Last night, I had the immense pleasure of watching PJ 20 – the retrospective documentary directed by (my golden god), Cameron Crowe. I was hooked from the first 10 seconds (completely biased because I love them so much) but also because I knew this was going to be a look, not just into Pearl Jam’s history, but into the entire Seattle music scene of the late 80’s, early 90’s. I knew it was going to be good from the first mention of “Green River”. And of course, practically half an hour was devoted to Mother Love Bone – the band that kicked it all off for me. The footage of Andrew Wood was amazing to watch – he had such stage presence and I can’t even imagine the band they would have become had he not died.
The best scene of the entire movie was when the MLB and Pearl Jam world collided with footage of them covering Crown of Thorns. It brought goosebumps. “And this is my kinda love, is the kind that moves on, is the kind that leaves me alone”. Gorgeous. Second best scene was all the Vedder climbing footage put together.
Mad props to Cameron Crowe for narrating it beautifully and following a fantastic sequence that let the story unfold beautifully, as though we were all hearing it for the first time. Chris Cornell’s perspective added another great voice to the mix (and also some major eye candy) and greater depth to the Temple of Doom album. I found the Alice in Chains voice missing though, they were another one of my favorite bands at the time and I’m surprised Jerry Cantrell didn’t feature, considering he even cameo-ed in Crowe’s “Jerry Maguire”. Also, thanks to Crowe for not focussing too much on “Jeremy” – which is my least favorite song from the band. One of my favorites would have to be “Black”.
They also finally addressed the issue of their Spinal Tap drummer situation! While I love Matt Cameron (the man is tank for timing and solid beats), I was always more a fan of the Dave Abbruzzese era – I found his drumming very fluid and enjoyed it more.
It was a very real, honest and raw documentary of one of the most hardworking bands that survived a fad (I always hated that word “grunge” and it was great to see that they all hated it too!), survived pop music and most importantly, survived themselves. I felt like a complete teenager in the cinema, and I think everyone else did, because we clapped like it was Sundance or something at the end of the screening.
So, here’s a picture of I got from the Ten Club (has it been 20 years already?) together with part of my cd collection. Now, where’s my Citizen Dick tshirt?