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Pearl Jam – still alive in Europe

AFTER SIX years of waiting, Pearl Jam fans will finally get to see the band return to Portugal this September. With the release of their new self-titled album Pearl Jam, the first since 2002’s Riot Act, the Seattle quintet have lined up two successive nights at Lisbon’s Pavilhão Atlântico as part of their first European tour since 2000.

As the sole surviving band of the grunge movement of the early 90s, Pearl Jam continue to sell out massive venues worldwide, and are considered one of the most popular and influential groups of their decade. The new album is their eighth studio release and sees a return to the early hard rock sound, which made them so successful in the 90s. The first song to be released off the album, Worldwide Suicide, has already achieved major success, and is being played heavily on Portuguese radio stations, due to the huge following they have in this country.

Comprising front man Eddie Vedder, guitarists Stone Gossard and Mike McCready, bassist Jeff Ament and drummer Matt Cameron, Pearl Jam burst onto the grunge music scene in 1991, around the time Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains were also taking the world by storm. The combination of angst ridden lyrics and simple yet powerful music struck a chord with many music fans, causing the demise of the classic rock style, made so popular by bands such as Iron Maiden and Guns N’ Roses in the late 80s. Pearl Jam’s debut album Ten has been hailed as one of the greatest rock records of all time, spawning the hits Even Flow, Jeremy and Alive. Since then, hits such as Do the Evolution and Betterman have cemented Pearl Jam’s success.

Constantly aware of the damaging effect that their increasing fame and media attention could have on themselves, the band made a conscious effort to avoid press situations, and, therefore, chose to do very few interviews and stopped making music videos to support the release of singles. This tactic immediately took the media pressure off the band, ensuring they could continue to have the enthusiasm to make music they are happy with.

In June of 2000, tragedy struck the end of Pearl Jam’s European tour, when nine fans were crushed to death during their set at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark. Although it was not the band’s fault, they were deeply distressed and even considered retiring. Since then, they have not returned to Europe to perform. For this reason, the upcoming tour is proving to be a highly anticipated event for all fans. They are well-known for there stunning live performances, which can last up to three hours, due to the improvised nature of their sets. Another bonus for fans is that they are releasing a live download of every single show they perform, within hours of finishing their set.  

• Pearl Jam play Lisbon’s Pavilhão Atlântico on September 4 and 5 at 8.30pm. Tickets are available from or by calling 218 918 409. For more information visit

by Ruth Sharpe