Crowe, who was a rock journalist in Seattle at the time of Pearl Jam’s rise in the early ’90s, still approaches music with the wide-eyed enthusiasm of his teenage fanboy self, as played by Patrick Fugit in the semi-autobiographical Almost Famous
(2000). Remember when Billy Crudup’s character Russell, a featherbrained rock star, leapt from the roof of a house into a swimming pool after informing the cheering crowd below, “I am a golden god!”
? Though that scene looked at rock ‘n’ roll self-mythologizing with affectionate irony, a part of Crowe clearly does believe in rock ‘n’ roll transcendence. Vedder’s self-presentation is the opposite of golden-god vainglory—he’s self-laceratingly emo to the core—but the archival clips of his youthful concert antics are downright Dionysian. Handsome and flowing-haired, Vedder would spontaneously scale the lighting rigs at shows, sometimes hanging at least 20 feet above the stage like a kid from monkey bars, or leap from high speakers to surf the ecstatic crowd.