The most hardcore Pearl Jam fan will wax poetic about a good dozen of the shows on the band's 2003 tour.
The most hardcore Pearl Jam fan will wax poetic about a good dozen of the shows on the band's 2003 tour. But you did not have to be an Eddie Vedder devotee or know every obscure album cut played July 8 at Madison Square Garden to feel the undeniable magic abounding in the room that night. Even before the end of the nearly three-hour show—the band's first in New York after Sept. 11, 2001—there was a sense that each band member, and definitely every ticketholder, was conscious of the fact that they were participating in nothing short of an absolutely transcendent musical experience. The love showered upon the band that night was astonishing: It seemed as though every audience member sang every word to every song, and when Vedder relents and surrenders the first chorus of "Better Man" to them, it is tough not to well up. The same happens when he trades vocals with the crowd on a medley of "Wishlist" and the Buzzcocks' "Why Can't I Touch It?" After the audience empties its lungs, he remarks, "That was beautiful." It was. Simply put, Pearl Jam proved that night that it is the greatest working American rock band. And it is all here on this DVD for the world to see.—WO