I am consistently stunned how great Pearl Jam are as a live band.
Having seen Pearl Jam six or seven times on various tours over the years (the first time being 20 years ago in 1994), it is mind boggling how this band is capable of sustaining the high level of performance to the degree that they sound better every time.
Actually that should not be a surprise. When athletes train they get better. Pearl Jam is constantly recording and constantly touring. It stands to reason that a band that puts in this amount of work is going to keep getting better, just like a trained athlete.
The other factor that makes Pearl Jam great, not just good, is the uniqueness of every show. Pearl Jam have never performed the same setlist twice. Every show is a different show.
For many of today’s acts concerts have become musicals. There is very little difference from seeing Mary Poppins or an Eagles show. You know you are going to get the same dialogue and the same songs in the same order every single night … for years. Pearl Jam have always made it special for the fans. If Glenn Frey introduces ‘Take It To The Limit’ as “my wife calls it the credit card song” I’ll tear my hair out.
You don’t get that with Pearl Jam. They are what would be called in theatre “ad-lib”. Each set is planned, but different. Vedder acknowledges the audience and talks directly to them.
There was a bit about the “tragic news of the day”. The Captain and Tennille were getting a divorce. One guy in the audience was wearing a Captain’s cap. “He put up with that bitch for 70 years and tonight he’s at the Big Day Out,” Vedder joked with the crowd. The cameras panned to the guy in the cap, the audience were one with the band.
“Stone Gossard is going to play a few instruments, I’m going over to play a few songs on the other stage with Deftones,” Vedder told the audience. It was blokes playing to blokes.
The members of Cosmic Psychos, Vedder’s Aussie idols, stood side of stage watching. Mark Arm from Mudhoney joined Pearl Jam to sing MC5’s “Kick Out The Jams’.
Why is music so difficult? Bieber didn’t even make it to age 20 before burning out. Pearl Jam bass player Jeff Ament is now 50, Matt Cameron is 51, Eddie Vedder turns 50 this year. At 47 each, Stone Gossard and Mike McCready are the kids in the band.
The Stones may be the greatest rock and roll band in the world for their generation. Pearl Jam may well be the greatest rock and roll band in the world for the kids of the Stones generation.
Pearl Jam Big Day Out Melbourne setlist
Why Go (from Ten, 1991)
Do The Evolution (from Yield, 1998)
Save You (from Riot Act, 2002)
Getaway (from Lightning Bolt, 2013)
Got Some (from Backspacer, 2009)
Mind Your Manners (from Lightning Bolt, 2013)
Low Light (from Yield, 1998)
Setting Forth (from Eddie Vedder’s Into The Wild, 2007)
Corduroy (from Vitalogy, 1994)
Lightning Bolt (from Lightning Bolt, 2013)
Dissident (from Vs, 1993)
Even Flow (from Ten, 1991)
Sirens (from Lightning Bolt, 2013)
Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town (from Vs, 1993)
Jeremy (from Ten, 1991)
Given To Fly (from Yield, 1998)
Wasted Reprise (from Pearl Jam, 2006)
Life Wasted (from Pearl Jam, 2006)
Better Man (from Vitalogy, 1994)
Pendulum (from Lightning Bolt, 2013)
Nothingman (from Vitalogy, 1994)
Daughter/Another Brick In The Wall ((from Vs, 1993/Pink Floyd cover)
Go (from Vs, 1993)
Porch (from Ten, 1991)
Kick Out The Jams (with Mark Arm of Mudhoney) (MC5 cover)
Alive (from Ten, 1991)
Big Day Out schedules
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