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Release, Who You Are, & All Or None, Philly (the holy shit show) 2016

Philly night two. Oh. My. God. You know what? Being a fan of this band, it’s something special. I know I’ve said this before, but I just feel so lucky that my favorite band is THIS particular band. Because not only does their music move me so much sometimes that I can’t breathe, not only do they seem like genuinely cool people who care about the music and the fans, not only are they still going strong after 25 years, providing the soundtrack to my whole entire life, but they also craft these live experiences that matter, that send chills all the way across the country and make me smile from ear to ear while I’m making guacamole in my kitchen for my kids. Sure, I would have loved to be there last night, but my overwhelming feeling as I watched that setlist roll in was gratitude for this band and joy – seriously, joy – for the people that were there.

I won’t lie, I got a little weepy thinking about this Release, played at the end of the complete Ten, after 25 years of strife and struggle and euphoria and so much life. Especially after my buddy C pointed out that this is the first time they’ve played it this tour. Thanks to MFC172, we have a beauty of a video to relive it (all these videos are thanks to him, and he’s so good at this, I don’t know how he does it but I’m so grateful that he does), and guys. It’s special. Really heavy and really lovely and really just everything Release is and should be and can be.

There’s so much awesome to pick out from this show, apart from the awesomeness of Ten start to finish, including that Throw Your Hatred Down and Bee Girl of all things, but these next two? Made the setlist pretty much perfect.

Who You Are, my white whale, and when Jeff, Ed, and Stone are all playing together and EV’s voice just soars at around 2:10, I just can’t. It’s perfect. It’s perfect. It’s perfect.

And All or None, that gorgeous droner of a song.

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:


In My Tree, Sad, & Habit, Hampton VA (last night!) 2016

Oh but Hampton got a beauty of an In My Tree last night – my favorite song ever in the history of the world! Listen to how EV lets go early, in that first verse, right around 0:50. Beauty. And all those hands waving? Gives me the regular warm fuzzies.

My buddy C was there last night, and Sad was the song she was most excited about. A clean, lovely version, and I’m awfully pleased she got it!

And (as C called it) a “very growly” Habit!

I’ll update the above as better video rolls in (except maybe not the In My Tree because those hands waving…).

And finally, did you hear that Pearl Jam cancelled their Raleigh show? (/sarcasm) Here’s Ed’s speech and I Am a Patriot:

Yeah, they did it. I said a few days back that I thought they should, and I’m proud of them for doing it. I think it’s the right choice, and I hope it helps the idiots who put this law into place to realise that there are real economic and social consequences to legislating discrimination and hate. I know fans are bummed, but I hope most of them have a reaction like my friend C, who flew from Seattle for the Hampton and Raleigh shows (she told me I could post this, from her texts last night):

I am proud of them. I can be sad for me, but it’s so much bigger. I understand people who are out limited vacation time and money. It sucks. But this is people’s lives and entire existences…Some part of me is relieved I’m not putting money into NC…They are good people. It matters to me that they are good people who believe what I believe. It’s part of loving them.

That’s basically how I feel about the whole thing. This is way bigger than a rock show, and I feel like I have a pretty strong appreciation for how amazing and life-altering a Pearl Jam rock show can be.

And just for some perspective, who has the numbers on how many concerts Pearl Jam has ever cancelled? I feel like other bands are canceling shows all the time, because someone’s sick or injured or has some drama going on. And I can’t remember a single time that Pearl Jam has ever done it (other than in 96, obviously) – the thought that they are “screwing over the fans” or didn’t think about the fans is just so ludicrous I can’t even take it moderately seriously. Obviously they put a lot of thought into this decision, it’s not something they did lightly, and it was a hard decision. I think it was the right one.

By waiting until they did, they not only maximized the media attention (rather than canceling right after Bruce), getting people talking about it again, and further, I think they genuinely hoped something would change that would allow them to play the show in good conscience. But nothing did, and they had to make a tough call. I’m proud to be a Pearl Jam fan, and I’m sorry for the fans (and the band, too) who are missing out on the Raleigh show.

Sonic Reducer, Red Mosquito & In the Moonlight, Tampa 2016 (last night!)

Oh count yourself among those hailed lucky ones, friends, because our champion MFC172 is on the road with Pearl Jam and uploading some typically super-high quality awesome video shots so the rest of us can feel like we’re there, too. You don’t even understand how great his videos always are. I reckon Pearl Jam should hire him.

Also, holy shit but the guys are opening with some serious force this tour so far, no?

Here! Three highlights from last night: a kickass, rocking Sonic Reducer, which is always a highlight, as far as I’m concerned.

A glorious Red Mosquito, which when they played that sandwiched between Lowlight and Hard to Imagine I could do nothing but shake my head at the awesomeness raining down in Tampa.

And finally, In the Moonlight! How fun is that? And the bonus of Ed’s funny little intro story of his life as a security guard with fancy cars (“the one with the horse on it”) that turns into an ode to the awesomness of Matt Fucking Cameron.

Oh, and he’s got more (that’s his full playlist from last night – Come Back! Baba! Little Wing! Lukin! Animal!), so go follow MFC172 on YouTube (also MFSYNC172).

I Am a Patriot & Who You Are, Fort Lauderdale 2016 (last night!)

Oh you lucky bastards at the tour opener. Lots of goodness, and it sure sounded like the band was playing great and full and wonderful. Awesome. And when Go kicks off a tour, you know it’s going to be good.

From my perspective (and no, I wasn’t there, have I mentioned that? A few times? So my perspective is basically watching the setlist roll in on Twitter and a little bit of jaggley Periscope which did NOT include these two picks), highlights were Who You Are and EV coming out to play I Am a Patriot solo, but I am 100% sure there were a zillion others.

One other thing. For someone who is so obsessed with watching live Pearl Jam from any source I can muster, I am 100% useless at contributing to the supply. There is just no way I can get my shit together enough in the middle of a show to film anything, I’m way too caught up in being there in the moment. So you? Never, ever, ever feel obligated to film and share. Only ever do it because you want to, not because you feel like you have to. We’ll survive.

When I find Who You Are, I’ll update this post with it. For now, from Joe on the Twitter machine, here’s a I Am a Patriot.

Updated to add: here’s that Who You Are, a bit buzzy but pretty awesome. Also nice lyric flub at the start! Will update again with a smoother sound when it pops up, can’t wait to hear that last verse on the boot.

Around the Bend, Phoenix 2013

Well, there goes 2013, off around the bend.

I hope all you wonderful people have a super fun, safe New Year’s Eve, and a happy, healthy, and bright New Year. Thanks so much for all your comments and likes and retweets and favorites and general awesomeness. It’s been quite a year to be a PJ fan, and doubly fun to share it with you all. 2014 promises to be an epic year for me personally, and I can’t wait for it to start!

From Phoenix earlier this year, here’s a gem (only the 10th time they’ve played it!).