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: