One week ago today Pearl Jam, on the opening night of their 2010 European Tour, unapologetically scrawled their bands name onto "the list" of top 5 gigs that I have ever seen live.
For one reason or another (On Holidays, Broke, etc) I have missed Eddie, Stone, Jeff, Matt and Mike over the years so this was my maiden PJ live experience. It may be difficult to believe then that I am actually a huge fan and Tuesday morning I woke up tingling like an eight-year-old on Christmas morning!
The Luas now runs directly to The O2 and the fantastic and still relatively new arena is accessible within minutes due to the large number of entrances to the building so gig-goers now find the pre-gig queuing, travelling annoyances reduced to a bare minimum. Ben Harper provided support on the night and, for an internationally reknowned artist, was disappointing but I have a feeling it was just the sheer size of the place which may have been the issue but, let's be honest, not many (if any) were there for Ben Harper.
It is common knowledge to most Pearl Jam enthusiasts that a PJ setlist could literally consist of any song from any album/E.P./compilation that they have ever recorded. Staying true to this "The Long Road", a track from the Merkinball E.P. (an out-take from Mirrorball, the album recorded with Neil Young), opened the set after a piano instrumental had raised the tension in the Dublin arena to boiling point. The slightly unexpected (yet very effective) introduction was followed quickly by a "classic" as Ten's "Once" was let loose on the crowd. The blistering, non-stop, breakneck pace was unrelenting as tracks from Backspacer and Pearl Jam were interwoven with oldies from Vitalogy, No Code, and more from the multi-million selling Ten.
Particular highlights personally were "Why Go", "Nothingman" (which I honestly thought was about song 4/5 into the night but was song 10. That is how quickly it all seemed to fly), "Lukin" blending into "Not For You", "Elderly Woman...", "Better Man" (Eddie Vedder seemed quite taken aback by the vocal performance of the audience on these two), "Alive", and just when I thought there is no way there could be more, "Yellow Ledbetter".
Closing in on twenty years a live band there was certainly no rust evident in a performance that seemed to contain everything. Rock songs that you could go crazy to, a front man bounding around the stage jumping off the amps, a lead guitarist playing solos behind his head, ballads sung nearly 100% by the crowd, new songs that stood their own against classic anthems, two encores, and even an always welcome "Fuck you to the man" in reference to the fact that Pearl Jam played over the time restrictions which are known to be heavily enforced in The O2.
Full Setlist :
1. Long Road
3. The Fixer
4. Why Go
6. Severed Hand
7. Amongst The Waves
8. Even Flow
9. Unthought Known
12. Not For You
14. Got Some
16. Arms Aloft (Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros cover)
17. Do The Evolution
18. Just Breathe
19. Given To Fly
20. Of The Earth (Completely new song)
22. Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town
23. Better Man
24. Kick Out The Jams (MC5 cover)
26. Yellow Ledbetter