When I was growing up, you got your music in one or two places. Music downloads were still a ways away and the only places you could get your music were the Targets and Wal-Marts of the world or you could head to your local CD store.
Growing up in New Jersey, you had a couple of choices when it came to local CD stores. You had the Sam Goody, The Wiz, and Coconuts if you wanted to get your stuff at a chain store. Or you could go to some place like the Princeton Record Exchange or CD World. The Princeton Record Exchange was just that…you gave them CDs, tapes, vinyl, etc. and they gave you cash or credit. CD World was also cool, they only had CDs but they were the ones that also had the Ticketmaster kiosk inside.
I don’t remember how I heard about it, could’ve been someone at school or it could have been some poster I saw at CD World when I was shopping there. They were having a midnight release of the sophomore album from Pearl Jam. Having heard Ten on the radio and seeing the constant stream of videos on MTV (I’d love to see how many times they played Jeremy…you just couldn’t escape it), I wanted to get in early on the new release from Pearl Jam.
I can’t remember who was with me at the time but I remember piling into my Chevy S-10 Blazer (The Pregnant Rollerskate) and headed down Route 1 at around 11:30 on that October night. Arriving at the parking lot there were already some cars there. It was like the concert atmosphere of a summer festival parking lot. Blasting music from bands that sounded like Pearl Jam, but weren’t Pearl Jam, because that would have just been uncool. We get out of the car and start waiting in line. It wasn’t raucous or rowdy, it was a bunch of kids waiting in line for the doors to open. I think I had a growler of Stewart’s Root Beer in my truck that I shared with some friends in line.
At midnight, the doors to CD World opened up and people were going in about 10 at a time. The first people came out with their prized purchases waving about and screaming. In know time, I was at the front of the line and the clerk was asking “Jewel Case or Digi-Pak?”.
Jewel case it was.
I got back to the truck and popped the CD in and started listening to Go & Animal. There really was nothing more to do in the parking lot at 12:30 in the morning so we headed home and blared the new Pearl Jam CD with open windows.
The funny thing I remember about the album that I bought is that it didn’t have a name yet. It may, or may not, have been marketed as “Pearl Jam’s Untitled Album”. So there’s no “Vs.” printed on the spine of the CD…just Pearl Jam. It wasn’t until subsequent printings happened that the name of the album appeared on the spine of the jewel case.
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