"Listen to us, telling you to mind your manners, where are our manners? Good evening! We should probably thank the people that built this place. We know one of them, Jay Z, so let’s thank Jay Z. We got 99 problems but a place to play ain’t one.”
Eddie Vedder waited six songs into the show to properly address the sold out Barclays Center crowd. This was the first night of a two night stand at the new Brooklyn venue. The grunge gods haven't lost a bit of energy in the twenty plus years they've been touring, and last night's show was proof of that. The band is on tour for their tenth studio album Lightning Bolt and last night they gave the fans what they wanted, and more.
This tour is different than any other tour the band has played because this is the first major tour where the general admission area is standing room only in front of the stage instead of an all seated area. General admission tickets were only provided to members of the Pearl Jam Ten Club. Tickets were dispensed through a lottery system to members only. Fans started lining up at the general admission line at 3am to have the opportunity to be on the rail or as close as possible. Since there is no opening band on this leg of the tour, fans are treated to a longer set. Pearl Jam took the stage at 8:25pm and finished around 11:30pm, providing three solid hours of songs ranging from rock to punk to ballads.
The night started off with "Pendulum," a song from the new album. The next two songs, "Release" and "Elderly Woman...," had the entire arena singing passionately along with Eddie. It didn't take long for everyone to realize this night was going to be special.
The band visited the new album again with the song "Lightning Bolt." It was a high tempo rock n roll song that brought the energy back up. "Corduroy" from the band's 1994 release Vitalogy got the older fans singing along and featured a great guitar solo. The band dipped into another new song "Mind Your Manners" before taking a short break to address the crowd. "Dissident" and "Why Go" were obvious fan favorites and had the entire arena again singing along. They went back to a new song before going into "I Am Mine" and dedicated it to the people of New Jersey for all the difficult tribulations that have encountered in the past year. The next song from their new album, titled "Infallible," was dedicated to Harper and Olivia.
Every time the band played songs from their earlier albums it seemed like the whole arena was singing and swaying along, and it was no different for the next song "Given To Fly." Eddie joined Mike on 12 string guitar for the next song "Sirens." It was a new song that I was most looking forward to seeing/hearing them perform and it did not disappoint.
Mike McCready took the opportunity to impress EVERYONE with his kick ass guitar skills by playing Van Halen's "Eruption." This was a perfect segway into the rocking tune "Spin the Black Circle." Eddie took a moment to address that the next song was written by someone the band knew. He never met him but said he thought about him a lot. That person's name was Andrew Wood and what they played was "Chloe Dancer / Crown Of Thorns," a Mother Love Bone song. To say this was a special moment for the band and us fans is putting it lightly. The night had just entered that magical moment where people will remember a show or a song for as long as they live. Below is a YouTube clip of the song:
Eddie stated the song "Let The Records Play," another new song off Lightning Bolt, was a song about yesterday and that the next song, "Do The Evolution," was about the future. The twentieth and last song of the set before the encores was one I, and the crowd, were excited to hear. "Rearview Mirror" is a tune with meaningful lyrics and no doubt holds a special place in many fans' hearts, so it was no surprise that it got a great reception when it was over.
The first encore song (of twelve) was "Oceans" and it was dedicated to the East Coast surfers. For many, this classic song is a early 90's favorite and the fans singing along reminded me of being in my bedroom during my high school years listening to the song through my headphones. Eddie described the tune "Sleight Of Hand" as being about a man who, not only had to work 60 to 70 hours a week but he also had to wear a clip on tie. An acoustic "Daughter" really energized the crowd and had a majority of people chanting in unison.
The stage wasn't full of theatrics and special lasers or props. These guys don't need all those distractions. They just go on stage and play rock songs and you can tell they genuinely love what they're doing. Sometimes they get a little crazy and spur of the moment, which was the case when Eddie climbed up on a hanging globe light during "Porch" and began to swing above the crowd while singing. I wonder if there's a fan keeping track of all the objects Eddie has climbed onto/jumped off during his career?
The band took a moment to soak in the atmosphere and wave to fans before going into a second encore set featured five songs, but the one that seemed to have excited the crowd the most was "Alive." This song is Pearl Jam's "Stairway To Heaven" in that EVERY fan knows this song. It's really a treat that the band continues to dig into the classics and satisfy the fans by playing the songs we grew up on and have a special memory attached to them. When the show was over, three hours later, the band members took their time waving to everyone and walking around the stage to make sure every section was acknowledged, especially the back areas. The fans didn't want them to leave and craved more but isn't that always the case after a once in a lifetime concert?
You can view the remaining tour dates by checking out the Zumic Pearl Jam Artist Page and if you haven't ordered the new album Lightning Bolt yet, you can do so by going on the Pearl Jam iTunes page. If you would like to read further comments about the show you can check out the Pearl Jam Ten Club Community Messageboard.