Category Archives: eddie vedder

Mothers of the Disappeared, Ed with U2, Seattle 2017 (last night)

Ooooooooooooooo this was a special one. [Also, hi. It’s been a while. Life, you know?] I was a monster U2 fan in middle and high school and right through college. Back then, I’d easily identify the Joshua Tree as my favorite album of all time, and it still ranks awfully high on my list. I saw them on the Pop tour, and then a bunch of times on the Elevation tour, and they are great live (though personally I didn’t love seeing them a bunch of times on the same tour, even as a superfan, because the set (and banter) doesn’t change much night to night). I admit I stopped paying much attention the last few albums, but they still have a real spot in my heart. When I heard they were doing a Joshua Tree revival tour, I fell into a U2 revival of sorts, and couldn’t wait. We had great seats, with an unobstructed view (victory for short me!). It felt a bit like a greatest hits show (no complaints on that front!), opening with an impressive string of Sunday Bloody Sunday, New Year’s Day, A Sort of Homecoming, Bad, Pride. Impressive, and everyone was screaming along.

And that wasn’t even the main event. When they started into the Joshua Tree, I got all the chills, and they unfurled this huge *amazing* landscape behind the main stage, with really remarkable videography of American landscapes and people. Honestly, I don’t know if it’s possible for an album to have so many consistently great songs. Where the Streets Have No Name, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, With or Without You, Bullet the Blue Sky, Running to Stand Still….the list goes on. I’m partial to the less well-known songs as well (I mean, relatively. Everyone who owns that album knows all the songs, not just the hits), especially One Tree Hill and……Mothers of the Disappeared.

Bono’s mic wasn’t great (the sound generally wasn’t amazing, I didn’t think, but it’s a humongous football stadium so what did I expect), so when he said “where’s Eddie Vedder?” I wasn’t 100% sure that’s what he said, but then he said “the spirit of Seattle….spirit of Chicago…spirit of America” and out popped our man EV, midway through the song. This isn’t the first time he’s joined them, but oh man. On this song? Ed killed it, it was beautiful. They didn’t put the video up on the main screen, as there was instead a moving portrait of a line of women holding candles (presumably for the Disappeared), but Ed sounded SO good, I was alight with Pride. That line “Night hangs like a prisoner /stretched over black and blue,” is probably my favorite lyric on the whole album, maybe in the whole U2 catalog, and to hear my favorite singer sing it, with U2, in Seattle, whoa. So. Lucky. This is a decent video, but I’ll update with a better one when I find it.

The rest of the show was great, and they played my actual favorite U2 song, Ultraviolet (Light my Way), off Achtung Baby in front of a lovely tribute to a whole slew of awfully kickass women. It was perfect, and the rest of the set was just gravy.

ANGEL and a bunch of other awesome, Fenway night two, 2016

Fenway night one was fucking awesome. And yet. And yet! Fenway night two? I don’t even have the words for Fenway night two. We were down on the turf, in B5, so, closer to the stage as compared to night one, but I couldn’t see much as I am the shortest Pearl Jam fan in the world. I could see the screens and if I tiptiptiptippie-toed and everyone aligned their heads just so, I could see the band. But I got to lean up against the Green Monster, and I got to look across the diamond and up at the Fenway Park sign from second base, so sweet mother, I was so grateful for the tickets.

I was surprised they started out slow again, but it was fantastic. Those early songs really sounded great, Ed’s voice just sailing. I tweeted at some point that Ed’s voice is a fucking MARVEL, and I feel like more than any show I remember being at, this one really highlighted how powerful it is. Maybe because the sound was just great, maybe because his voice is rested. But Eddie Vedder’s voice is a goddamn national treasure. I mean: Pendulum, Off He Goes, Nothing As It Seems, and Nothingman? Are you kidding me? Wishlist is kind of a “meh” for me, but then we got Interstellar Overdrive->Corduroy, and we started flying. 

Animal was raw, as it should be. Actually, there were several songs that were way more raw and angry than I’ve seen in a long time. Not For You was snarling, Ed was PISSED during a super heavy Deep, and did some old school crazy eyes. Go (yay!) was full of venom and angry longing. We got Immortality, an epic RVM, my required DTE. I mean that second encore? I would change nothing. Contender for best second encore ever? I say so. Smile->Go->Love Reign O’er Me(!!!!!!)->DTE->Breath(!!!)->Alive->RITFW (with fucking J Mascis)->Yellow Ledbetter. I mean COME ON. HOW DO YOU IMPROVE ON THAT?

It wasn’t all perfect. Hail, Hail, which I love, was a mess, and some of the transitions were kind of awkward (looking at you, Mind Your Manners into Betterman), but oh my god this is what makes these concerts so special. 

We had a wall of bros in front of us, and at first they kind of annoyed me, because they seemed so still – not jumping, not freaking out. But it also reminded me: HEY, I don’t get to dictate how people enjoy a show. They were fucking loving it, and if they don’t jump and dance and just want to soak it in, more power to them. It’s not up to me, so I did my thing, and they did theirs, and we all shared a big high five and several enormous grins. And high five to the guy behind me whose birthday was yesterday. Pearl Jam fans are the best.

Now, listen. I am not a show crier. I’m generally kind of a crier, but not really at shows. I think I cried once at a Tori show when she covered Landslide, but come on. So did every other person in the room. So when they started playing Angel (I can’t believe I just got to type that sentence: SO WHEN THEY STARTED PLAYING ANGEL), I was ecstatic. But when it started that climb, that beauty of a climb, I was totally overcome and started openly weeping. This song – it’s not just that they never play it. That makes it special, of course, but this is the song I can listen to on repeat, for hours on end, in any of the few forms that are out there. I love it, and I can’t explain why exactly, but it’s one of my top three pieces of music in the world. Maybe even top two (looking at you, It’s Ok tag from Virginia Beach in 2000), and while I knew they played it in Denver, and had a few listens, it didn’t knock my socks off. I mean, so cool they played it, but not life-changing. I didn’t dare hope we’d get it. And then we did, and it was perfect. I mean, it was so good. This song is obviously about Ed’s voice, and Ed’s voice is my favorite voice, and it’s so raw and open in this song, and it was just. Oooof. No words, honestly. This is what this band can do, right? It took me ages to get my shit back together through Footsteps (because that’s not really a good weeping recovery song!) and my t-shirt sleeves were all sopping and eyeliner-stained. 

Holy shit. Here’s Angel. That I got to see. At Fenway Park. Captured so ridiculously well by MFSYNC172, True American Hero.

And here’s some more. That biting (ha!) Animal:

Draw the Line with Tom Hamilton (seriously, Ed can really channel Steve Tyler):

A beauty of an Immortality:

Footsteps, the world’s worst song to make you stop crying:

Smile, which is always amazing:

My first ever Love Reign O’er Me which is the song that made me start this blog:

And Breath.

Also this is this first time I’ve ever bought a poster, and I could be happier it’s this one.

The Needle and the Damage Done & Wash, Quebec City (last night!) 2016

Quebec City got a pretty fantastic setlist last night. I went to tweet the highlights and literally ran out of characters, so let’s see: started with Of the Girl (always awesome as a slow burner start), Last Exit (thereby lending credence to my #lastexittheory), You Are, Whipping, NAIS, I’m Open (!!), MFC, EV playing the Needle and the Damage Done solo, Thumbing My Way, Wash, Sad, Surrender…. Whoa. That’s a lot of awesome AND they hit a lot of the awesome regulars as well. Really, a pretty thoroughly awesome setlist.

Here’s a pretty solid capture of this EV solo beauty.

And it’s a little wibbly wobbly, but here’s that Wash:

 

In My Tree, Picture in a Frame, & Angie/Oceans, Philly (last night!) 2016

Wow, so Philly last night, huh. Half wondered at one point if it was a Twitter hoax (I mean really: All Night, Lowlight, In the Moonlight, In My Tree + Education all in the first set is just goofy awesome).

Our man MFC172 was there, so we get the benefit of some typically great quality videos, because he is awesomesauce. A bunch of the goodies he got are here in this playlist (including another Education and that Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns). but here’s a few highlights.

First, In My Tree, the official Favorite Song Ever of watch it go to fire.

Mr EV solo on the Tom Waits beauty Picture in a Frame.

Then, this awesome Angie/Oceans mash-up (which they happily played instead of the wretched Dirty Fucking Frank). They got off to a rough start but then it worked:

 

Sleeping by Myself (sort of), Hampton VA 2016

My friend C sent me a giggling text when this happened, and I’m pleased to report it’s as sweetly goofy as promised. EV just really could not get his shit together and it’s exactly the hilarious kind of flop that makes any given Pearl Jam show special and unplanned and unique. And they do pull it off in the end.

Rise & Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns, Columbia SC 2016

Well. Prince died yesterday and that just colored everything purple. I hopped on Twitter just to see the PJ buzz right at the moment the story was first breaking, and I feel so, so lucky to have KEXP (Seattle’s amazing and wonderful local listener-supported radio station that is the best every day but especially on days like yesterday) to turn to, to grieve with and celebrate with. It is the best in music community and yesterday, listening, was a profound experience.

Sounds like Columbia was special last night, not least because they covered a bit of Purple Rain. EV made an appropriately aghast and respectful speech about the awesomeness of Prince, and I’m glad for the fans that were all together getting through it.

I’m looking for footage of All Those Yesterdays because that’s always special. In the meantime, here’s a great capture of a lovely Rise, which EV played solo.

And here’s Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns. Gorgeous. Will update when there’s better video.

Edited to add some great photos from @recently40 (with permission), one of the inaugural members of the amazing new #PJMollies group that will soon be taking over Pearl Jam concerts everywhere. Please, join us, if you are a Mollie who spells your name correctly.