I had such a great time at the Pearl Jam concert I went to last night. Pearl Jam is my favorite band ever, for those that don’t know. Instead of Black Friday, I celebrated Pearl Jam Friday! I saw them 4 weeks after I last saw them at Voodoo Fest.
I woke up around 7am and I saw online that there were about 14 people in line for general admission seating as of 6am. I didn’t have time for that. I had a few things to do early in the day. I went to go pick up my tickets at 2:30 when the fan club’s will call windows opened. Each show (not counting Voodoo Fest) had a general admission “pit” area on the floor right in front of the stage for fan club members. Behind the pit was a seated section for fan club members. I requested tickets in the pit. I’ve been a member of the Pearl Jam fan club since 1998. That gives me a great priority because my membership number is fairly low. If people let their membership expire, they start over and get a new, higher number. Back when I saw them in 2000 and 2003, I got 4th and 2nd row seats. I’m sure that my priority and the fact that a lot of people probably chose to get Seattle (Pearl Jam’s home base) tickets instead of Portland helped me get the GA floor seats that I wanted. You have to buy fan club tickets in pairs. I found someone in a Facebook group I’m in to buy my other ticket. She and a friend were coming from Italy to attend a few shows on the tour. I can’t remember if she said it was her first time in the U.S. or just her first time in Portland.
The will call line was really short. After that I tackled the LONG merchandise line. Merchandise is very popular on Pearl Jam tours. They have unique stickers, t-shirts, and posters for each stop on the tour. Fans trade with each other or sell it online. It took my about an hour to get through the line. I picked up a poster, a t-shirt, and 2 stickers. I’m usually not into this type of stuff, but for Pearl Jam I’ll make an exception. After that I went to put my merchandise in my car and warm up using the heater a little bit. I parked in the garage next to the arena.
After about 45 minutes in my car, I went to wait in the GA line. The sooner you got there, the better. I didn’t’t have a bad spot, but I definitely wasn’t going to be right up against the rail. I met some pretty cool people in line. There was a father who was there with his teenage son. After about 2 hours there, we finally got to go inside. Everyone rushed so they could get a good spot. My spot was 4 people deep, slightly to the right of the center of the stage. Nice!
About an hour and a half later the opening act, Mudhoney, came on stage at 7:30. I don’t know much about them, but apparently they were a precursor to grunge and they greatly influenced Pearl Jam. They played for only 30 minutes. Thank goodness! I was tired of waiting. Then at 8:30, Pearl Jam took the stage.
Oh my goodness! This was an amazing show! It’s not just my opinion. The crowd was really into it. I later saw posts online from people show saw the setlist (it changes every night) and thought it was exceptional. There was a 60ish pot-smoking lady who was there with her daughters. I danced with her and one of her daughters some. Pearl Jam played a few songs from the new ablum, which I’m not as familiar with as I am the older stuff. Most of the show was older stuff that I could sing along to pretty much word for word. They played “You Are”, which they haven’t played in years. I was also surprised to hear “Sometimes”, “Rats”, “Deep”, and “Mother”. They didn’t play one of my favorites “Do the Evolution” like they did in New Orleans, but they more than made up for it with one of my favorites from the same album, “Low Light”. And they played many of the hits like “Alive”, “Even Flow”, “Black”, “Porch”, and “Rearviewmirror”. They were really into it and had lots of energy. At one point they mentioned that this was the best crowd they’ve had in Portland since ‘92 or ’93. The building was packed. There were a few times when I’m pretty sure Eddie was looking right at me while he was singing. I tried not to look away out of nervousness. I don’t usually get nervous around celebrities. Also, there was once were he spoke from the stage to a couple immediately to my left and a guy immediately behind me and to my right. They made a couple of mistakes during the show, but they laughed it off instead of getting upset about it. During the last song, “Rockin in the Free World”, a bunch of people came on stage to play with them, including Sleater-Kinney and Peter Buck from R.E.M.
They left the stage for the last time right at 11:30. They played for 3 hours!!! 3 HOURS!!! After all the standing, jumping up and down, and dancing, it was hard for me to move my legs to leave the building. I could barely move for the last few songs. I ripped part of my thumbnail off during the show somehow. I have no idea how it happened.
My only complaints I had about the night were because of the pit. The couple that Eddie spoke to was rude to people and didn’t’t care that they were being rude because it was the husband’s birthday. And you had the people who would try to push their way up closer. There were times when it was so cramped that I couldn’t really move. I didn’t mind that we were bumping into each other a lot, but it wouldn’t have been nice I could’ve moved my arms more. I had to be a dick and shove some people back who tried to get in front of me. They should’ve gotten there earlier if they wanted better seats. The couple who was being rude earlier actually stopped some people from sneaking in front of me, so in my head I forgave them a little. Every time I would start getting upset, Pearl Jam would play a song I really liked or Eddie would say something cool and I would start to feel good again.
So, yeah, I had a great time at the show. Right now I believe it’s my #1 concert ever. I’m excited to buy the official bootleg in a few months! I’ll make every effort to be there the next time Pearl Jam is in Portland. My favorite part of the night was one of the many times Eddie came down front to interact with the crowd. This time he came into the crowd a little right next to where I was. There were only about 3 people between me and him. If I hadn’t hesitated and moved forward when others did, I could have been one of the people that got a fist bump. I waved at him and he either waved back at me or to the guy standing near me. Look at the pic below and see how close I was to one of my idols.
2. LOW LIGHT
4. INTERSTELLAR OVERDRIVE
6. LIGHTNING BOLT
7. MIND YOUR MANNERS
11. EVEN FLOW
12. YOU ARE
13. GIVEN TO FLY
15. AFTER HOURS (Lou Reed)
16. SPIN THE BLACK CIRCLE
19. LAST EXIT
21. THE END
22. YELLOW MOON
23. ALL THOSE YESTERDAYS
24. JUST BREATHE
26. STATE OF LOVE AND TRUST
27. WHY GO
29. BETTER MAN / SAVE IT FOR LATER (TAG)
30. WASTED REPRISE
31. LIFE WASTED
34. ROCKIN IN THE FREE WORLD (with Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey, and all of Sleater-Kinney)