The Great Outdoors – Mural Amphitheatre August 23, 1991

by John Reynolds on August 23, 2011

At the time of this writing, Pearl Jam are about 10 days from playing Alpine Valley Music Theatre, an outdoor amphitheater – or “shed” as it’s referred to in the industry. But on this day 20 years ago, Pearl Jam played their first outdoor show at Mural Amphitheatre, a show with great youthful energy showing a band ready to explode.

Coincidentally today, fan Toni Ane took the time to scan an old postcard she got from Pearl Jam’s PR back in 1991.

1991 Postcard

Pearl Jam 1991 Tour Promotional Postcard

What’s the connection? The image taken for this postcard is from the August 23, 1991 show! Take a look at the 04:43 mark of “Breath”, the last song in the set:

The Mural Amphitheatre is described as “an outdoor gathering space built on a natural hillside. The world famous Space Needle serves as the backdrop for the Puget Sound Region’s only mid-size amphitheatre located in the heart of Seattle Center just minutes from downtown Seattle.” And judging from the picture, it’s so named because it’s backdrop is, well, a mural.

Mural Amphitheatre

Mural Amphitheatre

This setting, away from the dark nightclubs of Seattle, shows Pearl Jam in broad daylight in a hopeful mood – mainly because it’s their first gig with Dave Abbruzzese! After arriving in Seattle on August 3 while the band played their last show with Matt Chamberlain at RCKNDY during the “Alive” video shoot, we imagine the band hunkered down and practiced their repertoire in preparation for this show and the upcoming touring schedule.

This bootleg has long been a fan favorite, and the setting for the show has even been immortalized recently in Caryn Rose’s recent novel B-Sides and Broken Hearts, where the characters of a fictional Seattle band in 1991 find themselves pondering their own future while hanging by the soundboard at this very show.

In addition to “Breath”, check out the other performances from this classic set:

Special thanks: Toni Ane, for picking today to scan this postcard, and to Andrew Brenner for gathering the best YouTube links.

John Reynolds ( Twitter: @jjjrrr )
A New Jersey based programmer, John handles TFT’s programming and technical aspects. He also conceives and writes his share of TFT’s articles and sections. John’s first Pearl Jam show was at Lollapalooza on August 12, 1992.

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