Certain Songs #1514: Pearl Jam – “MFC (Katowice 06-16-2000)”

Album: 6/16/00 – Katowice, Poland
Year: 2000

In the year 2000, Pearl Jam released Binaural, a record that I was never even remotely able to wrap my head around, and after quite a few spins, I gave up on. I’m sure some of you think it’s some kind of lost masterpiece, but to me, the best thing about Binaural was the cover.

Oh, that and the fact that they made the decision to release bootlegs from every single show they played on the tour. This was the beginning of the Pearl Jam Official Bootleg Series, making them only the second band to understand that artificial scarcity — especially of live shows — was kinda bullshit. And while there have been exceptions, nearly every single show that Pearl Jam has played this century has been available.

Obviously, only an insane person would own every single one: I’ve only ever bought a few, and I’ve neglected to get the recording of the show I attended in 2009 (more on that tomorrow), and in fact I waited to see what the consensus was on the initial batch before I spring for any of them.

One of those was a recording they’d done in Katowice, Poland, which featured an speedballing version of my favorite song from Yield, “MFC”. A companion / sequel to “Rearviewmirror” — which was often abbreviated to “RVM” — “MFC” was an acronym for “Mini Fast Car,” where over a stumbling pair of rhythm guitars, Eddie Vedder told a tale of a woman getting the hell away from her life.

Sliding out of reverse into drive, this
Wheel will be turning right, then straight
Off in the sunset she’ll ride
She can remember a time denied, stood by
Side of the road, now she’s out
Out on her own and line high

Then, with new drummer and black hole sun refugee Matt Cameron superpowering the double-time snare, “MFC” finds its highest gear — one of the highest gears of any Pearl Jam song, to be honest — as it rips into the chorus.

Thereeee’s no leaving here
Ask, I’m an ear
She’s disappeared

Augmented by some really cool psychedelic guitar from Stone Gossard: his solo bends and twists in and around itself, as well as some wah-wah grunts by Eddie — not to mention a well placed “fuck it!” on the last chorus — “MFC” is all last chance power drive and chrome wheel and fuel injection, zipping down the highway at illegal speeds, wind blowing everybody’s hair in every which direction.

Not to mention that it gets in, says its piece, and gets the fuck out in less that 2:28, all of which adds up to my third-favorite Pearl Jam song.

“MFC (Katowice, Poland 06-16-2000)” (Audio only)

“MFC” live in Las Vegas, 2000

“MFC” live in Berlin, 2009

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