One of the most stunning moments in Cameron Crowe’s new Pearl Jam documentary comes near the end, when the band plays “Better Man” at Madison Square Garden and the audience euphorically screams along to every word. The soundtrack to the film – which contains that “Better Man” – is for those hardcore fans. There’s no “Jeremy,” “Daughter” or “Even Flow” here. But there is a gorgeous demo of “Nothing as It Seems” from 1999, a demo of the 1990 Temple of the Dog track “Say Hello 2 Heaven” and an early version of “Alive,” from Pearl Jam’s second show, in December 1990. The emotional high point may be “Crown of Thorns,” from a gig in 2000. The song was first cut by Mother Love Bone shortly before their frontman Andrew Wood died; the group recruited Vedder and changed its name to Pearl Jam. Wood always dreamed that his band would be hugely famous, and in Vedder’s hands his greatest song is reborn as the arena-rock anthem it was meant to be.
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