Wednesday, September 26, 2007

1992 Lollapalooza: Pearl Jam

Photograph of Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, taken during the band's 50 minute set at Lollapalooza '92, on Saturday, September 5, 1992 at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds in Rosenberg, Texas (just outside of Houston, Texas).

The first Lollapalooza skipped Houston for Dallas, but a year later, the mistake was rectified. In 1992, promoters estimated the Houston Lollapalooza crowd at 32,5000, while law enforcement guessed higher at 50,000 (only ten of whom were arrested).1 After the show, Marty Racine of the Houston Chronicle summed up Pearl Jam's set as follows:
Pearl Jam (4:05-4:55 p.m.) was this listener's favorite band of the day. Look for these guys to break out in 1993. Hailing from Seattle's celebrated alternative scene from the remnants of Green River and Mother Love Bone, this group went rocking without pretense -- a precious commodity on this day -- ending with a rollicking jam (joined by members of fellow Seattle band Soundgarden) of Neil Young's "Keep On Rockin' in the Free World."2
It's difficult to imagine Eddie Vedder without at least some pretense. And break out in 1993 the band did, although in my memory, the band had already achieved a great level of success by September of 1992, at least for a new band. After all, Ten, its debut album, had been released over a year before in August of 1991 (although Wikipedia's entry on the album notes that it "took over a year to become a success."). I never understood why Pearl Jam was so closely associated with Nirvana and Soundgarden during the great grunge explosion of the early 1990s. Sure, Pearl Jam, like the other two bands, hailed from Seattle, but the musical similarities really end there. (To boot, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden did both tour as part of Lollapalooza '92.). However, Pearl Jam had more of a traditional and rootsier rock sound than the punk-influenced grunge of Kurt Cobain or Chris Cornell. That said, Ten was a marvelous record, and I listened to it ever so often in those days. I believe that I purchased the record shortly after hearing "Alive," but the slower, more melancholy "Black" became my favorite song from the album. Despite the fact that I've heard the songs so many times since then that they should be drained of any meaningful level of nostalgia, I still hearken back to the early 1990s whenever I happen to hear one of the album's tracks. Any excuse to hearken back to then is welcome. And, yes, the photograph above was indeed taken by me, using my photo pass.

1. Mason, Julie. "Traffic, parking costs, arrests part of Lollapalooza concert," Houston Chronicle, September 7, 1992.
2. Racine, Marty. " Lollapalooza!/The music is a decidedly hip, high-strung hybrid of rap, funk and hard, linear beats, laced with a requisite dose of attitude. 'Lots' of 'tude/New generation finds its alternative," Houston Chronicle, September 7, 1992. (emphasis added).


Travis said...

I was in the front row during that set. Still to this day, 18 years later (jesus that's been a long time now) it is probably one of the highlights of my long-term memory.

Anonymous said...

Awesome I was front and center @ the seatle concert when I was 12
-I'd never have been able to go if we hadn't lived directly across the times!!

jman said...

ministry was the best show that day by far Eddie veder is a tool

jman said...

ministry was the f n band on that tour by far Eddie veder is a f n tool

Anonymous said...

I remember during Even Flow someone in the pit must've fallen because Ed made the band stop and had the audience help up the fallen fan. He said something like "I will be your lifeguard...3,4...Even Flow" and went into the chorus.

Unknown said...

I was at the 1992 show in Houston, Texas, and it was completely insane, I would to see them back here, anyone know why lollapooloza does not come here anymore?

Anonymous said...

I was in the front row for Pearl Jam that day, but they pulled me out at one point because we were getting crushed. I remember being livid that I was no longer in the front row.

And yes, Eddie did stop the the band to make sure a kid was not getting trampled. That kid was my little brother! My parents read about the incident in the paper, and said they were so glad we didn't get nearly trampled like THAT poor kid. I don't think we ever told them.