Pearl Jam official bootleg #67 (2001) 10/30/00 Sacramento California

Did you know that Pearl Jam set a record for most albums to debut in the Billboard 200 at the same time with the release of their 2000-2001 official bootlegs series?[1] As Wikipedia explains, “Pearl Jam’s official bootleg program was begun for the band’s 2000 Binaural Tour. 72 of the “bootlegs” were released to stores in three waves in late 2000 and early 2001, with the 25 European bootlegs coming first. Every show was released in a cardboard sleeve containing two CDs, with the exception of the 72nd and final show on the tour, November 6, 2000 at KeyArena in Seattle, Washington.[2]”

I remember finding my way to a large music store in 2001 and brushing through all the CDs of this series that the store was carrying. Pearl Jam had been one of my favourite bands since their debut album, Ten, and I wanted to find the perfect live CD from this series. It was crucial to me that my favourite songs would be included, which at the time comprised, Animal, State of Love and Trust, Given To Fly, Even Flow, Daughter, Betterman, Jeremy, Alive and a few more. I must have spent hours in there grabbing one cardboard after the other, comparing setlist, and finally listening to the performances. Obviously, there was no official bootleg that could provide the perfect setlist for me. There was always at least one of my favourite songs missing. Until finally I decided to get number 67, 10/30/00, Sacramento Valley Amphitheater, Marysville, California.

The performance is, of course, phenomenal, even though the songs seem to be a tad fast. It is no secret that often music is played a bit faster live. That makes this performance even more authentic. I had actually seen Pearl Jam live in Switzerland a couple of years prior to this recording and I remember being awestruck by the bands authenticity and pure sense for performing without having to put on a flashy show. They simple and charismatic presence created magic, and listening to this live recording reminds of that to this day. The mix and sound atmosphere are plain and on the point, which underlines the musical greatness of the band’s individual musicians and as an ensemble.

If you can find any of the 2000-2001 official bootlegs, I can recommend giving it a spin. They have the power to transport you directly into the audience of that day. Simply magical.

Sebastiano Mereu

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