Welcome Guest | Register | Login

Pearl Jam Review: Band is closing out Philadelphia's Spectrum with a Bang!

"Bookmark



By Joe Vallee and Ryan Downs

Review for Tuesday, October 27th 2009

I think it's safe to say if you are between the ages of 28-35 (as I am), Pearl Jam has had an effect on you in some way musically if you grew up with and appreciated the era of grunge. In my case, it was Rich Allen, my former band mate (and new dad!) who along with his younger brother Ted, would write the band's name on every single notebook I had when I wasn't looking in study hall. We actually attempted to cover a few of their tunes as well, but ultimately decided it was better left to the band to do their thing and not have anyone "degrade" their body of work, which only consisted of three albums at the time. As much as we dug Pearl Jam however, we could never go see them due to their much publicized battle with Ticketmaster, which went on for nearly five years.

So when the battle ran its course and we finally scored tickets for the band in the summer of 1998, we were ecstatic to say the least. That ecstasy was short-lived however, when a group of ten of us showed up on the (former titled) Camden Waterfront lawn and mistakenly became the target of some bruisers who thought we were part of another crowd. When all was said and done, I had been literally knocked out from behind. I still suffer from the fractured jaw I received (just ask me to close it when you see me and you'll know what I mean), and some other friends were banged up pretty bad. After my "smaller" friend "dispatched" about three of those guys (a black belt DOES pay off sometimes), most of us sat through the concert bloody and bruised. Needless to say, I did not particularly enjoy Pearl Jam the first time around. I had not seen them since that summer night in 1998. And for 11 years, it kind of bothered me.

That was one of several reasons why I just HAD to see one of the band's four performances that will close out the Spectrum this week.  And when Rachel Spivak and the good people at Live Nation  hooked Philly2Philly up with some tics to Tuesday's show, I brought along my right hand man Ryan Downs and it was on. 
 
As the montage featuring the history of the Spectrum concluded with the Rocky theme, Pearl Jam took to the stage at nine o'clock. Eddie Vedder (who donned a Social Distortion  T-Shirt in honor of the opening band) and the boys wasted little time ripping into a handful of rockers including "Corduroy," "Whipping," "Hail, Hail," new album "Back Spacer's" "Supersonic," and the classic "Dissident."  Vedder then set the tone for the Phillies' World Series hopes with "Faithfull," accenting the song's chorus "We all believe." The band concluded the first set with "Why Go?," one of only two tracks off of their debut album "Ten" to be featured in the set list (the other being "Black").  Guitarist Mike McCready's Hendrix-like flair behind the head solo highlighted the song and provided a demonstrative ending to the initial set.
 
The band returned with bassist Jeff Ament (playing acoustic guitar) and Vedder in a stripped down format playing rarity "Bee Girl," "Just Breathe," and "The End"- the latter two songs accompanied by a Philadelphia area string quartet.  The night also featured such rarities as "Parachutes," "Leash," "Rival," "Ghost," and  "Mankind," sung by rhythm guitarist Stone Gossard.  Prior to Gossard taking the microphone, Vedder playfully joked that he had quit the band a week prior to the show. 
 
The energy and intensity of songs such as "The Fixer" (penned by drummer and ex- Soundgarden member Matt Cameron) and "Do the Evolution" from "Yield" furthermore proved that Pearl Jam's days as a premiere live act are far from over.  Vedder's vocal prowess was on full display when the band played "Love Reign O'er Me" (with keyboards played perfectly by Boom Gaspar) during the encore, proving that the soon-to-be forty five year-old is just as exciting as he was in 1993 and that he has shown no signs whatsoever of slowing down.  Shortly after the classic "Who" cover, the band ended their set with Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World," with Vedder inexplicably tossing tambourines to the crowd. Included in this mix were two men holding the American Flag, capping off what promises to be a memorable week of shows to close a building worthy of such a fantastic sendoff.   
 
 
SET LIST:
 
Corduroy
Whipping
Hail, Hail
Supersonic
Dissident
Unthought Known
Faithfull
Parachutes
Unemployable
Immortality
Green Disease
Not For You
Rival
Nothingman
Ghost
Do the Evolution
Why Go
 
 
ENCORE 1:
 
Bee Girl
Just Breathe
The End
All Those Yesterdays
State of Love and Trust
Mankind
The Fixer
Go
 
ENCORE 2:
 
Daughter
Love Reign O'er Me
Black
Leash
Rearviewmirror
Rockin' In the Free World