Pearl Jam Perform a Ferocious 'Alive' on the BBC in 1992: Watch - Rolling Stone
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Flashback: Pearl Jam Perform a Ferocious ‘Alive’ on the BBC in 1992

The band’s first television broadcast took place just one day into their inaugural European tour

Pearl Jam rolled out dates for an extensive 2020 European summer tour earlier this week, which kicks off June 23rd in Frankfurt, Germany, and wraps up July 22nd in Amsterdam. The gigs are a mixture of arena appearances and festivals that includes Lollapalooza Stockholm, Rock Werchter Festival, and a massive outdoor show in London’s Hyde Park.

The group first went to Europe in February 1992. A mere 300 people caught their first gig at the Esplanade Club in Southend, England, on February 3rd, 1992. The European edition of Ten wasn’t even in stores at this point, but it was available as an import and fans in the crowd already knew the songs. “Hey, we’re gonna do a TV show tomorrow and it might even be live,” Vedder told the audience near the end. “Is there anyone we should tell to fuck off? We might as well just do it right here.”

He was referring to their appearance on the BBC2’s Late Show booked for the following day. This was their first time playing on TV anywhere and the first chance most people had in Europe to check out the new band that was beginning to build a lot of buzz in America. Here’s their performance of “Alive” from that historic broadcast.

It was the start of a powerful relationship the Seattle band developed with audiences all across Europe. When they last hit the road in 2018, they did 15 shows on the continent and a mere seven in America at just four stadiums. They took 2019 off (the first year of their career where they did zero shows) and now have 13 gigs booked in Europe and not a hint of anything in their home country. Hopefully it’s just the start of a long tour that will eventually bring them back home. Shows at Fenway Park and Wrigley Field are fun, but fans are craving an arena run where they can get closer to the band. It’s time.

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