A Field in Which to Frolic**

Pearl Jam Twenty – What it Means to Me
November 4, 2011, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Things I Love | Tags:

PJ20 - Pearl Jam Twenty

Words and Music –

What Pearl  Jam Means to Me

As pretty much anyone who knows me is aware, I have been a Pearl Jam fan for more than half my life. Eighteen years, to be exact.  I remember the first time I listened to Ten, with my cousin Carey. We sat in her basement and replayed it, probably 15 times. I knew every song by the end of that night.

I remember my excitement upon receiving the post card inviting me to join the Ten Club. That thrill was nothing compared to the feeling of, a few years later, receiving my first  Ten Club offer for fan club tickets.I wrote so excitedly on the order form in my haste to place the order, that they came in the name of Condare, rather than Candace.  When it came time for those shows at Red Rocks, I got in line at 7am, guaranteeing front row seats.  To preserve the memory, I smuggled in a tape recorder.

Later, they enacted the seniority-ticketing system. Carey and I went from the torture of not knowing where our seats were, to the pure bliss of being told: “that means front row,” in an instant. That night was the 10th anniversary of their first performance; the night they played Crown of Thorns for the first time. It’s my voice cheering at 0:10, 4:07, and 6:30 of the video below.

Over a decade later, I took my baby sister to see them for the first time. I wanted so badly for her to fall in love with them the way I had. Although she didn’t understand my no drinking policy before the show, she assured me afterward that it made sense. To remember the show properly, a sober mind is required.

And of course, there was my first show: the Paramount theater in Denver, on March 6th, 1994.  My voice was horse for days afterward, and I was introduced to what I now know as post-PJ-concert depression. I swear, every time I see them, I miss them painfully as soon as they leave the stage.

I remember the Atlanta radio broadcast, and hearing Betterman for the first time. I bawled my eyes, sitting in my bedroom with my radio in my arms.

I have every TV appearance/performance, video, MTV news update, and Supreme Court appearance stored away on VHS. I still have audio tape and VHS bootlegs as well as rare vinyl, which I ordered from Prodigy forums. I have that Time magazine, saved along with every Rolling Stone, Spin, Circus, etc. magazine in which Pearl Jam were ever mentioned. I even have my tapes of the  Monkeywrench broadcast and Rockline appearances.

Pearl Jam Twenty / PJ20

I could continue describing my memories and souvenirs for days. The point is, this band and their history are a part of me.  There are days when their music is the only thing that makes me feel good.  Seeing them live, to this day, is the BEST thing I can possibly imagine.  There are no words for the bliss I feel when I close my eyes, raise my arms, and sing along with my fellow fans.  As for Alpine Valley, Labor Day 2011: I won’t even attempt to describe what those shows meant to me. Those of you who were there: you know.   For those of you who weren’t:  I am so sorry.

The film Pearl Jam Twenty is much more than a documentary about a band, for me.  Upon watching it for the first time, my own memories, pieces of my own life, appeared on the screen.  As if that wasn’t enough of a gift, the members of Pearl Jam, being people who have long protected their privacy, opened up in such I way that I could never have imagined.  I so badly want to personally thank them for that; as a die-hard fan, it means so much.  More than that, I wish I could tell them what their music means to me.

I find myself desperately searching for the words to make it possible, for people who aren’t fans, to understand why I am so devoted.  I want them to feel it too, because to me, it’s the best feeling in the world.  If only everyone had something they love as much as I love Pearl Jam; this world would be a much happier place.


October 14, 2011, 5:04 pm
Filed under: Musings, Things I Love

I recently started watching Lost again, from the very beginning.  It’s been quite a while since I watched the show in its entirety, and I’d forgotten just how much I love this damn show.  The character development is so amazing; I have legitimate caring and empathy for these characters.

I watched the season 1 finale last night.  The final moments of the episode show everyone boarding the plane.  Watching, sad, humble John Locke waiting for the plane to take off broke my heart. It also made me really happy for Island Locke, who finally gets to live the life he’s always envisioned for himself.

Terry O'Quinn - John Locke

Terry O’Quinn aka John Locke

Terry O’Quinn did such an amazing job with Locke.  He birthed a truly multifaceted character that you don’t completely understand until the final episodes of the series.  Watching the beginning again, knowing how it ends, is an interesting endeavor.  I don’t want the world to let Locke down, and knowing that is coming is a hard thing to take.

As as I watch the story unfold once again, I realize how great a metaphor for life Lost truly is.  Most Lost fans will respond to that with a collective, “duh!” However, I think the metaphor goes deeper than one might at first consider.  There are so many things that happen on that island… some huge and painful, some painfully insignificant, and mostly weird and unexpected; isn’t that how life goes?  And then there’s the end, where once it’s all said and done, none of that weird, unexpected, painful crap really matters.  As I believe in life, Lost speaks the same message: in the end, love is what really matters the most.

So even when thing are awful, confusing, and not at all what you’d have planned for yourself, try to remember the story Lost told.  None of it really matters, because it all takes you to the same place in the end.