Saturday, June 10, 2006

Pearl Jam in East Rutherford, Part 2

Night two of my 2006 Pearl Jam experience came two nights later on June 3. Same venue, but greater excitement. It should come as no surprise that, as Pearl Jam ended Leg 1 of their 2006 world tour, the anticipation was for something great. The band generally closes out tour legs with powerhouse performances and, I mean, more instilled with power than a "normal" show.

No offense to Jill, but I had a better date on Saturday, in the form of Mrs. BillyBlog, the mother of my children. We were also blessed with the kindness of friends who lent us their vehicle, which made travelling to and from the Meadowlands a more pleasant experience.

We arrived early and faced the first challenge of the evening: getting a tour poster (above). Due to the venue vendors ignoring of the band's policy, the posters have been sold in multiple copies to the same people, despite a prohibition against doing so. The end result has been that tons of fans have been locked out and have been forced to succomb to the eBay free market system, which ends up selling the posters at double or upwards of five times what they were going for at the show (an already-pricey $25).

As a sidebar, the band's posters have been traditionally designed by two parties: the Ames Brothers and Brad Klausen. This may sound nutty to the non-PJ fan, but rock memorabilia has always been a big deal, and PJ fans are hardcore collectors. The posters are sold as limited editions and are show-specific. Just to show you, two examples of other posters from this tour:

An Ames Bros. poster from one of the Boston shows:

And Klausen's D.C. poster, the best of the tour so far, in my opinion:

Once again, we were rewarded for our early arrival with an amazing pre-set:

If the YouTube link doesn't work, click here. Ed's version of "No Surrender" by Bruce Springsteen was phenomenal. This was only the second time he did this solo/acoustic for an audience.

Again, Ed remained on stage and introduced My Morning Jacket for their final performance of this tour. Lucky bastards out West will get to see Sonic Youth open, and some very fortunate souls in the middle of the country will see PJ co-headline with Tom Petty. Don't even get me started about Europe. Like the first night, they started together with the Band song "It Makes No Difference." MMJ was much better and tighter on night two, with the remaining set running as follows: "Gideon," "Lay Low," "What a Wonderful Man," "Wordless Chorus," "Anytime," "One Big Holiday," and ending with "Run Thru ."

With great anticipation we waited for the show to start. As I expected, the fanclub seats were a little worse than Thursday night, but not by much. We were on the other side of the soundboard (right side of the arena) in row P, one row back from the first night. This was expected as many fans, choosing one or the other show, opted for this one, knowing that the band has a reputation for finishing a tour leg with a bang. We were not disappointed.

Here's the setlist:

Severed Hand, Corduroy, World Wide Suicide, Hail Hail, Animal, Love Boat Captain, In Hiding, Even Flow, I Am Mine, Whipping, Gone, Comatose, State Of Love And Trust, Rats, Garden, Inside Job, Porch

Note that this list is hyper-linked to the song page at the Pearl Jam website.

Initially, I was a bit surprised, they opened with the same trio of songs. That's not strange for most bands, who usually vary tour setlists minimally, mixing up a song or two. But Pearl Jam tends to play completely different lists from night to night. However, if you're going to kick off a set with three songs two nights in a row, you could do a lot worse than Severed Hand, Corduroy, and World Wide Suicide.

The first glitch of the night came during Animal, when less than a minute in, power to the stage went out for several minutes. The technical difficulties raised the energy, rather than dispelling it. Ed even joked about it, questioning whether Bruce Springsteen had forgotten to pay the New Jersey electric bill.

Next we got Love Boat Captain, and In Hiding, both great songs that haven't been played much this time around. I love LBC, and was happy I got to hear it. Skipping ahead a bit the back-to-back versions of State Of Love And Trust, and Rats was awesome. Since being released on Vs. in 1994, this was only the 31st performance of "Rats" (compared to the most-played PJ song of all-time, "Even Flow," with 541 performances). I'd say that was one of the highlights of the show for me. See below for the mp3.

After a great version of Ten's Garden, I got a song that I had been waiting for on night one: Inside Job. This song is the coda of the new album and is nothing short of a Mike McCready masterpiece. In many reviews it has been likened to a Pearl Jam "Stairway to Heaven," due to its constant build-up from a slow open to a blistering crescendo. The comparison was even more stark considering McCready's choice of axe, a double-necked guitar a la Jimmy Page in The Song Remains the Same.

The set ended with Porch, with the extended jams and the Vedder-reflector trick described in my first post.

The first encore ran as follows:

Army Reserve, Hard To Imagine, Last Kiss, Black, Crazy Mary, Last Exit

It started a little slowly, with Ed talking about the West Memphis Three. June 3rd was the 13th anniversary of the arrest of three Arkansas youths, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, on charges of murder, which many assert they did not commit. Ed in particular is a supporter of the efforts to free these individuals, through an organized process involving DNA testing. Echols actually co-wrote one of the songs on the new album. After bringing out Echols' wife to say thanks to the crowd, the band played the tune, Army Reserve. Then we got another rarity, Hard To Imagine, an early PJ tune that has been performed even less than Rats. Next, the band turned around and faced the back of the arena (drummer Matt Cameron even sat down on a spare kit) and they played Last Kiss. If they were going to play one song with their backs to me, that was the one I would have chosen, it's my least favorite in the Pearl Jam catalogue.

The encore peaked with a song that both Melanie and I were dying to hear, Crazy Mary from the Victoria Williams tribute album Sweet Relief. This is a concert favorite for many fans, a great tune that builds and rocks with a monster keyboard solo from Boom Gaspar. He and McCready jammed together in a duel that brought down the house.

The second encore was huge and carried us past the 11:00 hour all the way to around 11:40 PM:

Wasted Reprise, Life Wasted, Lukin, Leash, Don't Gimme No Lip, Why Go, Leaving Here, Alive, Yellow Ledbetter

Lukin was a treat and I got Leash again....this time with no intro, but with Ed surprising everyone by hoisting up Mike on his shoulders during the guitar solo.

Don't Gimme No Lip is another rarity, featuring rhthym guitarist Stone Gossard on vocals. Quite a crowd pleaser. It was great hearing Leaving Here, an old Motown song (that was also Motorhead's first single in 1976), that was dedicated to all the women on the crew and in the audience. It was the first time they played it on this tour.

They finished with Alive, and the classic show ender, Yellow Ledbetter, which was tagged with a phenomenal version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" that would have made Jimi Hendrix proud. Pearl Jam ended their first leg of the tour in style, playing almost 3 hours, 32 songs (the most played in a show this year), not including the No Surrender opener.

Two great shows. Why go to two? I got 30 songs night one and 32 on night two. Only 12 songs were played on both nights. That means, including the 2 pre-sets, I heard 52 different songs by my favorite band. A friend of mine had seen Pearl Jam five times before he finally heard Jeremy, in Camden, NJ, on May 27. It was a running joke that he wasn't getting to hear it. For me, my Jeremy, is the song Daughter one of my favorites that, after 4 performances, I have yet to hear. No complaining, mind you, just more justification to see them the next time they blow through town!

Here's two tracks from the show for you to enjoy. Support the band and buy their music!

Pearl Jam - E. Rutherford, 6/3/06 - Rats.mp3

Pearl Jam - E. Rutherford, 6/3/06 - Crazy Mary.mp3

"Rats" is from the album Vs. which can be purchased here.

"Crazy Mary" is from Sweet Relief: A Benefit For Victoria Williams. Buy it from Amazon here.

Thanks to Pearl Jam for providing great pictures on their site that I have borrowed here for illustrative purposes.

All MP3s provided on this site are hosted via official sites or with the artist/label's permission. On the extremely rare occasion when this isn't the case, the track will only be available for a very limited time. If you are the owner of a sound file and would like it removed, please email me directly. If you like what you hear, PLEASE follow the links provided to buy the records and support the music.


Anonymous said...

Nice post Billy! You made Mrs. Bilyblog proud. The concert was, in fact phenomenal. It went way beyond my expectations. After seeing U2 (in the 80's long before their Superstardom) many times, The Rolling Stones (many know are my 2 favorites), and many other bands I never thougths this would rank in my top 5 (maybe 3)concerts of all time. Intersting, that Jill said she likes Pearl Jam's softer stuff, while I live for the harder stuff. As a result, I definitely went the right night, as it really rocked!

heather said...

My "Jeremy" (or "Daughter") for the longest time was Yellow Ledbetter - I think it took me about 8 shows to finally get to hear it live! :)

Tattoosday said...

Echols has writing credit with Ed Vedder on "Army Reserve". I avoided speaking to the guilt or innocence of the WM3 because haven't fully educated myself on the case, but a preliminary glance does seem to support the claim that these three men have been seriously handed an extremely raw deal from the American Justice System. On a bizarre footnote, I first heard Echols' name five or six years ago when someone purchased a book for him through my side business, Here a Book, There a Book, where a partner in Toronto and I sold an occasional book through the Advanced Book Exchange. We sold a book and shipped it to Echols in prison. I am looking in my records to see what the book was, although that begs a different question...would it be a ethical violation to publicly announce the title of a book someone bought without first getting their permission? Listen to Benjie and visit the website to fully understand the case of the West Memphis Three.