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Saturday, February 11, 2017

VIDEO: The Day Neil Young Saved a Pearl Jam Concert - San Francisco, 06.24.1995

Pearl Jam and Neil Young at Polo Field on June 24, 1995

Well here's a blast from the past. (Thanks Dr. J !)


This video is a special memory here at Thrasher's Wheat. This concert was TW's first attempt at live blogging back in 1995. It actually resulted in real time posts on Rust, that were archived to this website. This concert was really the genesis of what we eventually evolved to become -- gonzo blogging with abandon and without regard for the consequences of blogging truth to power.

Although an incomplete recording, it is pretty cool to see this actual concert footage 20 years later. Historically, this concert has come to be known as "The Day Neil Young Saved a Pearl Jam Concert". After Eddie Vedder fell ill a few songs into the set, Neil Young stepped in to take the lead of Pearl Jam for the remaining setlist.

Here from the TW archives, are those legendary real time way back in those lonely early days of the internet: "Dispatches from the Field".

Pearl Jam and Neil Young at Polo Field June 24, 1995.

ADDICTED TO NOISE (ATN) special correspondent Michael Goldberg reports: 11:42 AM. Pearl Jam's Monkey Wrench radio (88.1 FM) is blasting out Seattle punk. "Live 105 say they are broadcasting live from the Pearl Jam show," says the DJ. "They are nothing but a bunch of motherfucking liers."

A skull and crossbones pirates flag is blowing in the wind above the white sound tent located on the Polo Field in San Francisco where the show will begin shortly.

It is an amazing site, watching fans streaming onto the Polo Field until every square inch is covered with people. The crowd is, naturally, young. Lots of guys with no shirts; lots of women in bikinis. Lots of tattoos, like the one of a dragon on the guy sitting about 6 yards away from me. Backwards baseball hats, shaved heads, a woman with a t-shirt that reads: "Birth School Metallica Death." A guy with "O. J.'s Guilty" written across his chest.

It is an amazingly goodnatured, friendly crowd. Strangers striking up conversations everywhere.

Scalpers were having a hell of a time selling their Pearl Jam tickets, which I was happy to see. Apparently several 1000 tickets had been held back for the purpose of selling on the day of the show, thus killing the demand for scalped tickets.

Pearl Jam/Neil Young
Golden Gate Park, Polo Fields
San Francisco, CA
June, 24th 1995


1. Last Exit
2. Spin the Black Circle**
3. Go*
4. Animal*
5. Tremor Christ*
6. Corduroy*
7. Not for You
8. Speech
9. Big Green Country**
10. Act Of Love
11. Throw Your Hatred Down*
12. Powderfinger*
13. Truth Be Known*
14. Rockin' In The Free World*
15. The Needle And The Damage Done
16. Hey Hey, My My
17. I'm The Ocean
18. Down By The River
19. Downtown
20. Cortez The Killer
21. Jeff Speech*
22. Peace And Love
23. Rockin' In The Free World

* Missing
** Incomplete

More on Pearl Jam and Neil Young at Polo Field on June 24, 1995 at "Dispatches from the Field". Also, see Pearl Jam and Neil Young.

Labels: , , ,


At 2/12/2017 07:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Thrasher, I've never seen that video before. I used to enjoy listening to the audio bootleg of this one. Perhaps someone could sync the video up with the seperate audio recording, to fill in the gaps with stills (kind of like they do over at DVDylan). Amazing how new things keep appearing decades later.

Worth noting that Neil concert videos haven't been treated with anywhere near the same respect as with Bob Dylan. Bob's numerous audience concert videos are all archived on the website DVDylan, where a group of dedicated fans have tracked down the best quality tape of each concert and transfered it to digital at the highest quality, also sound-upgrading it with seperate audio. The result is a very professionally done archive of over 50 years of touring. Neil would approve.

There's are dozens of videos of Neil's concerts, but they've rarely been given much respect; grainy 3rd-generation VHS copies reside in the hands of collectors, many of whom weren't interested in sharing much with the rest of us. Fortunately there are also some very friendly and generous collectors out there who have shared a lot over the years.

Perhaps some people here with the combined dedication, networking ability, contacts, time and technical experience would be excited to take on a similar challenge with Neil's videos, similar to what is done over at DVDylan. Find the master tapes (where possible) and upgrade them. Track down the rare videos. Before it is too late. It would be great for these concert videos to be properly preserved for future generations (and us) to enjoy.


At 2/12/2017 01:39:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Great point Scotzman.

The technology has become common place for anyone so inclined to create very professional audio and video. Just look at the thousands of youtube video's out there, and many have excellent quality both in visuals and audio. Neil has been a tad stingy with his own films to date, especially on Blu Ray.

The only reason we bought a Blu Ray player was for Archive Vol. One, and although we have purchased hundreds of movies and concert films on that format and enjoy the higher quality both visual and audio, we are still missing much from Neil. Berlin, Silver and Gold, Year of the Horse, Greendale, Red Rocks Friend & Relatives, Heart of Gold, and Deja Vu are only available on DVD. Not to mention the wonderful solo performance of Greendale in Ireland that came with the C.D. as well as the videos that accompanied Monsanto Years, and Storytone. Weld and Freedom are only available on VHS, and Trunk Show is still unreleased. Unplugged I believe was only released on Laser disc, so that's a pretty long list. I'm sure I've missed several as those are the ones that come to mind.

I am technologically challenged, but I know there are many Neil fans out there that could do the job nicely. I for one would be very pleased to have a chance to experience much of what is out there before I die.


At 2/12/2017 04:15:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Scotsman - Good point there about Bob Dylan's video archive.

It would definitely be nice if something similar could be authorized. Especially while there are some folks with time & energy to commit. In a generation, the VHS tapes and interest will be gone and the legacy will be lost.

We think maybe Neil once envisioned being able to stay a step ahead of bootleggers with live albums and the Archives. But what he apparently didn't factor in is that crowd sourcing moves at lightening speed relative to the industry.

This doesn't seem lost on the Bob folks at all and certainly seems to demonstrate a much savvier grasp of today's music reality. But Neil always plays the long game and will probably still come out ahead. Likely long after many of us pass along.

Absolutely, agree, that it would be great for these concert videos to be preserved like a monument.

@ Dan - good points on the official videos which also are running technologically behind the curve. oh well. Maybe Neil's keep those VHS repair shops in business?!

At 2/13/2017 08:03:00 AM, Blogger Dan1 said...

Scots, great idea! Its kind of like taking the archives into our own hands :) ... after decades (pun somewhat intended) of waiting and waiting its time for action! In the grateful dead world the efforts of fans to put out great shows is astounding ... it blows away the output of the band's team in quality and speed ...

At 2/13/2017 02:10:00 PM, Blogger wsanjose01 said...

to the Pearl Jam fan it could be argued NY didn't save shit that day. Young was not what they came to see/hear. I remember this show and how irate PJ fans were. I believe Pearl Jam eventually made the show up @ San Jose State's Spartan Stadium if memory serves. Vedder claimed he was so weak he couldn't hold his head up.

At 2/13/2017 03:59:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

on a semi-related note it's a damn shame that Dave Abbruzzese & Jack Irons are not being inducted with Pearl Jam into the RRHF in April.....another ridiculous seemingly arbitrary decision by Wenner & Co.....both drummers were key in PJ's smash success in the 90's.....

At 2/13/2017 04:57:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

Found this boot CD not too longer after the show, was very psyched at the time as I was just entering the bootleg World of Neil. I think the boot actually only has the Neil content, don't remember Eddie on it at all. Hey, that's what friends and monster rock legends are for - propping up the underdogs until they grow. I personally am not real big on PJ, there's a few cuts I like. I don't think they are HOF material either, but who cares. I'm an old stuffed shirt anyways. Still though, just goes to show how fast time goes. I just turned 22, I was wondering what to do.

At 2/14/2017 05:19:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of Pearl Jam on their own, but as a backing band for Neil, I thought they did quite well. Especially on Mirrorball and some of the European concert dates. Of course, this unplanned SF show is rough around the edges, but also good fun to experience.

There's some comparison with POTR, another youthful three-guitar band; Young stepping into someone else's group. I actually think the three-guitar arrangement worked okay with Pearl Jam, better than with POTR. Of course, POTR can do the acoustic songs as well, where they really make their mark; the acoustic set I saw in London last year eclipsed the electric set, something that is rarely true at a Young concert.

Notice how dominant and up-front Neil's electric guitar is on Mirrorball, how everything the band does is there to provide a driving foundation for it, rather than needlessly embellish it. Listen to how his lead guitar slices through you on Song X or Big Green Country. To use Neil's phrase, "it sounds like God". One instrument.

With Pearl Jam, despite the extra guitar, Neil's lead guitar was still king. It didn't sound crowded or hemmed-in. With POTR, in Neil's words, his guitar is "somewhere in-between (the other guitars)". Neil meant that in a positive way, but for me, it's not the most inspiring of descriptions. Somewhere in-between.

Three electric guitars is always going to be a major challenge, often one not worth bothering with. Credit to POTR for making it work okay (especially in 2016) and to Pearl Jam, but it's still kind of like trying to force a square peg into a round hole. What's the point?

Neil makes it work on the electric songs on Earth by completely extracting either Lucas' or Micah's guitar from the mix for lengthy periods of time. He just completely switches one of them off, cutting to the crickets or church bells or car horns (or nothing), adding some much needed air to the sound.

Something similar was true of Pearl Jam; Eddie Vedder didn't even join the European tour. He would have been a spare part.

A painter can mix together a couple of colours and get an exciting new shade; too many colours, and all you get is a murk.

As Lou Reed said: "you can't beat two guitars, bass and drums".


At 2/14/2017 09:58:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Dan1 - An appropriate pun on Decades, indeed.

@ wsanjose01 - we hear you on that POV. Our vague recollections are that you're right there were some pissed off PJ fans, maybe lots & lots. OTOH, suppose NY hadn't stepped up? Everyone would have just trudged home really, really pissed.

With a makeup show later announced, it's kind of like everyone got a free concert of NY & PJ. Not a bad deal, we thinks.

@ Jonathan - sacrilege.

@ SONY - propping up the underdogs. Don't we all???

@ Scotsman - some really nice observations here on guitars & air. Love it.

And the Lou quote is spot on -- of course. Thanks for keeping the memories alive and the flame burning bright.

At 4/28/2017 03:07:00 PM, Blogger mike.leitner said...

Having actually attended this show it seems like an absolute genesis. Cut the snob crap though. If Neil, Mike and Stone hadn't actually taken that 45 mins or so and agreed to collaborate, there would have been a riot.I suppose some other producer types were shitting their pants backstage too.

At 7/12/2020 04:35:00 PM, Blogger mike.leitner said...

Vid still avail?


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