Two Sundays ago, Meaghan, Jenn, Ange and I went to see Pearl Jam at the ACC. I was the only one in the group that hadn't yet seen Pearl Jam live (although I have seen Vitalogy on two occasions, which is like seeing a baseball team's really good AAA team stand in for the real thing) so I didn't really know what to expect. Needless to say, they didn't disappoint - even if we were in the specially designated pot-smoking section - and the cameo at the end of the show by Neil Young was a very nice touch.
We - less Ange - also went to see Cameron Crowe's Pearl Jam Twenty, which got me to thinking, "Christ I'm old."
Pearl Jam's Ten album came out when I was 8, and I'm pretty sure I was listening to it by the time I was 9, right around the time I moved to Orangeville and got introduced to music that wasn't on Q107 or CHUM-FM. Now, I already had a pretty good knowledge and appreciation for classic rock and 80s soft rock1 from being driven to and from my nan's house for school every morning. I actually owe my enjoyment of Phil Collins and rock from the 60s and 70s2 to those drives.
But, Pearl Jam is the first group and style of music that I can definitively remember considering "mine". I think back about listening to the tape of Ten on the way to school, and listening to it at lunches when we probably should have been outside running around like idiots, but we instead stayed in, playing Magic, or working on some of the various Dorky endeavours we found ourselves embarking on. The video for "Jeremy" is still one that I remember almost shot-for-shot, and was one of the first songs to which I knew all the words.
And after thinking about all that, here I was thinking, "Why did my parents let me listen to that?" I mean, I'm glad they did, and really, I should have no reason to doubt that they would let me make my own musical choices. Plus, considering the influence they had on my tastes, it would probably be a safe bet that there would be no need to worry that I'd get wrapped up in the hippity-hop or other vile musical genres. But...I...was...8. Jiminy Cricket.
Still though, I think I've turned out quite alright. And I think I've got Spencer, Shawn, Nad, my parents, Meaghan, Curtis, and Jenn to thank for starting, renewing, and continuing my love of Pearl Jam and my own taste in music. I don't really hold music in as high regard as others, and I find myself listening to talk radio almost as often as music, but I like what I like, and I'm glad I like it.
1 - Although "appreciation for" might not be the right term in this case, although I still love "Broken Wings" by Mr. Mister
2 - Specifically rock from the 70s, the rest of the decade was either never played on the radio (punk) or deserves to be lost forever (disco)