Pearl Jam Review

Saw Pearl Jam last night with my brother.  Thought I’d throw together a quick review.

Up until late last week, I wasn’t 100% sure we’d make it to this show.  Dave and Valerie’s twins (Daisy and Uncle Jesse) are due at pretty much ANY time at this point, so it was doubtful that he’d be able to make the show, and I didn’t really want to go with anyone else, so it looked doubtful.  Then Dave called and was reasonably sure the twins would hold-off until at least the 15th or so and asked if I still wanted to see the show.  The answer?  A resounding, “I’m not sure I can afford it.”  Then two days later, “Ehh…okay.  It’ll be worth it.”

And worth it, it was.

We almost didn’t make it, though…  Dave and Valerie went to buy tickets, with Tessa along for the ride.  They walked out with tickets in hand and were getting in the car when Tessa bolted out into the parking lot and missed getting run over by a car that was backing up by less than a foot.  Of course, when she took off Dave and (let’s underline that) and my very-pregnant-with-twins sister-in-law went running after her, fearing for her safety.  Valerie shouldn’t run in her condition, of course…but when your kid takes off into moving traffic, you do too.  Tessa is fine and probably doesn’t even realize she was in any danger…but Valerie hurt all over and went in to be looked at.  There was some concern that the twins might pop out, just to show ’em who’s boss.  But, everything’s okay…just made for a slightly tense “leave your cell-phones ON!” situation during the show.  We did.  But, fortunately, everybody’s fine and the twins are still hanging out round-about Valerie’s navel.  So we’re good.

We stopped at Union Station for food first.  I had a pretty decent Gyro.  Dave had a burger.  Union Station was pretty empty, both of people and of stores…it’s kind of a shame what’s happened to that place.  Used to be a shopping and cultural hub…now it’s barely fit for mall-walkers.  (But, to be fair, it’s not easily accessible for most consumers and the 10% city tax is a MAJOR deterrent, too.)

After eating, we walked over to the venue. Found the merch and found our seats. We were in row Q of section 322.  That’s the nosebleeds…the VERY BACK of the nosebleeds.  (Seriously…we were last row!)  Part of me would like to take up the $40 ticket price with the venue, considering the distance to the stage…but we’ll let it go.  At least I got some exercise.  And, oddly enough, Dave bumped into someone he used to work with, who was down just a little bit from us.  So that was kind of cool.

Then the opening act came on.  They’re called “Band of Horses.”  Pretty good, but I’d like to hear them without all of the arena-reverb.  They supposedly have an alt-country vibe about them, but the reverb and a not-too-great mix made them sound more U-2 ish than I think they were supposed to.  I didn’t hate what I heard…but we did leave briefly during their set when Dave suggested that the merch booth might take credit cards (I wanted another shirt in addition to the one pictured below).  They did—which is VERY dangerous information for me to have—so I walked away with my two tees.  Happy, but poorer.  And we bumped into Johnny Ream (who played drums with us in Blue Tattoo, as you may recall) on the way back in!  He was there with his wife (Julie) and a friend of his who I recognized, but whose name I don’t recall.  Good to see Johnny again.  Had Teague wandered by, we’d have had a full-blown reunion.  🙂

After Band of Horses finished up, we did the standard wait-around for the headliner thing.  Had a brief conversation with the guy who sat in front of us, who was wearing a Farm Aid t-shirt, since Dave and I were at that show, too.  (That might have actually happened before the “Horses” took the stage…but I remember it as being between sets, at the time of writing.)

After a while…the lights went down, the crowd stood up, and Pearl Jam did an awesome show. Parts of it are a little fuzzy in my memory, due to the people HEAVILY smoking pot right next to us.  (It was so bad they were having to lean on us and the wall behind us while they were leaving…which is also kind of funny, because one of the girls just kind of decided it was “time to go” before the show ended, and we listened to the guy trying to argue with her as she walked away and they all had to follow, or lose their ride.) 

I think my favorite surprize was during the encore.  They did their typical 10-minute version of “Alive,” then for some reason, the house lights came on.  I don’t know if PJ planned that, or if it was a “the union says you’re done” thing…but they came on.  Didn’t stop the band.  They ripped into a cover of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” and when it got to the “Don’t cry…” part, they completely stopped and just let the crowd sing it.  Pretty awesome to hear (at an estimate) 15,000 people who didn’t show up to see The Who sing a a Who song!  Then they played “Yellow Ledbetter” to send us home.  ALL with the house lights on!  That was really, really cool for some reason.  Plus, Vedder seems to have FINALLY remembered that he’s a frontman.  He was running all over the place and during “Baba” he climbed out into the crowd (ala Iggy Pop) and started throwing tambourines to people.  That. Was. Awesome.

We ducked out as Eddie was saying the final “goodnight,” hoping to beat some of the traffic getting out of Union Station. Unfortunately, we chose the wrong door, and I (that’s right, it was MY call, not Dave’s) lost my bearings and said, “We just need to go this way…” 

…sooooo…we walked pretty much all the way around the arena.  But, there were three pluses to that.  (1) We got to see the front of the old Keil Auditorium, which used to be a really cool venue.  (2) It took long enough that we DID miss most of the traffic! 🙂 (3) I got to say hello to a guy who was one of my best friends in high school that I haven’t seen in 10 years, because we just happened to walk by one another.  So that worked out kind of okay.  🙂

Got in the car, drove Dave to his car (we’d met at my office, since it’s about 5 minutes from the venue, and I drove to the show from there), and went home.

Really cool night.  Probably not the most awesome show they’ll do this year…but maybe one of the most awesome ones I’ll see this year.  And it should keep Dave happy for a little while until the twins let him leave the house again, ha ha.

Following are some pics I took with my cell-phone (sorry most of them suck…the stage-lighting didn’t make for good shots) and the set-list.

This is the shirt that was made just for St. Louis. Pretty freaking cool!
The stage when we first got there. We were super-early, and I wanted a shot from before anything happened. How often do you get to see an arena THAT empty? (It filled out nicely. Not a sell-out, but definitely not shameful.)
I took like 20 pictures...and most of them looked like this, due to stage lighting...sigh...
Again, blurry...but this does show what it's like when a band keeps playing when the union quits. 🙂
Not as bad as most of my shots... I think this is Jeff Ament during the intro to "Jeremy."

Set List I found via PJ’s message board… (But I’d have SWORN that they also did “Habit.”)

  • “Sometimes”
  • “Corduroy”
  • “All Night”
  • “Do the Evolution”
  • “Why Go”
  • “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town”
  • “In Hiding”
  • “Even Flow”
  • “Unthought Known”
  • “Save You”
  • “Down”
  • “Pilate”
  • “Severed Hand”
  • “Not For You”
  • “Glorified G”
  • “1/2 Full”
  • “Daughter”
  • “The Fixer”
  • —Encore Break 1—
  • “Inside Job”
  • “Just Breathe”
  • “Jeremy”
  • “Got Some”
  • “Rearviewmirror”
  • —Encore Break 2—
  • “Garden”
  • “Alive”
  • “Baba O’Riley” (The Who)
  • “Yellow Ledbetter”

All in all…I be ordering that bootleg, once they post it on PJ’s website.  🙂