Sunday, September 24, 2017

Pearl Jam @ United Center 8/23/09

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Posted by shore On August - 25 - 2009

pearljamchicago @AndyShore The debate for the biggest rock band of my generation cannot take place without Pearl Jam being considered. Dave Grohl may be the biggest rocker, but he split that time with two bands. U2 could be considered, but do you really want to? Bands like Dave Matthews Band and Phish should get some mention, but in terms of flat out rock and roll, they do not compete. Pearl Jam has withstood the test of time, has one of the most iconic front men of the last 20 years in Eddie Vedder and one of the best guitar players around in Mike McCready. After their epic three-hour show at Bonnaroo 2008, I couldn’t wait to see them again.

Despite the first half of the set not being filled with many fan favorites, the band sounded spectacular. At the age of 44, Vedder’s voice still sounds as great as ever. McCready picks and chooses his spots to drop face melting guitar solos for maximum effect. Vedder first discussed being in his hometown prior to “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” rambling off every suburb he could think of in the area (Shaumburg got mentioned twice). By the time Pearl Jam went into “Even Flow” half-way through their set, the crowd had already been set on fire.

Playing some new tunes, some old tunes and a few of the hits, Pearl Jam managed to keep the crowd engaged for an hour and 20 minute set that felt way too short. Then came the encores. The band opened the first encore with The Who’s “Love Reign O’er Me.” A version  so spot on I’ve recently discussed the fact that I may rather see Pearl Jam play it than what is left of the Who (A point I am sure Zack will disagree with). Next up was “Life Wasted” followed by another who song in “The Real Me.” Two Who songs in an encore probably had something to do with it being Keith Moon’s birthday.

The first encore closed with “Alive.” Hearing 20,000 strong singing “I’m still alive” sent chills through the crowd and the feeling that despite the times, nothing could really be wrong. The chants from the crowd were rewarded with a McCready behind the back guitar solo that wailed on for several minutes. A four-song encore would be a lot from most any band, but Pearl Jam was note done yet.

Vedder returned to the stage for a solo cover of Neil Young’s “Needle and the Damage Done.” Rolling through four more songs, the second encore was almost a mini set. Vedder informed the crowd they would say goodbye the way McCready likes to do it. Cue the opening riff of “Yellow Ledbetter.” The house lights were turned out so that the band could see everyone singing along to the one song nobody really knows the words to. Pearl Jam sounded so great that night, I seriously considered copping tickets for the next night.

1 Response

  1. teibs Said,

    I actually agree that Pearl Jam probably does a better version of The Who than Roger and Pete would these days. You totally should have crashed day 2 of Pearl Jam.

    Posted on August 25th, 2009 at 8:37 pm

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