CD of every show on their current tour weren’t enough, Pearl Jam have begun selling a live DVD of a December club gig at the Showbox Theater in Seattle. “Live at the Showbox” is available only on the band’s official Web site and at their concerts and features the full set from a December 6 warm-up for the band’s current world tour.
Though it does not have any bonus features, the live disc differs from the group’s extras-laden “Touring Band 2000” DVD thanks to the intimate setting in the 1,000-plus capacity theater. The new DVD boasts 10 songs from the band’s most recent album, 2002’s Riot Act, as well as such PJ classics as “Corduroy,” “Daughter,” “Better Man,” “Do the Evolution,” “Yellow Ledbetter” and a cover of “Don’t Believe in Christmas,” by hometown Seattle garage rock legends the Sonics.
Because Pearl Jam record and film all of their shows, it’s possible that future gigs might also be made available on DVD, according to a band spokesperson.
The band’s current U.S. trek was scheduled to wrap on July 9 in New York, but more shows have been added, including a July 7 date in Philadelphia, July 11 in Mansfield, Massachusetts, July 12 in Hershey, Pennsylvania, July 14 in Philadelphia and the band’s first-ever shows in Mexico City, tentatively scheduled for July 17 and 18.
Though the band’s most recent bootleg series is being sold exclusively through their official Web site, McCready said four shows will be available in stores later this summer. Among them are a February 23 concert in Perth, Australia, and a March 3 gig in Tokyo, which will both be available on June 10. Two as-yet-unannounced North American shows will also be released to retail, one on July 15 the other on August 26.
To add to their flood of more than 50 live CDs of North American shows, the band is still hard at work on a long-awaited rarities compilation, tentatively slated for later this year. The two-CD set is expected to feature rarities, B-sides, benefit-album tracks, songs from the group’s annual fan club Christmas singles and a few that have never been released before, according to guitarist Mike McCready.
“We’re thinking of putting stuff like ‘Alone’ on there, which was recorded for our first record,” McCready said. “And there’s a song called ‘Brother,’ that was written around the same time as ‘Daughter,’ actually.” Other songs slated for inclusion are live favorite “Yellow Ledbetter” and the never-commercially released “Angel.” McCready said bandmembers are still culling through more than 100 songs in search of material.
With the group’s contract with Sony Records now up, McCready said PJ are not sure who will release their next studio album.
“We might just go and record the next one and see if anyone is interested,” McCready said. The band has already started kicking around some new song ideas at soundchecks and drummer Matt Cameron has been experimenting with tape loops during downtime in hotel rooms. McCready also said that the band is so excited about the onstage presence of keyboardist “Boom” Gaspar – who played on a number of Riot Act songs – that they are considering making him a permanent part of their live show.
When the band resumes its tour on May 28 in Missoula, Montana, one Riot Act song you won’t be hearing is the President Bush-baiting “Bushleaguer.” With a father who served in Vietnam, a grandfather who served in WW II and a cousin currently in the Gulf, McCready said he has been upset by the negative response from fans at some shows, which made him want to drop the song from the band’s set list. “It’s just not worth it,” he said.