After contacting SFX for photo passes we were told Pearl Jam allows pictures to be taken at their shows, so I was stoked to be able to record the show in pictures for all of you. Upon arriving we saw the show was going to be recorded in video and audio by the band which was another bonus. I was excited to see the show, and for the first time in my life happy it was carried by Ticketmaster.
The opening band was Supergrass from England. I wasn't expecting much from them, but they put on a great show. Most of the audience was still wondering around, but that didn't stop the band from playing a strong set and gaining a new fan. I wasn't familiar with the band prior to the show, so I don't know any information on the songs they played. I enjoyed the usage of the organ, and the overall feel of the band. They looked kinda small on the big stage with just 3 of them, but they filled the venue with some strong music. Definite pleasant suprise for me.
After about 20 minutes of setup time, Pearl Jam took the stage. I had manuevered my way around the security and was able to get up the 5th row for some pictures. I'd like to thank the people who let me stand in their space for the first 3 songs, you were really kind to be uncomfortable so I could get the pics. Anyways, when they came on I heard a person in front of me say "I hope they play 'Oceans'" and at that moment they walked out on stage, took their instruments and without an introduction Eddie Vedder began singing, "Hold on to the tread....", the first line of "Oceans". This sent the guy in front of me into an immediate state of happiness, as it did the rest of the audience. The next song was my all time favorite, "Corduroy". I immediately began singing along and I was totally into the vibe of the show. The coolest part about the live version of "Corduroy" was the fact that Vedder played guitar on the track. I hadn't really listened to the band much in the past few years, but at that moment all the feelings I felt the first time I had heard Ten came back to me, and I was a fan in love again.
The band finally stopped to acknowledge the audience for a second, and Eddie Vedder drew attention to his arm and said "These aren't track marks, they're mosquito bites. This next song is dedicated to those who have been bitten by mosquitoes more than fifty times in an hour." This led the band directly into "Red Mosquito". The show never stopped for long and the music kept flowing. "...Small Town..." was great live. It was one of my favorite tracks off the Vs. album and showcased Stone Gossard's guitar playing greatly. "Not For You" was rockin' live. "Daughter" was a nice touch and added to the evening of the accoustic style song from the band. The song closed with a little piece to the end titled "The Wrong Child". As they went into the next song, "Off He Goes", Vedder gave a dedicated the song "...for all you Hank Williams fans". At the conclusion of the song Eddie Vedder took his guitar, and said "This is a sad song, and a true song". Then he began playing a song by himself that I didn't recognize, but it led into the opening notes of "Betterman". It was great to hear everyone there singing along and getting totally into the show.
The initial set began to wind down as the band tore through tracks such as "Insignificance" and "Nothingman". One of the highlights of the evening was "Even Flow". The guitars were so tight, McCready and Gossard were dead on with each other. Jeff Ament's bass playing was dead on. The main riff from the song gave the entire band a chance to show how tight they were. They also did a breakdown area where McCready played a great solo and extended it for a while. Ament and Matt Cameron got a chance to shine as they kept the groove of the song dead on as McCready did a great improvisational jam. As "Even Flow" closed they went directly into "Go" which was a great rocker. After the song ended Vedder stated, "This will be the last depressing song we'll play tonight", as the opening notes to "Parting Ways" rang out. It's one of the best songs off Binaural and I enjoyed ever moment of it. When the song ended, so did the set. The band said good bye and left the stage.
As soon as the band left everyone began yelling and banging on chairs to let the band know that we didn't want the night to end yet. Soon enough Pearl Jam returned to put on a hell of a show for the remainder of the night. They started the encore set with "Do The Evolution" and everyone loved it. It was a great rocker to keep Vedder's word that there'd be no more depressing songs. "Once" was great, and had everyone singing "Once upon a time!!! I could control myself". The greatest moment of the evening however was the closing number. It appeared they were going to stop the set and possibly do a second encore because Matt got up from his drumset to leave. But he was prompty motioned to stay and the band went into a cover of Neil Young's "Rockin' In The Free World". This song was awesome live. It brought me back to watching them perform it with Neil on the VMA's(the single greatest moment in Rock N' Roll TV history) and made this a perfect night. The lights came up during the song and you could see everyone at the venue dancing, singing, and having a great time. It was a special moment, a moment where everyone was happy and worried about nothing. It was something that could only be brought by a special band which I feel safe in saying Pearl Jam is.
Pearl Jam's Set List for the show was:
Main Set: Oceans, Corduroy, Grievance, Gods' Dice, Animal, Red Mosquito, Given To Fly, Faithfull, Small Town, Lukin, Not For You, Daughter/(The Wrong Child), Off He Goes, (Romance)/Better Man/(Save It For Later), Insignificance, Nothingman, Even Flow, Go, Parting Ways
Encore: Do The Evolution, Whipping, Once, Footsteps, Crazy Mary, Rockin' In The Free World
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