Pearl Jam was unstoppable on Sunday night. By the time I exited Pacific Coliseum I was in a euphoric daze. This was one of the best shows I have ever seen performed at this venue. With openers, Mudhoney, playing a stellar set as well this easily made it into my list of favorite shows of all time.
Entering a venue which is hosting a Pearl Jam show is like walking into a family reunion. There is this feeling of familiarity and oneness in the air. As I walked around I saw the smiling faces of excited fans. The groups of individuals that attend these shows are truly united and will always go out of their way to help one another.
The first thing to do at any PJ show is to acquire the date and venue specific poster. This is a staple in my world and I always get excited when Eddie and the boys perform. They always have amazing artists produce one of kind prints for their shows. This night was no different. The famed pop-artist Ron English took a stab at his first concert poster ever. Check it out over at ExpressoBeans.com (Ron English Print). It was an unusual design but I really likes the content.
I made my way over to my seat and sat eagerly. Within a few minutes the lights dropped and the members of Mudhoney took the stage. These guys were full of piss and vinegar. Mark Arm, lead singer, has this amazing rasp to his voice. When they jumped into an aggressive Touch Me I’m Sick, you could feel the dirty in his vocals. Throughout their set you could feel an influence of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. They definitely pull in that dark aura when they play.
During the set, the band was joined by Mike McCready for an onslaught of guitar. The three guitarist fed of one another, peaking into a trifecta of awesomeness. The crowd was going nuts over the spectacle.
It was now time for a brief hiatus as the opener retreated and the stage was reset for PJ. The hordes ventured off to replenish their fluids and empty their tanks. Some worked their way over the merchandise booths to buy some keepsakes. But the mass of people quickly returned and stared at the stage in anticipation.
Finally the lights once again fell. An explosion of excitement ripped through the stadium. It was time to get our PJ20 on, it was time to celebrate twenty years of this amazing group.
The group opened with Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town, and that was it. From that point on the entire show was one big sing along. Eddie was on the ball, and draped his emotions over the crowd with every note. The first five songs or so, were slapped on, one after the other. It was an aggressive opening. Mike McCready and Stone Gossard were possessed, leaping around the stage like a couple of wild animals. Matt Cameron was sharp and powerful, striking his skins with a intense precision.
The night carried one maintaining this high energy, passionate presentation for over two hours. It was epic to say the least. To add to this extended performance, was a beautiful set list:
Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town Hail Hail Save You Animal Got Some Given To Fly Pilate Unthought Known Garden Even Flow World Wide Suicide Setting Forth (Eddie Vedder song) Corduroy Unemployable Present Tense Wishlist Glorified G Lukin Porch
Encore: Bee Girl Just Breathe Off He Goes Mankind State Of Love And Trust Olé Alive
Encore 2: Chloe Dancer (Mother Love Bone cover) Crown of Thorns (Mother Love Bone cover) Smile Search and Destroy (Iggy & The Stooges cover) Rockin’ in the Free World (Neil Young cover) Yellow Ledbetter
By the end of the night, I was in a daze. Pearl Jam had taken my brain out of its little container and wrestled it into submission. These men came along and proved that their alt-rock grunge is still alive and well, and can still command a crowds undivided attention. Eddie and the boys felt fresh and alive. They were poetry in motion. I raise a glass to them and to the members of Mudhoney, you rocked the hell out of us.