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Last month, I saw Pearl Jam play at Wrigley Field. Play isn’t quite the right word. Steamroll. Freight train. Destroy. Those are all better ways of describing the energy that Eddie Vedder and the rest of the band bring to their shows. It was my first time seeing them live — nearly 27 years since they dropped Ten — an album I played so much in college that my soul knows every chord and haunting howl by heart.

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It was Eddie in his hometown, commanding the stage above his beloved Cubbies outfield. He’s the lead singer who grinds, who exploded as part of Seattle grunge but figured out how to survive. None of the other leading frontmen from that era are still alive. Kurt Cobain. Chris Cornell. Layne Staley. Scott Weiland. Andrew Wood. They all succumbed to their demons. Eddie just seems to wrestle with his every time he steps on stage. I believe that’s why Pearl Jam’s music persists, why this band will always be remembered as one of the greatest. Eddie figured out how to talk to his demons, and through his music, let us talk to and tame our own.

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