Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Pearl Jam 5/18 Newark & 5/20 MSG Recap
"Buona Sera, won’t be long before we
All walk off the wire
I’m gonna see my friend,.. I'm gonna see my friend
for what I require”
- Pearl Jam, “Gonna See My Friend”
Pearl Jam was in town last week and the words above probably better tell the story of my relationship with the band, their music and other fans than any original way I could write it. Pearl Jam to me is like an old friend that I’ve grown up with, one of the only constants in my life from my freshman year in high school until the present day. I’ve traveled extensively to see the band throughout North America and met many friends along the way. Some I’ve stayed in touch with, others I haven’t spoken to in years but we all share a passion for the band and especially their live performances. These were my 35th and 36th Pearl Jam shows since I first got to see the band in 1994 and I was just as excited as I was going years ago.
The first show I was going to hit was at The Prudential Center (aka “The Rock”) in Newark, NJ. After getting home from work, I quickly changed and jumped on a NJ Transit train from Penn Station over to NJ. I was fortunate enough to get Ten Club (The PJ fanclub) tickets and thought I’d have a pretty good chance at some nice seats since I got shut out for both shows at MSG. Turns out I was right, 19th row on the aisle in front of guitarist Stone Gossard…… as the woman in the ticket booth said when she opened the envelope, “Wow”.
I got my tickets and proceeded across the street to a local watering hole while I waited for my buddy TR who was coming up from Philly. I was glad I was taking T to this show after he had worked some magic getting tickets late last year to the epic final shows of the Spectrum in Philadelphia. T showed up and we met up with my other buddies John and Chris and some of their friends ( this is what PJ shows have turned into for me….. always a good time reuniting with friends from all over). After a couple hours of pre-gaming we walked the few steps back over to the arena.
Opening this show was Band of Horses who I was excited to see for the first time. I thought they sounded great and Eddie Vedder even showed up to sing along with Ben Bridwell and close out their set. After a short while, Eddie returned to the stage with the rest of Pearl Jam behind him. The full setlist is below but highlights for me were a couple rarities, “Alone”, “Brother”, and “Footsteps”….. three songs that are rarely heard and take me back to the early 90s. The other highlights were “Immortality” (one of my favorite PJ songs) and “State of Love & Trust” (a high energy rocker off the “Singles” movie soundtrack). Ben returned a the end to join Pearl Jam in a very cool version of "All Along The Watchtower". The show was a little over two hours and I left happy and excited to try to score a ticket for MSG later in the week.
5/18/10 SETLIST: Of The Girl, Brain Of J, Do The Evolution, The Fixer, Alone, Amongst The Waves, Immortality, In Hiding, Even Flow, Insignificance, Supersonic, Brother, Glorified G, Daughter/Blitzkrieg Bop (The Ramones)/WMA, Unthought Known, Leatherman, Lukin, Once
1st encore: Just Breathe, Footsteps, Inside Job, Got Some, Go
2nd encore: Jersey Girl (Tom Waits), You Are, Whipping, Life Wasted, Alive, Indifference, All Along The Watchtower with Ben Bridwell (Dylan)
PEARL JAM @ THE ROCK
PEARL JAM - "THE FIXER" @ THE ROCK
On Wednesday night I got a call from my old buddy Keith (a friend from college) with an extra ticket to the Thursday night show at MSG. I couldn’t have been more excited, after getting shutout in the presale, I just wanted to get into the building for the show. Keith actually took me to my favorite concert of all time (not just PJ, any band)….. Pearl Jam at Randall’s Island 9/29/96…… a legendary 3+ hour performance. Anyways, I met Keith next to The Garden and we hung out with my brother Andy and our buddies JR and Rich for a bit before we took off for the show.
We made sure to get in early to check out the opener, “The Black Keys”, who were only opening this one show on the tour. I’ve seen these guys a couple times now and they’re really impressive, an excellent live band. My seats were in the 300s so I snuck down to sit with Andy in the 100s, just to the side of the stage. The group sounded great and the crowd that showed up early gave them a nice reception, even standing and applauding towards the end of the last song, “I Got Mine”. I grabbed a video of that performance below.
BLACK KEYS - "I GOT MINE"
Pearl Jam came on a short while later and opened with “Sometimes” a slow track off the album “No Code” (Keith called this as the opener a couple hours before showtime…. Well done). There were many highlights of this set with great energy in the building and the crowd singing along to old songs and new ones. A couple of the new songs, namely “The Fixer” and “Unthought Known” have quickly become fan favorites…… I happen to love both tracks. As for older tracks, I loved “Last Exit”, “I Got ID (Shit)” and “Once”. One funny part of the night being in the 300 section you’ll have some people really into the show and others not so much. There was a guy two rows behind us that was rockin’ out the whole time and loved that we were going hard too so we ended up grabbing a picture together (below). Don’t know the guy’s name but thanks for bringing some energy to our section!
PEARL JAM @ MSG 5/20/10
PEARL JAM - "UNTHOUGHT KNOWN" - MSG 5/20/10
The night concluded with "Indifference" and we went on our way, another satisfied group of customers. As usual, I can’t wait for the next tour, and the friends I’ll see once again.
5/20/10 SETLIST: Sometimes, Breakerfall, Last Exit, Animal, The Fixer, Severed Hand, Small Town, I Am Mine, Comatose, Force Of Nature, Even Flow, Low Light, Down, I Got ID, Army Reserve (dedicated to Lt. Colonel John McDonough), Insignificance, Unthought Known, Do The Evolution
1st encore: The End (with string quartet), Lukin (with string quartet), Just Breathe (with string quartet), You Are, Love, Reing O’er Me (Townshend) [Ed has crowd wish Pete Townshend “Happy Birthday”], State Of Love And Trust, Once, Porch
2nd encore: Jeremy, Leash, Mankind, Crazy Mary (Williams), I Believe In Miracles (Ramone, Ray) [dedicated to Joey Ramone], Alive, Indifference
Here's some additional pics & videos from the shows.......
TR & ME @ THE ROCK
BAND OF HORSES - "NO ONE'S GONNA LOVE YOU" @ THE ROCK
EDDIE VEDDER W/ BAND OF HORSES @ THE ROCK
BEN BRIDWELL (BOH) W/PEARL JAM @ THE ROCK
PEARL JAM - "UNTHOUGHT KNOWN" @ THE ROCK
BLACK KEYS @ MSG 5/20/10
ME, PJ SUPERFAN, KEITH @ MSG 5/20/10
PEARL JAM - "LAST EXIT" @ MSG 5/20/10