Best Of 2008

BEST BIG ROCK SHOW (INDOORS): Pearl Jam, June 12, St. Pete Times Forum

We’ve seen Pearl Jam when they were absolutely transcendent, as in their Bay area debut at Jannus Landing in the early-1990s. And we’ve seen Pearl Jam a little detached. This year we saw Pearl Jam rejuvenated. The band played on a no-frills stage for two intense, cathartic hours. Eddie Vedder, who can be a brooder, really looked like he was having fun — drinking periodically from a bottle of wine, he was a little silly, a lot loquacious — but more than that, the best rock vocalist of his generation sang with extraordinary power, uncanny range and absolute conviction. The four instrumentalists (along with Vedder, who played some guitar), having been together so long, intuitively find that balance between tight and loose. The venue was big, but the connection was total. The show is available in various recorded formats through pearljam.com. We have a copy; it’s a terrific memento.