“That was, without a doubt, the greatest sports movie I’ve ever seen.” – Not exactly what you’d expect to hear from a live concert.
Much like the Black Sabbath piece I wrote last week (which, if you missed it, you can find here; https://wavebyte.co.uk/2017/10/02/black-sabbath-the-end-of-the-end/) this film was essentially a live show interwoven with interviews. To be perfectly honest, I’m not as big of a Pearl Jam fan as I am of Black Sabbath, but I still went along to this movie/concert because there are a few songs that really resonate with me. That, and of course, Eddie Vedder being generally fantastic at everything he does.
Unlike the Black Sabbath movie, Let’s Play Two had much more of a storyline and was a lot more ‘movie-like’ then The End of the End. A proper documentary by Danny Clinch, the denizens of Chicago exhibit their support of the Chicago Cubs, the Major League Baseball team that were last able to enter the World Series in 1945; the documentary focuses on Vedder’s intense love for the Cubs, as well as his personal relationship with the resident bartenders surrounding Wrigley Field, the managers of the Cubs, and the players themselves, including the baseball-legend Ernie Banks.
As the concert progresses through some of Pearl Jam’s greatest hits, the audience are treated to a number of stories; hardcore Pearl Jam fans who are queueing four days in advance for the concert, the owner of Murphy’s Bleachers who recalls when Vedder was a young boy, as well as when he just started Pearl Jam, and how he inspired her to take up music herself. It’s made clear that regardless of Vedder’s stardom, he is as much a part of the Chicago community as he was before Pearl Jam. Regardless of how popular Pearl Jam became, Vedder never forgot his hometown and his team. “The first time you walk into Wrigley Field; it’s like stepping into Oz…”
The film certainly isn’t lacking in emotion; the film touched on Banks’ relationship with Vedder, and how Banks asked Vedder to write a song for the Cubs; thus the birth of All The Way, the official Cubs anthem. Fast-forward to the 2016 World Series; Vedder is in attendance and decides that the fans need a boost of morale. He takes to the mic and busts out a rendition of Take Me Out To The Ball Game. The energy is electric; the support is revitalising, and the Cubs win the World Series. Cue shots of tearful fans, Vedder’s own elation, and the sincere feeling of victory for the first time since 1945. Finally, guitarist Mike McCready brings out his friend Steve Gleason onto the stage; Gleason was a professional footballer, until he was unfortunately diagnosed with ALS. Still, whilst paralyzed and unable to speak without the aid of a computer, Gleason thanks Pearl Jam for all they have done.
Even in the cinema, the emotion was palpable.
Pearl Jam certainly don’t need any more praise, but they do deserve it. Let’s Play Two was a humble, humanising documentary that made me appreciate their sincerity and passion to no end. And as I say, “That was, without a doubt, the greatest sports movie I’ve ever seen.”
4.5 / 5 Bytes.