Pearl Jam – MTV Unplugged (1992)

The MTV Unplugged series have been around for more than two of decades now and it has given life to some of the most iconic unplugged performances. Nirvana’s Unplugged in New York is quite up there, as well as Alice in Chains‘. But there is one session that tops everything for me: Pearl Jam’s MTV Unplugged, recorded in March of 1992.

I remember watching it on TV and thinking for myself that even though I already loved Pearl Jam’s debut album Ten, this gig radiated even more energy than the album.

The extended setlist includes:

  1. Oceans
  2. State of Love and Trust
  3. Alive
  4. Black
  5. Jeremy
  6. Evenflow
  7. Porch
  8. Rockin’ in the Free World

What can I say? These are exactly my favorite tracks on their then-only album, and the inclusion of State of Love and Trust off the movie Singles made it the perfect unplugged gig.

Even though the original session starts with the ballad Oceans, I remember the TV show starting directly with State of Love and Trust, which made my jaw drop because of its intensity. You can actually see some people in the audience banging their heads, nodding and simply enjoying the energy of the band.

Then, the song Alive, an instant classic back then, brought a different kind of groove to the gig, followed by a perfectly performed Black. The falsetto backings are simply amazing on this one, and Eddie Vedder most probably never sang it better. Tough to follow that up, but Pearl Jam pushed the session to an even higher standard with the songs Jeremy and Even flow.

And then, to wrap it up, the band performed Porch, which came as an extended version with a rather long jam-intermezzo and an unspoken political statement. Yeah, in my humble opinion, this is one of the most legendary TV gigs ever.

If you haven’t watched this 30+ minutes MTV unplugged concert yet, look for it. I guarantee you will enjoy it. I must have seen it at least 100 times and I never got bored with it.

Please let me know if you agree or disagree or just share your opinion on this fantastic gig in the comments section or tweet me @sebisays.

Sebastiano Mereu

YouTuber + host of the #FHTZ online music show with co-producer @simonkurt + marketing & digital content producer + university lecturer