Article from LA Times:
The soundtrack for "Into the Wild" has been commonly referred to as the "first solo album" from Pearl Jam's frontman Eddie Vedder.
But the work that Vedder crafted to accompany the Sean Penn film, based on Jon Krakauer's best-selling book, is less a representation of Vedder as it is an attempt from the veteran rocker to get inside the mind of a young adult.
Vedder's take at a sort of concept album was clear at a private performance in a theater lobby re-dressed as an intimate club on the Paramount Pictures lot in Los Angeles on Friday evening (Nov. 2).
Before launching into the delicate, hesitating rebellion of the mandolin-driven "Rise," Vedder looked to Emile Hirsch, who stars in the film as twenty-something Christopher McCandless.
"Emile assisted a lot in writhing this song," he said. "Just because I was staring at his face for hours on end."
Reflecting one man's oftentimes idealistic revolution, some of Vedder's songs for "Into the Wild" are only 60-seconds in length, capturing brief snapshots of an impulsive and romantic mind.
His short but effective six-song set directly followed a star-studded screening of the film. In this setting Vedder's work came off as an extension of the movie, written almost as outtakes from the main character's journal entries.
Vedder declared it was the first time he had performed "Into the Wild" songs for an audience. Following an introduction from Penn, Vedder said, "It's nice that the dad's around when the kids are born," referencing how his songs are meant to directly complement Penn's directorial work.
"Guaranteed" and "Society" do this best. The two "Into the Wild" songs could have a life detached from the film. The melodically circular finger-picking of "Guaranteed" glides along like a cool breeze on an easy interstate drive. "I like this verse," Vedder said, before singing, "Wind in my hair, I feel part of everywhere."
"Society" takes a stronger point-of-view. It's fluttering verses build to a more forceful, rebellious chorus. Seated on a folding chair, Vedder tempered the solitary anthem with lighter, more hopeful guitar notes at its midpoint.
Vedder then further lightened the mood by moving away from the songs of "Into the Wild," pulling out fan-club single "Drifting."
Before starting the song, he praised the appreciative Hollywood crowd, which included the likes of Ringo Starr, Oscar-winning composer Herbie Hancock ("'Round Midnight"), Winona Ryder (pictured, with Penn), Emilio Estevez and Mark Ruffalo.
"Thank you for being so respectful," Vedder said.
"It's not like the audience who comes to see our band," he joked. "This is very nice."
Vedder closed his set with a cover of the Beatles' "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away," which he had recorded for another Penn film, "I Am Sam."
"There's probably at least one other person besides [Penn] who knows it," Vedder said.
When he introduced Vedder, Penn asked the crowd to refrain from taking cell phone pictures, and described Vedder as the type of man every guy wants to be, and every woman wants to be with.
Penn then embraced Vedder and declared, "This is the man I want to be."