It’s almost embarrassing to admit this, but I still remember my camp counselor at sleep away camp putting in the cassette tape and telling us to check out this new band. I mean come on, a cassette tape? Does anyone even admit to using those anymore? I wanted to share that anecdote to drive home the fact that even though Ten may have come out during the birth of the CD, Pearl Jam is no longer the little alternative band that could. They are now officially elder statesmen of rock.
Needless to say, after that very first listen I was hooked and Pearl Jam has been my favorite band ever since. I bring this all up to let you know of a pretty cool new release from the band. It’s not an album though, it’s a coffee book titled Pearl Jam vs. Ames Bros: 13 Years of Tour Posters "a chronology of Pearl Jam's celebrated concert posters spanning 1995-2007. Pearl Jam vs. Ames Bros features over 80 comments on individual posters from all five members of Pearl Jam and running commentary from the poster designers -- offering insight into the inspiration, concepts and process of poster creation." (Link)
Concert poster art dates back a pretty far way to the original handbill, which was nothing more than a listing of the artists playing at any particular show. As time went on these handbills became less a listing and more of an art form which incorporates the musicians playing at a concert into the artists’ work. Many bands throughout history have found their concert posters to be an extension of their music and worked with specific artists to translate their sound and message to the viewer.
Like many musicians before them, Pearl Jam takes their concert posters very seriously. The band releases an original limited edition poster for almost every single show. But they have been known in the past to combine shows into a single poster. They work almost exclusively with artists Brad Klausen and the Ames Bros., which is comprised of Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament’s brother Barry and Coby Shultz. I’ve really enjoyed their work over the years and always make it a point to get a poster from every PJ show I’ve been to. The coffee table book looks amazing and it comes in two versions, the standard green hard bound book, which sells for $50, and the limited edition orange which is retailing for $200! The limited edition version comes with a number of extras, including 32 additional pages and three limited edition silk screened prints from the Ames Bros. and Klausen. The orange version has a print run of 3,000 with 2,600 being signed and numbered editions and another 400 being artist proofs. This is a must have for any die hard Pearl Jam fan or fans of concert art in general. Check some sample pages below: