Category Archives: general

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.

Breakerfall, Grievance, & Rival, Toronto (the Binaural show) 2016

GUYS the most exciting thing that has happened to me in the last week is that my family has sorted out some major life plans and it all means….drum roll please…that I get to go to Fenway in August for both shows and I am so happy about it. Pearl Jam retweeted my excitement, so that was sort of exciting too!

In the midst of said life plan organizing, it somehow slipped by me that the spring tour is almost over! Ahh! One more show? How did that happen? What are we going to DO with ourselves?

Toronto got a great show last night, that first encore was extraordinary what with Imagine -> Let Me Sleep -> Comfortably Numb leading it off. Pretty awesome. But the best part was Binaural back to front, and MFC172 was there so you know the video’s awesome. Here’s three from that:

A breakneck Breakerfall intro-ed by Ed with a blabbering about how many shows they’ve played in Toronto (and how many they have yet to play):

Grievance! I feel like they never play this sucker, and it’s so great.

And Rival, which is so awesome, and I will always post.

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:

 

Leatherman, Leash, & All or None + those covers, NYC (last night) 2016

Oh they brought it last night. That first encore in particular was a beauty: EV covering the Beatles, then All or None, Pendulum, Present Tense, Breath (can we get a woohoo for @Letkemann and her crazy awesome 150th show during which she got to sing this song out with EV?), SOLAT and Porch. Sweet mother, I don’t know if I could come up with a better encore, and by all accounts there was all kinds of magic afoot. And our fella MFC172 was there to capture a bunch of it pretty durned well.

They played the Man trilogy! So fun. Here’s Leatherman:

And even though it makes me cringe a little for Mr Vedder’s vocal cords, here’s that Leash.

I’ll pretty much post this one any time they play it: All or None.

And…NOT TO MENTION Cheap trick coming out (early!) for a sweet cover of Surrender.

AND then Sting of all people coming out for a great Driven to Tears (a cover I’ve missed!).

Rats & Footsteps, NYC (last night!) 2016

Pretty solid setlist last night, and I get a strong sense that there was some general MSG magic going on though I admit I wasn’t paying as much attention as usual! I will tonight – Avocado’s 10 years old somehow – so I’m guessing they’ve got something special up their sleeve. Avocado has never been a top tier album for me (I know), as it came out when I was moving across continents and had a few other things going on. I never really connected with it. But I’ve had a recent Riot Act renaissance and I’m guessing and Avocado one isn’t far behind.

The setlist last night wasn’t overwhelmingly awesome (I promise I’m not turning into that guy) but they played a ton of great stuff and that special energy seemed to be there. I love that Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns is in such high rotation these days. And any show that gets In Hiding is a treasure. Also, they played the Doobie Brothers, which is super weird, but it coincided perfectly with the arrival on my phone of an alert from the Seattle Police Dept about the May Day protests downtown, and I swear, they played that song in response. The guys sound GREAT.

I get to be super lazy when our man MFC172 is on the case, these are all his typically fantastic videos.

I giggled a bit to see they played Rats:

And a glorious, moving Footsteps: