Pearl Jam Vault #1: Brett Eliason Takes Us Behind the Scenes at The Moore, 1992

by John Reynolds on October 11, 2011

Rolling Stone Cover from Jan 17 1992

Eddie Vedder on the cover of Rolling Stone, 1999, from from Jan 17 1992 concert featured on Vault #1

Pearl Jam fans don’t have much to complain about when it comes to Pearl Jam bootlegs. Unless you’ve been under a rock, you know that hundreds of soundboard recordings have been released since 2000. In pre-internet days you traded or bought bootlegs, though commonly not the best quality or price. Post-internet, there are tons of sites that stream old shows.

But we do complain wish that one day yesterday Pearl Jam would release all some of their past concerts from “The Vault”. The Vault is the stuff of legend. Magazine articles have hinted at it, constant caller questioning on Siriux/XM Pearl Jam Radio has yielded lots of “we hope so one day” responses.

Fans don’t know a lot about The Vault; but if anyone does, it’s Brett Eliason – Pearl Jam’s uber-Engineer who ran Front-of-House in the early days, then recorded/mixed the Bootleg releases as well as recent Pearl Jam and side-project releases.

We care about The Vault now since we were pleasantly surprised at Pearl Jam Destination Weekend with, amongst other goodies, a single-CD in a cardboard sleeve labeled “VAULT #1” and containing the January 17, 1992 concert at the Moore Theatre. There has been no further information on its availability for purchase, either by Ten Club members or for general release.

Wanting to know as much as we could about this release, Brett took some time around his busy Fall recording schedule to answer some questions about this show, the technical hurdles it took to release it, and some insight into the mythical magical vault.

Brett Eliason Talks Vault #1 with Two Feet Thick

Two Feet Thick: The January 17, 1992 show at the Moore Theater is “famous” because of the popularity of the “Even Flow” video. As far as the origins of this being the first “Vault” release, did you suggest that show or did the band suggest it?

Brett: Actually, I dug that one up – though I had band approval as always. I had remembered bringing a multitrack tape machine and console into the basement of the Moore Theater to record the performance for the video shoot. We have precious few multi-tracks from those first couple of years as the modular systems did not exist as of yet. A buddy of mine actually watched over the recording during the show as I was doing Front-of-house. I wanted the first of that series to be a special show that had some real “historical” value to it.

Two Feet Thick: Did you have to dig out old machines to play the tapes or was it in a decent format to work with.

Brett: The performance was recorded to a now obsolete digital format, Sony PCM 3324 dash. The tapes had to be sent to a specialty transfer house to be transferred to a current working format.

Two Feet Thick: “Baba O’Riley” is cut (see below for full setlist). Having heard the audience recording, I know the performance isn’t “optimal”. Was it an editorial or technical reason that it was left off?

Brett: “Baba” was left off mostly due to the failure of Ed’s mic line. We lost part of the vocals during that song in both the house and monitors during the show. Once a new line was squared away the recording did not have it. Constant challenges of a live performance. The fact that all of that technology usually works at all is amazing.

Two Feet Thick: Fans probably have wild visions of what “the vault” looks like – a big steel door, people in white gloves, and security. Is it that glamorous? Do you have a special key or hand-print identification? A special password like “open sesame“?

Brett: The Vault isn’t quite that glamorous. It is not a clean room like you get with CD pressing plants or the like. However, it is a self-contained facility with very special environmental handling equipment that keeps it within specific temperature and humidity parameters. It is a secure facility. The system monitors entrances and exits, as well as the aforementioned environmental specs. Only a couple of people have security access as you really don’t want the door opening and closing much, besides the obvious value of the content. I am not one of the people that has access! Though there was a time when I had the band’s tape library in the office of my old home…

Packaged Good

The packaging for the CD is simple and direct. Images below are courtesy of the excellent

The front side of the cardboard sleeve shows the January 17 1992 Moore Theatre marquee.

Vault 01 - Front Cover

Vault 01 - Front Cover

The back side of the cardboard sleeve shows the famous Lance Mercer photograph of the band in mid-Jam. Stone grooving, Ed digging deep, Jeff getting some big air, Mike raging (and you’ll have to imagine Dave drumming). This photo has also been featured in numerous magazines (it was once a pull-out poster of a Guitar Magazine)

Vault #1 - Back

Vault #1 - Back

The CD is another simple graphic, its origins unclear.

Vault #1 - CD

Vault #1 - CD

The track list for this show is quintessential 1992 in all its glory – most of Ten, the two tracks from Singles plus an unreleased track (“Leash”) and a cover (“Baba”).  Each track sounds like you hope it would – sound bigger than life, Marshall amps blaring, Ed’s voice soaring, and great crowd energy. Although the technical difficulty mentioned above that kept “Baba O’Riley” off the CD now seems like a monumental fail, you have to consider that Baba then was very rough and not quite the explosive show-capper that it’s become in recent years.  Ending the CD with “Breath”‘s long jam does nothing to take away from the quality of the whole show.

January 17, 1992: Moore Theater, Seattle, WA

  1. Release
  2. Even Flow
  3. Once
  4. State of Love and Trust
  5. Alive
  6. Black
  7. Why Go
  8. Deep
  9. Jeremy
  10. Porch
  11. Leash
  12. Breath
  13. Baba O’Riley (omitted)
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.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Eric W October 11, 2011 at 7:09 pm

i wonder why the Orpheum show (from the vs/vitalogy boxset) isn’t considered the first Vault release. It does have the same artwork style.

punkdavid October 11, 2011 at 7:49 pm

I would consider the NYE 92 show that came with the 10c Avocado release to be more of a “vault” show than the Orpheum. Maybe they go all Neil Young and call it vault show #0.

John Reynolds October 11, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Agree with you guys. I was going to include it in the article, but the real “vault” releases so far have been 12/31/92 (packaged with Avocado), 9/20/92 (Packaged with TEN super deluxe) and 4/12/94 (Packaged with Vs/Vitalogy super deluxe).

Actually since I’ve typed it out … maybe it’s #1 because it’s the earliest date of them all.

Yuri October 11, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Cool to read! The live picture used was taken on the stage of the Dutch “Melkweg” club in 1992.
I hope the Vault #1 gets released through Ten Club for everyone. Releases like this is the main reason I am a member of the TC! Thanks for the article!

Ryan October 12, 2011 at 12:04 am

what about the alladin theatre download from 93? isnt that vault too?

sico_pata October 12, 2011 at 5:34 am

Brett Eliason made Vault #1?
My God, where do this man put his hears?
The version I have heard is full of clipping, unaudible for me!!
Highest Dinamic Range I ever seen in a PJ bootleg!

I bet that the real source sound much better that this one

Sure, am I the only one that take care of this?

sico_pata October 12, 2011 at 5:40 am

This is FLAC version of Breath in Vault #1 in detail

As an example


sico_pata October 12, 2011 at 5:41 am

Sorry I don’t know how to show the jpg in page, someone can help?

eric booth October 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm has it…dont know what the quality is,though.theyve got most shows, starting with audio and video of 10/22/90 up to lolla 07…as well as entire tours…ive gotten so many shows there. a lot are soundboard/radio broadcasts & the 00-07 shows are official…all bridge schools are there can downloadthem and then open with windows explorer or winzip…the main site has demos, rough mixes, stuff i didnt know existed…pj approves, so” its ok” to go there….greatest place for downloads all virus free !!!!! they’ve also got t-shirts 2 buy!

JR October 12, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Hi Yuri, actually that photo is Lance Mercer from 1/17/92 Moore Theater. Do you have other information that says it is from Melkweg?

JR October 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Hi Sico, for a 19-year-old recording, I think you have to “give it a pass”. If you read about the technology of the recording process above, we should be fortunate to have this recording at all. “Unaudible” is a little strong, in my opinion.

Andrew October 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Hey Ryan – 11/30/93, 1/14/95, and 8/29/05 were all “test” releases and not “official” releases. You could probably lump the 5/10/00 SBD that PJ Radio aired in there as well.

sico_pata October 12, 2011 at 3:38 pm

To JR, please review the jpg I have posted (copy/paste the links)

I’m sure this is due to a over-compression post-production, maybe one or two point below and you avoid clipping

For is almost unaudible listening like a “pug” “pug” everytime there’s a clip (and in Breath there is a lot). I think that this is no a problem for the technology of the recording process, it’s a post processing issue

Please if you can review the jpg, I’m interesenting about your professional opinion


JR October 12, 2011 at 4:39 pm

I did see the JPEGs Sico, and I appreciate my opinions being considered “professional” :)

To be honest, I enjoy listening to the bootlegs and I don’t let any sound issues bother me anymore. I used to be super-critical in the old trading days about bad fades, or dropouts, skips, compression, or saturation. Now, maybe because I’m older, I just rock out and deal with any imperfections.

In a sappy kinda way, I’m happier that we have this recording at all and that trumps any issues with the soundquality.

JMH(P)O of course

Jack October 12, 2011 at 7:18 pm

I love how every cover song on the vault series always has a “technical glitch”!!!
Are you kidding me? Does anyone actually believe this nonsense??
No, They’re too fucking cheap to pay the royalties!!
All the money they’ve been gouging out of the die hards over the last several years that can’t pay it?
Im sure just about every die hard will pay $175 instead of $150 to get a complete and unedited super deluxe box set.
It was super awesome to get MTV unplugged incomplete, edited & out of order!!!

Jack October 12, 2011 at 7:26 pm

And what about most of Ed’s rants from 1/17/92??
Were their glitches just during the rants?? When he’s yelling at Josh to turn the lights off??
This makes NO sense!! They left his rant in the MTV music video but delete it for the vault release??
This band is SOO gay now!! Unreal!!

Lefthandshake October 14, 2011 at 2:03 am

Jack, we have your self-entitled, homophobic rambling at a 9…we’re gonna need you at a 2.

spived October 18, 2011 at 4:18 pm

I consider “1993 11 30 Las Vegas NV”, the first Vault show. I downloaded an official application from Pearl Jam site to later download shows. The first song they had available was Rats from 1994 04 12 Boston MA, I downloaded it on MP3 by free. Later they sell/gift Las Vegas show on MP3. The application had two sections, Vault shows and 2005 shows. Later:

1. 2005 08 29 Missoula MT warm-up show was an “Official release to select people” (MP3)
2. 2005 shows were sold via the application (MP3)
3. Live In NYC 12-31-92 was a CD gift with “avocado” pre-order.
4. 1995 01 14 Washington DC was a gift via an upgraded version of the application (FLAC)
5. 2006 shows were sold via the application (FLAC)

I think the “Vault” Shows are:
1992 01 17 Moore Theater Seattle WA – PJ20 (CD, the recent one with Vault #1 as label)
1992 03 16 Queens NY (MTV Unplugged) – Ten Reissue (DVD)
1992 09 20 Seattle WA (Drop In The Park) – Ten Reissue (MP3 and LP)
1992 12 31 New York City NY (Live In NYC 12-31-92) – “Avocado” (CD)
1993 11 30 Las Vegas NV – 2005 shows era (MP3, the first Vault release)
1994 04 12 Boston MA (Live At The Orpheum Theatre) – vs Vitalogy Reissue (CD and LP)
1995 01 14 Washington DC – 2006 shows era (FLAC)

All shows from the 90′s

gatherspeed October 19, 2011 at 8:50 pm

I just broke out my old, terrible, audience recording of this show. There are, in fact, no vocals for the last 2/3 of Baba.

Niko October 20, 2011 at 5:05 am

So they say this show was filmed. Really wish they would have released a DVD too.

Jack October 20, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Who cares if there are no vocals? That’s what happened at the show! There was still music.
I wanna hear the whole show. They cut out half his rants too but some are in the MTV music video.
Every other vault release has the covers omitted and a lot of Ed’s rants gone.
I’d rather listen to a full crowd recording than bits and pieces of a superior recording.

daniel June 1, 2012 at 9:55 am

Eddie Vedder (Ingles)dijo:
“You’re too good to us… I don’t know if we deserve it, just thank you so much… We were talking -may I speak English for a while-… We were talking in the back, this has to be, as far as your voices and energy… in..all the years I think this is the greatest audience we’ve ever played for…. I mean no one sings the guitar parts, for Christ’s sake…” “You know… If I can say it in English… We pay to see you sing, we should pay you… Thank you from deep down… de corazon… gracias.” Ferro Carril Oeste Argentina 25-11-2005

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