Last week I went to see Pearl Jam! It was an amazing experience. I saw them about a year ago and really, really liked the show. This time it was ... different, at the same time a bit worse and a whole lot better.
The bad part was the sound - too loud and not clear. It's probably because of the venue, which, while maybe ideal for hockey games, is not designed to host concerts. It's all iron and tin that echo the sound. When you press your ears the sounds gets a whole lot better, but c'mon you cannot go to a concert and stay all the time with your hands on your ears!
The good part - the concert was awesome. They played a lot. (As a local paper put it - "best value for the money") They played so much that at the end the lights were on, the evening was officially over but they kept playing and playing. The whole show was about 2 and a half hours with two encore breaks.
In terms of songs, they started with "Release" from "Ten", just an intro to what followed. And what followed was all their fast, punky, heavy songs. Think "Do the evolution", "Habit" and "Lukin". Even songs that are not as noisy, like "Even flow", they played faster and harder. The only break to catch your breath was "Better man", somewhere in the middle of the show and probably only the first part of the song. Add this to the overall bad and loud sound and you get the picture, my ears were bleeding.
It all changed with the encores. I had the feeling that the encores were as lengthy as the main part of the concert. They played "Crazy Mary", "Last kiss", "Black", "Alive"... it was pretty amazing. I kept thinking OK, that's it, they are not going to play more, despite all our shouting (and there was a lot of shouting). But ... they did and they played and they kept on playing. At the end, like I said, the lights were on, the stage was even not as well lit as the people in the audience. So we had a chance to look at each other, the focus was on us. Then the last song was Yellow Ledbedder; it ended, everybody was ready to go; Matt Cameron, the drummer, threw his several pairs of drumsticks in the crowd, everybody left their instruments, ready to go, only ... Mike McCready, the guitarist, was still playing. And he was playing this Hendrix-SRV-like riff as if the concert was just starting. Honestly, I looked at the faces in the crowd, even the venue's personnel and everybody was smiling at the end of the concert. It's just the band is so natural, so honest and human. No poses or playing the big stars. Eddie Vedder's favourite was to put the back of his shirt, without undressing it, on top of his head, I mean how starry that can be?
Before I saw them last week for the second time I was wondering sometimes - which is my favourite live (and not only live) band. Now I know 😉 PJ, PJ!
Oh, and Eddie Vedder is growing long hair again!