Eddie Vedder is Still an Incoherent Drunk

When you’re not in a tiny space like Bowery Ballroom, where even in the worst seat in the house you can see the snarls and sweat onstage, then the concert experience is just as much about the crowd’s reaction to the music as the music itself. For me, anyway, a great crowd makes a show memorable and a meh crowd makes me wish I had danced around my apartment with the CD at full blast, instead.

I’ve seen Pearl Jam twice now—once in 1996 at Lockheart Stadium in Florida (the year of the Ticketmaster fiasco) for the No Code tour, and again last night at the Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey as a birthday present from Jeff. Both times, my seats were very good, but not “I can see Eddie Vedder’s blue eyes” close. But because Pearl Jam has that special sparkle quality—not in the “ohmigod, Pearl Jam effing RULES, man” way (well…maybe a LITTLE bit in that way), but the combination of their huge, stellar catalogue and fanbase—both shows were scream-out-loud fantastic. Last night, we were on the floor, all the way in back, which spread the blanket of concertgoers in front of us and all up around us. Fratboys make good concert companions, honestly. Sing-screaming the chorus of “Leash” and “Alive and all the others, and looking around to the pumping fists made me all giddy. Nothing gets me like hearing the collective crowd voice rise up and join the band’s. I even got so psyched at one point that I poked Jeff in the eye. Pretty hard. Yikes.

Pearl Jam will always hit my giddy buttons because Ten, along with Nevermind and Aerosmith’s Get a Grip, was my intro to modern rock. I hated middle school and felt like a huge effing loser, came home, and raged out to “Porch” in the way only a 12-year-old geeky girl with huge green glasses can rage. I’m guessing a lot of the thousands of folks in Jersey last night did the same. You don’t see many young PJ fans…I just don’t think they get it. Sure, the new stuff is pretty good and all, but post-Yield it feels like they’re a Pearl Jam-style band instead of the real deal. Other than "Love Boat Captain," there's really nothing chill-inducing or worthy of a concert fist pump. Thoughts?

Here’s last night’s setlist:

Severed Hand, Corduroy, World Wide Suicide, Do The Evolution, Marker In The Sand, Given To Fly, Dissident, Even Flow, Army Reserve, Immortality, Green Disease, Not For You/(Modern Girl), Alone, Jeremy, Why Go, Life Wasted, Rearviewmirror

Encore 1: Wasted Reprise, Man Of The Hour, Come Back, Footsteps, Once, Alive

Encore 2: Last Exit, Comatose, Leatherman, Glorified G, Leash, Baba O'Riley, Indifference

Comments

  1. Leash and Glorified G... I'm jealous... By the way.. Love Boat Captain sucks.. The best song off of Riot Act was written by a former member of Soundgarden...

    Are you guys gonna get the mp3s to this show? I would love to hear how they did Leash..

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  2. Pearl Jam and adolescence? Sigh.

    On a middle school camping trip, my classmates and I broke into a soulful rendition of "Daughter" one night around the campfire.

    In the same way that it's weird that teenage campers chose to harmonize to "Daughter," it's also a little weird for a DJ at a middle school dance to choose "Better Man" as one of the slow dances, right? I spent the whole song skulking behind a pillar hoping no one would notice me so I could be bitter all by myself about the odd song choice--and the fact I didn't need to hide behind a pillar in order to not get asked to dance. The chaperone found me and gave the most pitiful look ever. But Eddie Vedder offered me self-righteousness!

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