Opening with "Cordury," the band set the standard of what the rest of the night would be like. The track (a personal favorite) shot out like a cannon and the succeeding songs did the same; "Hail, Hail," "Do the Evolution," "World Wide Suicide," "Got Some," the militia of opening tracks firing off heartbeats, pulses and tore the roof off the venue. As Eddie Vedder would dabble in his wine, raise and lower the power of his mumbling voice and trot around on stage, the rest of his band mates are just as entertaining to watch and witness. Drummer Matt Cameron's pounding performance on his kit echoed through the arena, guitarist Mike McCready may very well be one of the most underrated guitarists of a generation, McCready play his axe with the combination of Johnny Ramone meets Joe Perry. While guitarist Stone Gassard and bassist Jeff Ahmet held their own, collectively this band is a powerhouse.
As the set grew and night lasted and lasted, Pearl Jam gave the audience their monies worth with a near three hour set! To do that five to six days a week is not only a triumph, it is something to be admired. Bringing out a special string quartet to revamp some ballads and play the traditional way, along with bringing out opening act Band of Horses singer Ben Bridwell to perform the Temple of the Dog classic "Hunger Strike." After a marathon set that seemed like a battle, it would only be fitting for the grunge heroes who's major inspiration came from punk rock, covering MC5's "Kick out the Jams," and leading into "Yellow Ledbetter," the night was ended on the highest of notes.
For a band that has lasted as long as they have and to continue to get bigger and better, what the next 20 years will show will be a surprise and pleasure. Pearl Jam maybe the only band to ever succeed Springsteen and the E Street band in longevity and power during a full set.
Opening the night was Georgia buzz band Band of Horses, who's latest Infinate Arms has earned the band much acclaim and praise, played a humbling set at MSG. As they looked nervous, and rightfully so, on stage, if you were just listening to the music you could not tell. They sounded beautiful and simply stunning and proved that the hype behind them can be measured in a great live set.
Pearl Jam 5/21/10 Madison Square Garden Setlist:
Corduroy, Hail Hail, Do the Evolution, Worldwide Suicide, Got Some, Breath, Nothingman, I'm Open (Dedicated to Howard Zinn), Unthought Known, Grievance, Amongst the Waves, Present Tense, Not For You/Modern Girl, Push Me Pull Me, Rats, Daughter/WMA, The Fixer, Why Go
The End (w/ string quartet), Just Breathe (w/ string quartet), Slow Lukin (w/ strings), Black Red Yellow, Sweet Lew, Given to Fly, Spin the Black Circle, Rearviewmirror
Wasted Reprise, Betterman, Black/We Belong Together, The Real Me, Hunger Strike, Alive, Kick Out the Jams, Yellow Ledbetter/Star Spangled Banner