Our very own aficionado of the 'Introducing' section, Mark Wincott recently headed up to Leeds to see the mighty Pearl Jam, when his feet were back on solid ground, he put pen to paper (well, fingers to keyboard) and poured out his thoughts, here's the end result....
A set of thirty-six songs, yes, that’s right, thirty-six songs played over three hours of pure rock n roll music from Seattle’s finest Pearl Jam, at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.
“Good Evening”, opening words spoken by front man Eddie Vedder, that was the intro over and the fun was about to begin. For over twenty years Pearl Jam remained together through thick and thin along with the odd change of drummer, from original Dave Krusen to the formidable and reliable Matt Cameron (also of Soundgarden).
New and old, veteran gig goers to first timers are at this show, six members together are true rock icons. Guitar solos from Mike McCready are spine tingling. Jeff Ament on bass in the background with Stone Gossard, allowing Eddie to interact with their faithful fans saying that this is the second time playing Leeds, but all have been here before, before any of them were in the band. A shout out to 'The Who live at Leeds' record.
Eddie Vedder’s wonderful interaction with the crowd showed that the band themselves know where they are from, still fans of music that love to play with a smile and give their all, very reminiscent of how Bruce Springsteen treats his fans.
During the gig many T-shirts and flags were given to the band. A fan threw their mobile phone onto the stage, Eddie in jovial form picked this up and throughout the set began taking selfies, Yes! That’s right; Eddie and the band took selfies! That lucky mobile phone owner now has some unique pictures of Pearl Jam, a dream come true that is for sure!
Powering through classics such ‘Elderly woman’, ‘Once’ and ‘Tremor Christ’ and their first single from their latest album Lightning Bolt, ‘Mind your Manners’. Finally ending with a powerful rock out version of ‘Rearviewmirror’ the walls shaking, the crowd surfers surfing and Mike McCready proving as he has for many years that he doesn’t just play the guitar he makes love to it.
Eddie, Stone, Jeff, Mike, Matt and Boom head off stage....
Back on for the encore, Eddie tells us about the death of his uncle John, from cancer and praised medical staff with how they help people with this terrible illness, this gets rapturous applause in admiration for the doctors and nurses, dedicating ‘Man of the Hour' to these people and his lost loved one who he held the hand of as he passed away. ‘All or none’, follows this, which are two highly emotional songs befitting the moment.
A fan with a sign asked for ‘Fatal’ to be played, as it’s her thirtieth Pearl Jam show, Eddie picked up the sign and they decides to play it, with the person on screen singing every word as if they were up on stage with them, like we all do whilst in the audience. The section came to an end when ‘Porch’, another classic from their debut album Ten, they remained true to themselves and play like it’s the first time they have sung it.
Final encore by a band with pure longevity that play with their hearts and leave everything on stage, the humour he shows is pure love, miles away from the 'grunge' era they have been labelled with over the years.
‘Smile’ opens the second encore from the 'No Code' album. ‘Black’ has many eyes weeping for lost souls, no dry eyes in the house as “But why, why, why can't it be, can't it be mine?” the guitar singing “Too doo doo too, too doo doo” the crowd oblige and join in. Eddie belts out “We belong...We belong together, together....” the spine tingling music that gives us peace of mind. ‘Jeremy’, ‘State of Love and trust’ and ‘Alive’ one after the other and ends with covers ‘Baba O’Reilly’, ‘All Along the watchtower’....the lights are already up. The guys in the yellow jackets at the side of the stage are ready to do their job, which Eddie acknowledges and informs the crowd that 'these guys have been waiting 15 minutes for us to finish'. Sadly the end arrives with ‘Indifference’.
Three hours and 36 songs of music that we grow with, do you remember the first time you heard Ten? Vs? and the cassette of Vitalogy? The evolution of Pearl Jam that sell out stadiums, festivals and the First Direct Arena in Leeds. A legacy continues to grow stronger and stronger and the smiles on faces throughout the gig is why we all love music and why Pearl Jam are one of the greatest rock n roll bands to grace earth. Biased? Yeah I am, go see them, you will NOT be disappointed.
Review by Mark Wincott
- Of the Girl
- Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
- Hail Hail
- Mind Your Manners
- Lightning Bolt
- Tremor Christ
- Who You Are
- Even Flow
- Push Me, Pull Me
- Do the Evolution
- Don't Gimme No Lip
- Army Reserve
- Present Tense
- Given to Fly
- Setting Forth
- Leaving Here
- State of Love and Trust
- Baba O'Riley
- All Along the Watchtower