Pearl Jam @ Xcel Energy Center 10/19/2014 - Review

12:52 PM

Pearl Jam has been that one band that has been on my "Bucket List" since junior high-school.  Their first two albums, Ten and Vs., were nothing short of staples in my rotation.  Forging my musical tastes along with other Seattle grunge acts like Nirvana and Sound Garden, Eddie Vedder and crew changed how I looked at current music.  Having never seen a live show, my expectations were all based on second- hand accounts and an occasional Palladia movie. Let's just say, I was far beyond impressed.


With no opening act, and Xcel Energy Center packed to the gills, as the clock struck 8:15 the anticipation in the building was thick.  Fans packed the floor, seats and everywhere with an even remotely decent view of the stage.  People had traveled great distances to be here and for some it was their very first concert ever.  For one father and son it was about to be a very special evening, and one I'm sure will stick with them for years to come.


As they took the stage for the who-knows-how-many-th time, the place went absolutely nuts.  I don't care if it was your first PJ show, or your 500th, it was goose-bump inciting.  I had literally been waiting for this show for 20 years and it was on.


Eddie had his signature bottle of wine, cracked it open as if to say "let's get this thing started".  As the crowd sang along, Vedder noted the crowd's difficulty hitting the high notes saying that we were "manly men from Minnesota".  Then wondered "Does it help to grab your balls?" if only partially sarcastic.


As they ripped through track after track, sprinkling in a little off every album, there were few moments that let up off the gas pedal.  The energy was high and it almost felt like the set list was rolling with the vibe the audience gave back.  The somewhat older audience, mysteriously lacking in flannel and crowd surfing, held nothing back when tracks from Ten began to play.  It took about 3 cords for 18,000 people to recognize tracks like "Daughter" and "Even Flow", and the volume level in the building jumped up a few octaves.


Proving once again that PJ's heart is bigger than their ego, they stopped the show to introduce Dr. Jakob Tolar, UofM physician leading a gene therapy team to treat EB (Epidermolysis Bullosa).  This genetic disorder causes the skin of those afflicted to be fragile to the point of blistering when rubbed.   To honor the kids he met while visiting the Uof M hospital, Vedder wore a bracelet made from their "high tech" bandages given to him by one of the kids.  True class and a huge heart.  To help support their efforts check out  http://causethewave.org and http://ebresearch.org or better yet donate at https://donate.ebresearch.org/



Diving back into the music, Pearl Jam could have wrapped up the show after their main set and left no one disappointed.  Rolling up on the 2 hour mark, it was a healthy set in it's own right.  As a fan of the guitar over all else, John McCready was shredding that thing all night and I could have listened to him play for 2 hours all by himself.  But they weren't done yet.


Encore 1 was a conglomoration of all kinds of goodness.  From "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town" to John Lennon's "Imagine", there wasn't a music fan in the building that wasn't on their feet.  Vedder even donned a Wild jersey for a big chunk of the set.


With the lights on the second encore was a bit more laid back at times.  Eddie played a couple tracks in a more acoustic sound.  With the whole band back on stage we got a version of Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World" as well as a pounding version of "Better Man".


As they left the stage, and I looked at my watch, we had just been privy to 3:15 of real rock and roll unlike most shows on a stage of that size.  It was a journey through their entire catalog and no one left disappointed.  Let's just hope it will happen again, possibly sooner than another 8 years from now.


Setlist:
Pendulum
Release
Nothingman
Go
Life Wasted
Corduroy
Lightning Bolt
Mind Your Manners
Save You
Even Flow
Sirens
Love Boat Captain
Daughter
I Got Id
The Fixer
Unthought Known
Given to Fly
Rearviewmirror

Encore 1:
Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
Thin Air
Footsteps
Imagine (John Lennon)
Last Kiss (Wayne Cochran)
Why Go
Do the Evolution
Porch

Encore 2:
Black
Setting Forth (Eddie Vedder)
Better Man
Alive
Rockin' in the Free World (Neil Young)
Indifference

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