Last night I had the opportunity to check out Pearl Jam for the first time, thanks for a mate of mine who managed to get me ticket for $50. My short review is that it was $50 very well spent, and was certainly worth a full price charge. My lengthier review is as follows:
The evening started with us getting to the venue at about 6:30pm. By that time the opening act Liam Finn had already been and gone, and Ben Harper and the Relentless 7 were just starting. They put on a pretty good set from what I heard, though most of the set was spent in a long line to get a beer. Eddie Vedder came out to join the band for a cover of Queen’s Under Pressure.
Initial concerns that the sun was in a bad spot (the stage was facing east with the sun setting directly behind it) were quickly quashed, as the sun hit the horizon at more or less the same time as Pearl Jam came on stage. Security checking people getting access to general admission was pretty relaxed, we had seated tickets near the back somewhere and had no problems walking straight into GA. While it was great for us, those who paid a ticket premium to get into this area would justifiably be a little pissed.
Pearl Jam’s set was a mix of tracks both old and new. They rolled out the classics as expected, threw in about half a dozen tracks off their latest album and also played a cover of The Who’s The Real Me. Overall the setlist was pretty good, there were a few tracks I didn’t recognise, but I missed a few of their last albums, so that’s no huge surprise. Eddie was in great spirits during the show, taking plenty of chances to chat to the audience, certainly giving us the impression that they are genuinely happy to be in town and performing for us.
During the first encore Ben Harper joined the band onstage to play his slide guitar on the track Red Mosquito, and then sang Indifference in duet with Eddie. Other highlights of the set included a great extended jam during Even Flow, and a thumping version of Rearviewmirror, apparently not played in Adelaide since 1998. The oval lights coming on midway through Alive during the encore didn’t faze the band either, who seems to ignore this “get off stage” message and continued to finish their set as planned.
Sonically, the show is as good as any outdoor gig I can remember. Occasionally you could here a little reverb about the place, but overall the sound was top notch. Hat’s off to the audio crew for this show. The camera work and lighting were all great as well, though I’d guess when you’ve been around as long as Pearl Jam, and have access to the resources they do, you’d expect all of this. However, similar bands have been disappointing in this area, so it’s great to see someone get it right.
Overall, it was a great show, I’d almost go as far as to say it’s one of the top 10 gigs I’ve ever been to. If you’re a Pearl Jam fan given the opportunity to see them on this tour, then make sure you do – you won’t be disappointed.