Someone once told me that Pearl Jam will be this generations Grateful Dead. I didn't once seem to believe it, nor understand why, then last night happened...Closing out two sold out shows at Madison Square Garden, the sons of grunge took on a blistering 3 hour set in front of New York City and proved their worth. I have been a fan of this band since the beginning but unfortunately never had a chance to see them live. This past concert was an experience to see not just the band perform, but see the audience's reaction to them playing. The audience was an army of fans chanting and belting out the words to every song so much so that they overpowered the band's sound and you could see the smile on every member of Pearl Jam's faces as the crowd gave them the biggest compliment they could ever receive. The band's blistering long set featured live favorites like "Corduroy," "Given to Fly," and a 13 minute version of "Even Flow," that had guitarist Mike McCready and drummer Matt Cameron breaking down into jam solo's. Throughout the performance front man Eddie Vedder paid tribute to late comedian George Carlin, and also drummed up his outlook against everything from the Bush administration to Coldplay's free concert Monday night (even with Chris Martin in the audience), by stating "we spoke to the good people of this venue and we got the curfew extended, so we are going to play for a long time tonight, this is not no one hour free show." The crowd cheered in admiration of Vedder discussing the band's lengthy set, but also some felt awkward to respond to his reference to Coldplay's set two nights before. While trashing some, Vedder also took time out to compliment the good people of New York as well as the chase to change history and the White House with Barack Obama running for President. As political and opinionated as he may be, Vedder also has a soft side and that is certainly reflected in his music and love for what he does.
The real highlight of the night came when Vedder introduced former Ramones bassist CJ Ramone to the stage to perform "I Believe In Miracles," being a huge Ramones fan myself, seeing one of the only surviving members in concert was a real gift. That however was not the only surprise, as during the second encore Kiss guitarist Ace Freely came out to perform "Black Diamond," with Matt Cameron singing vocals.
True road dogs of musicians that give it all night after night and do it all for the love of their fans and what they stand for. Pearl Jam will certainly go down as one of the great live acts of our time.
Pearl Jam Set List 6/25/08 Madison Square Garden
Set 1 Release, World Wide Suicide, Severed Hand, Corduroy, All Night, Cropduster, Garden, Marker In The Sand, I'm Open, Wishlist, State Of Love And Trust, Even Flow, Who You Are, Rats, Given To Fly, Do The Evolution, Go
Encore 1 Inside Job, W.M.A., Lukin, I Believe In Miracles (with CJ Ramone), Better Man(Save it for Later), Rearviewmirror
Encore 2 No More, Last Kiss, Why Go, Black Diamond (with Ace Freely), Alive, Yellow Ledbetter