On Thursday night, Pearl Jam played a secret gig at the Showbox in Seattle. According to various online reports, the performance was attended by 300 paid extras who signed up for a concert shoot by a mystery act. And while NDAs were signed and cellphones were banned, the secret reason for the show came out via blogs and Twitter: the famously anti-corporate rock band was licensing brand new song “The Fixer” to a Target commercial, directed by their old bud Cameron Crowe. Or at least that’s what some attendees claimed on blog posts … that have now been mysteriously deleted?
Three Imaginary Girls shared this account, later deleted but cached on Google:
How I accidentally saw Pearl Jam with 300 other people
Submitted by keenan dowers on May 29, 2009.
I just got home from the Showbox at the Market where I just saw Pearl Jam debut a new song being filmed by Cameron Crowe (yes, the Say Anything/Fast Times at Ridgemont High/Singles/Almost Famous/etc. Cameron Crowe). WTF?
I had received an e-mail about being an extra for a filmed “rock concert”, where we were warned that we’d be pretty happy about the band, and we’d be well compensated. I figured it had to be someone awful, like a recently reunited Christian rock band that I will not even waste my time mentioning. We were instructed to arrive at the Showbox at the Market in staggered check in times from 2-3pm (though lines were so long, it ran several hours after that). We filled out forms. Our pictures were taken. Rumors were flying, and the guy in line next to me told me he thought the bands initials were “P and J”. I figured it had to be a joke.
No joke. After 5 hours of waiting around and being fed and meeting new folks, we were finally told it was Pearl Jam (and that it was sponsored by a very large NOT LOCAL corporation – I’m almost positive I did NOT sign a nondisclosure form). Another hour of milling about and we’re finally let in to be hearded around a bit more, and then out they come, our local boys, for their first live performance in quite some time, to debut a brand new song in a video directed by Mr. Cameron Crowe.
At first I was sort of upset. Why had this not been a fan club event? Why were there all these people who really didn’t care that it was Pearl Jam, just some famous band that they’d heard of, when I knew dozens of hardcore Ten Clubbers who would have done anything to be at that event? Why was this experience being wasted on me, someone who hasn’t really been a diehard Pearl Jam fan in over a decade? Cell phones were banned, so I couldn’t call any of my friends to beg them to come down and try and get in. So I just stood there, and listened to the new song (a sing along blazing rocker about how we can beat the bad economy/hard times by fighting for what we love – it’s going to be their biggest hit in at least a decade) played about 10 times.
And then it hit me – over 300 random Washingtonians, many of whom were probably out of work, made a decent sum of money to watch the biggest still existing band from Seattle play a brand new song for the first time (the rest of you will have to wait until they’re on Conan on Monday).
They closed the evening with two songs – The Dead Boys “Sonic Reducer” (sounded amazing), and a slower jam that I didn’t quite recognize. All in all one of the more surreal experiences I’ve ever had. I wish I could have shared it with all of you.
Pearl Jam are rumored to be performing the tune on the Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien premiere tomorrow night. Stay tuned…
UPDATE: Pearl Jam’s manager has confirmed the Target shoot and says the band’s forthcoming LP Backspacer will come “without a U.S. label, but a consortium of partners, including Target as the ’big box’ retail partner. More at Billboard.