Pearl Jam has been absolutely shredding the stage these last few weeks since their tour began in May (well, April if you count the London Astoria pre-show). Right out of the gate, Pearl Jam are rocking relentlessly, and bringing out some treats for the setlists. They are converting even the hard-hearted — the jaded who think of them as has-beens who can’t rock any more — and I couldn’t be happier. Here is a sampling of the blistering beauty:
Leash – Boston 5/25
THIS was A Moment. If you only download one track from this post, let it be this one. Leash had not been played live since 1994 (also in Boston, back on 4/11/94) and just hearing the crackling anticipation in the air with the opening notes gives me the chills. It makes me smile because they get the opening order backwards (drums, then bass) and it takes them a few counts to fall into the correct cadence, but then, like a familiar lover that you remember by touch – on a primal level – it all falls back into place.
And if you’ve never heard the kickass song from whence this blog derives its name, now is your chance. I have to say, few things make me happier than the thought of you, the reader, in the heat of a glorious sweaty moment at a Pearl Jam concert, hearing this lyric and briefly thinking of my blog. It’s an anthem to youth and the power of music and everything summed up into a few lines.
“Troubled souls unite, we got ourselves tonight
I am fuel, you are friends
we got the means to make amends
I am lost, I’m no guide
but I’m by your side
I am right by your side…
…Delight, delight, delight in our youth…”
Parachutes – Boston 5/25
There was a sign campaign for this song to be played, apparently. Crazy fans mistaking concerts for democratic rallies. But it worked, and PJ first debuted it live for a very pleased Boston crowd. It is one of my favorites off the new album; a lovely song, even if Ed fudges the lyrics just a little bit here.
And a few from Camden 5/27 . . .
A smoldering Memorial Day weekend show, breathless reviews from those who were there. I have to say, it is quite an intense setlist. Here were some searing choice cuts:
Do The Evolution
Fresh out of the cage, Pearl Jam starts things out hard, fast, and right. After blazing through two of the hardest songs on their new album, Life Wasted and Worldwide Suicide, they tear into this riff, which would make me want to smash things if I was that kind of gal.
Then without taking a breath they launch straight into this roiling, churning pick from Vs. LISTEN to the crowd sing along with all that is in them.
Marker In The Sand
This is still one of my other favorite tracks on the new album. I love the blending of the fierce pace of the opening verse, the soaring anthemic chorus, and the final seamless melding of the two at the end of the song.
After a fairly family-friendly singalong first encore (Betterman, Elderly Woman, Last Kiss, etc), PJ returns to the stage for a thrashing second set. THIS is insane. I almost died once in a pit of people during this song. Between the guttural screaming and the wah-wahs, this is elemental concert power at its best.
Another tightly-wound and sparsely vicious favorite off the new album.
Yellow Ledbetter –> Star-Spangled Banner
Even though some fans have expressed that they could do without this becoming-typical closer, to me the first notes of the sweet electric-bluesy wail is the sound of the end of a PJ show. And what better way to celebrate the U.S. holiday of Memorial Day than some Hendrix-esque freedom rock with the Star Spangled Banner drawled out on Mike’s electric guitar? What a closer.
July 2, Denver, here I come.
Credits: Some of these terrific pics are from the Tour Photos section of the Pearl Jam site, taken by the fabulous Kerensa Wight.