It wouldn't have taken a lifelong Ten Club member to recognize that Pearl Jam's Sept. 30 Missoula concert would be special. It marked the band's only non-festival stateside appearance of the year, and Mudhoney was set to open. It sold out in less than 15 minutes. Seats on the secondary market sold for four figures. Then there was the backdrop of the nation's most contentious U.S. Senate race, and the fact that this show acted as a fundraiser for incumbent Jon Tester. Forget local buzznational media covered the thing as a major happening.
It was a no-brainer, then, for Pearl Jam to present the show as the first of its "Instant Classic" bootleg series. A discounted download of all 31 tracks went on sale on Election Day with proceeds benefiting Missoula's own Poverello Center, and remains on sale now for just $9.99.
The bootleg, like reports of the show itself, lives up to the hype. Audience-only vocals on hits like "Better Man" and "Elderly Woman..."? Check. Long Eddie Vedder stories, including one about almost autographing a penis? Yep. A cover of MC5's "Kick Out the Jams" with members of Mudhoney? You bet. In fact, that track may be the highlight of a highlight-filled night. As Vedder says before the song starts, "This is going to make a pretty good bootleg."