"Pearl Jam vs. the Elements, Round II" is about to begin.
Back on June 17, 1995, the band walked onto a rain-and-hail- beaten Wolf Mountain stage to tell the 12,000 shivering audience members they weren't going to play.On Sunday, just four days off the three-year mark, Pearl Jam is expected to play the same stage, now called the Canyons. And wouldn't you know it? There's snow in Parleys Canyon!
You can imagine what it did to the venue.
The music is scheduled to begin with the band Goodness at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are still available at Smith'sTix outlets or by calling 467-TIXX.
Originally the concert was to take place in the Delta Center, but low ticket sales forced the move.
Low sales are the result of a backlash Pearl Jam has faced since its war with Ticketmaster. In 1994 the band launched an all-out attack on the ticket distributor, suggesting it is an unfair monopoly that offers inflated prices.
From there, things went sour for Pearl Jam. Venues that used Ticketmaster refused to accommodate the band and forced it to seek other places to perform.
Then the big crash: Lead singer Eddie Vedder suffered from stomach flu during a concert at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, canceling the remainder of the tour dates.
But Pearl Jam defiantly returned to the road and finally made a stop at the Delta Center for two shows later that year. Although those concerts didn't sell out, the performances were worth the wait.
However, some disgruntled fans refused to attend. Some cited problems with refunds for canceled shows. Others said they just weren't interested in the band anymore.
Maybe it's a combination of both mindsets that led to a drop in ticket and album sales this year.
Back in 1992, the band's big-label debut "Ten" reached No. 2 on Billboard's album charts. The followup album, "Vs.," debuted at No. 1 a year later, selling 950,378 copies in a week.
By the time "Vitalogy" was released in 1994, Pearl Jam was the hottest band on the planet. That album peaked at No. 1 with 877,001 copies sold in a week. The band won a Grammy in 1996 for Best Hard Rock Performance for the single "Spin the Black Circle." That same year, Pearl Jam's fourth album, "No Code," de-buted at No. 1.
Then came a two-year, self-imposed period of seclusion that came on the heals of a failed grand jury investigation of the Ticketmaster fiasco. When Pearl Jam - Vedder, bassist Jeff Ament and guitarists Stone Gossard and Mike McCready (more on drummer Jack Irons in a few paragraphs) - emerged with its most recent album, "Yield," many fans turned their backs.
It's true the album debuted at No. 2, but after only 18 weeks on the charts it dropped quickly to No. 97. The new single "Wishlist" hasn't fared much better. It peaked at No. 47 on the Hot 100 singles charts and is now at No. 53.
To make matters worse, there have been problems in the band. And they surround drummer Irons. No, they aren't fights, personality conflicts or anything like what surrounded former drummers Dave Krusin and Dave Abbruzzese.
Instead, Irons, who has been diagnosed as bipolar manic depressive, had to drop out of the tour.
So, Salt Lake fans, at least those who show up, will get to see former Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron.
That is, if the concert goes on. Weather permitting, of course.
- VOCAL NOTE: Just for your information, Vedder sang the national anthem at two Utah Jazz/
Chicago Bulls NBA Finals games - June 7 and 12.