24 with Pearl Jam
My ears are still ringing. My spine is still tingling. My mind is still racing and the lyrics to Given to Fly still dance in my head. That’ll happen when over 20,000 people join in a sing-along with Eddie Vedder.
Pearl Jam’s last leg of their 10 city tour closed out in Denver on Wednesday and for those who managed a ticket, it was a show to remember. This was my 7th or 8th time seeing the Seattle group and, in doing so, I’ve had something of a rebirth with PJ.
The goose bumps began immediately as the band opened up to an adoring crowd with Release. It seemed an apropos song to begin with because the building energy and anticipation for the band that hadn’t headlined in Denver in 11 years gave each and every one of the standing and screaming fans that very opportunity to release their unyielding welcome. Eddie immediately had plenty of help with back-up vocals from the entire arena.
Other highlights? The boys put on an incredible version of Do the Evolution that should be a reminder to everyone that Pearl Jam live is no match for any of their recorded work. Still in a fan frenzy, the audience was later treated to an epic rendition of Porch that extended itself for a good 10 minutes. The Ten album classic infused a jolt into the venue that will be remembered by all and finished up the first set before giving way to the three upcoming encores.
Renowned for their particular cover songs, Pink Floyd’s Mother, The Who’s Baba O’Riley and Mike McCready’s version of Eddie Van Halen’s Eruption and Jimi Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner all found their way onto the set list. Then there was Eddie’s moving version of John Lennon’s Imagine that turned Pepsi Center into a festival of lighters and cell phone flashes.
The two classics from the Singles soundtrack, Breath and State of Love and Trust, wowed an unsuspecting audience that loved the transport back to the duo of tracks often considered off the path from PJ’s mainstream.
Rearviewmirror is always a personal favorite and the Vs. alum didn’t disappoint with a rousing edition that closed out Encore #1. At this stage in the show, there was nowhere else on the planet you wanted to be more.
A portion of the way into the show, Eddie gave the news of an extraordinary milestone for the band that the Colorado audience had the pure luck of being a part of. Twenty four years ago to the day on October 22nd, the band performed their first ever gig. Vedder reminisced with the audience over sips of red wine how shortly after that fateful day, he returned to San Diego where he was working at a gas station and “gave his 30 day notice.”
It truly was a celebration for the band that was ending its tour in the Mile High City. Vedder interacted with the audience and engagingly roamed around, bringing back memories of the original Even Flow video. McCready did laps around the stage, jamming with the fortunate and dedicated fans in the first row of general admission. Swinging light fixtures over the stage were subjected to matador play that Chris Farley’s Tommy Boy would be proud of and McCready took aim at one with a mic stand resulting in the broken light shell transformed into a helmet by Jeff Ament.
All the while, there were stage cameras EVERYWHERE that made for a documentary style exhibition on the screens. Someone was having fun in a control room directing the shots throughout and I’d expect to see a DVD version of this show in the future.
The only time the crowd showed its displeasure was when it was obvious the show was coming to an end. Vedder refused to say “Good-bye” but rather encouraged the audience with the Hawaiaan sayings “Mahalo” and “A hui hou,” meaning ‘until we met again.’
There wasn’t a person in that arena who isn’t hoping that meeting is much sooner than later.
Set List: Release, Low Light, Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town, Last Exit, Why Go, Lightning Bolt, Mind Your Manners, Setting Forth-> Leatherman, My Father’s Son, Even Flow, Ghost, Present Tense, Do the Evolution, Eruption, Of the Earth, Given to Fly, Sirens, Don’t Gimme No Lip, Lukin, Porch, E1: Future Days, Sleight of Hand, Imagine, Mother, Last Kiss, Breath, Leash, Rearviewmirror, E2: Once, Black, State of Love and Trust, Better Man, Wasted Reprise-> Life Wasted, Alive, Baba O’Riley, Yellow Ledbetter