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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.

So much good stuff, Fenway night one, 2016

I tell you what. No matter how many times I see these guys – and it’s not a lot by some standards, but by normal people standards it’s a ton, last night was my 20th show – every single time I walk away renewed and inspired. I want to be that guy who is literally shouting from the rooftops, “I love this band! I love the way they bring us together!” It really is my church, and last night I shouted/screamed/hollered in the choir. Sorry ladies in front of me. We were in 10 Club seats down near the pesky pole and it was fantastic, though we had the world’s busiest row as people were coming and going pretty much every song, and I was right next to the aisle where a constant stream of people were climbing up to get beer or to eliminate the beer they had just gotten. But it didn’t matter. People around us were way into it, we had the obligatory stoner 10 Club Bostonian near us, and it was really really a fun crowd to be in.

Fenway night one was fucking great. The set was littered with good stuff: kicking it off with the Release/Long Road combo was a beauty. It was low key for a while (All Those Yesterdays!) and then kicked into gear with Given to Fly, which, I don’t care how many times I’ve seen it, it’s so fantastic live, all those arms and bodies flying up, it’s a beautiful thing. They played my three requirements for an awesome show: GTF, a rousing, kickass DTE, and Corduroy. I feel like those three songs, along with Release, make for a pretty complete Pearl Jam experience. But obviously it didn’t end there. Faithfull. Grievance. Down. That fun, rocking, fast Patriot. Strangest Tribe (what the hell? So cool. I’m no fanatic about that song but it was very cool to hear it). A beauty of a Wasted Reprise. Comfortably Numb (more on that in a second). Draw the Line? Ed channeling Steven Tyler very convincingly there. Then I’ve Got a Feeling and Baba to close it out. Ho-ly shit. 

And I need to say something about Masters of War, sandwiched in there between DTE and Patriot, because it was a stirring, intense version that literally made me shiver. I don’t think Ed has ever sounded better on that song, maybe even including the first one at the Bob Dylan tribute. Actually, Ed sounded pretty great all night. They all did, but I feel like Ed’s voice – to be clear, my favorite voice- sounded rich and sharp and clear in a way that was different. Maybe it was the ball cap.

The non-musical highlight of the night for me was when Ed called for his uke, and then none other but Yoooooooooouk brought it out for him. It was just so sweet and *punny* and perfect. I loved it, and I was laughing at the “uuuuukkkkkkeeees” before he came out because it was such a familiar call in Fenway. Reminder: I live in Seattle but was born and raised and collegiated in New England (and look how well that turned out, I can even make up new words like collegiated).

I have two very helpful pieces of constructive criticism for the band: (1) in Comfortably Numb, let Stone sing (!) – or talk – the talking part. That would contrast so ridiculously well with Ed soaring in the chorus, like it did when he sang it with a Roger. That would be some other-level shit. (2) Sweet mother do away with the embarrassing video effects when Mike is soloing. The video effects are so 80s hair band I can’t. I can only assume they are being ironic.

No doubt the band will listen closely to my brilliant contributions. Last night was so kickass, so ridiculously fun and inspired and full of life. I cannot wait to see what happens on Sunday.

And lucky us, King Video MFSYNC172 has some gems for us to enjoy!

That beauty of a Masters of War:

Rocking Fast Patriot:

The uber rarity Strangest Tribe:

Draw the Line:

and super fun I’ve Got a Feeling

[edited to add] Oh look he put up some more!

Release to kick it off (weird to see that in the daylight):

Long Road to ease us in:

All Those Yesterdays because it is always awesome:

And full band Society, on which Ed sounded amazing: