The opening shot of the trailer for Let’s Play Two tells you everything you need to know about what is ostensibly a Pearl Jam concert film. Instead of showing the band on-stage or preparing for the show, we see the first base-side grandstands of Wrigley Field, dusk falling heavily in the sky, and a microphone with guitar picks placed for easy access in the forefront.
Let’s Play Two is a document of Pearl Jam’s two-night stint playing the Friendly Confines in August of 2016, the height of what would go on to be a magical season for the Chicago Cubs. At this point in the year, postseason play was all but assured and talk of not only a World Series appearance but a win had turned from speculative to confident. That made it a notable time for the band, helmed by noted Cubs fan Eddie Vedder, to play the stadium.
As the trailer begins we hear members of the band talk about how playing Wrigley was beyond any of their dreams. More traditional shots of the band backstage quickly give way to archive footage from an old Cubs game (looks like the 80s but it’s too quick for me to get a bead on the player) and then back to Vedder and the band. That formula – a little band, a little baseball – continues throughout the rest of the trailer as we see shots of not only the performance that was captured but also 2016 Cubs players in action. There are also scenes of Vedder reveling in the team’s accomplishments as a fan, albeit one who’s allowed to hug and celebrate with owners and players on the field.
I don’t know what the Venn Diagram overlap of “Pearl Jam fans” and “Cubs fans” look like. This film, which will screen at Chicago’s Metro for PJ fans before being shown in theaters, on TV and then be available on home video, is being sold as a memento for both. It’s not just a marker of what by all accounts was an incredible and very emotional couple of nights for the band but as a memorial of a historic and very emotional baseball season. Vedder is no fair weather fan, having grown up a Cubs fan and sticking with the team through thick and thin. This is hardly his first overt nod toward that fandom. Instead, it’s his – and the band’s – way of solidifying those connections with the city and the team.
If the trailer is any indication, Let’s Play Two could be a solid choice whether you’re looking for an archive of a powerful performance from one of rock’s foremost bands or a snapshot of a baseball season Cubs fans like Vedder (and myself) waited over a century for.