Grunge. A genre of music that for a few years reigned supreme, and put our neighbors from Seattle on the map, but has now all but disappeared. At least the acts that ruled the scene. The only band left standing is Pearl Jam, and they showed up in Vancouver at GM Place to put on a down and dirty rock show. With them came Ben Harper and the Relentless 7, the musical, at least live version of a blind date. An act that is so hit and miss, and more often miss that you wonder why anyone goes out to see them live. It never helps when you refuse to perform material that put you on the map.
Pearl Jam opened with In My Tree, and as the smell of weed wafted throughout the stadium, and fans pumped their fists in the air, you could tell early on that Eddie Vedder
had the crowd in the palm of his hand. And, what a crowd it was, sold out from the front to the back. Tickets classifed as ‘behind stage’ didn’t seem to be such a bad deal as there was no actual set display or real light show. The band also didn’t act as if the few hundred people sitting behind them weren’t there, which also helped, even turning around and performing Last Kiss in an encore directly to them.
One of the standouts in every PJ show has been crowd interaction, Pearl Jam tries to deliver a very different fan experience, right down to selling a limited edition ‘bootlegs’ from live shows on the website. The crowd interaction was there on Friday night as well, Eddie Vedder made references to the Canucks, the Commodore ballroom, even saying at one point that it seemed that Chris Chelios had just been thrown out of a game. But, the biggest step, the biggest connection came when Vedder mentioned Terry Fox, and how he watched him when he was 16 or 17 years old and was inspired. He dedicated Light Years to him, and announced that they’ll be donating $20, 000 to the Terry Fox Foundation. That comment got a bigger cheer than probably any track that they played. Oftentimes, you sit and wonder if every band says in every city, those standard lines of This is the best crowd, city, country, arena, fans, goat herders, or whatever. Something tells us that and Vedder and company don’t drop $20, 000 to charities in every city. Class act all around.
The setlist was a monster, as with every show, two encores, and performing 27 (!) tracks, including Elderly Woman behind the Counter in a Small Town, Even Flow, and of course Alive. Even The Fixer showed up early on in the set, a track that’s quickly becoming a favourite and standout from their latest, Backspacer.
In My Tree
Given To Fly
Amongst The Waves
Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town
I Got Id
Love Reign O’er Me
State Of Love And Trust
Better Man(Save it for Later)