Pearl Jam (Columbus, OH – 5/6/10)


Nationwide Arena – Section 209, Row Q, Seat 4

20 years. That’s how long it’s taken me to finally see one of the greatest rock bands live & in person. I have so many memories that are attached to Pearl Jam’s music so it was almost like seeing them live was a closing of a book for me. When they first appeared on the scene, I was just out of college, working a television job in Zanesville, OH. I remember listening to “Ten” constantly back in those days. “Alive” & “Evenflow” were ALWAYS being played on the radio and I think I speak for everyone when I say that there was no inclination that PJ would still be around 20 years later. Add to the fact that when the “grunge” movement started to deflate, so did most of the bands of that time period. But Pearl Jam continued on. Past the death of Kurt Cobain, the crown prince of grunge, and past the insurgence of rap as the dominate genre on pop radio.

9 albums, a gazillion bootlegs & 60 million units sold worldwide later…Pearl Jam rocks on and they’ve never wavered from their sense of what rock can be. Through all the political leanings and the environmental posturing, lead singer Eddie Vedder has taken on the mantra of rock icon and guitarist Mike McCready is quietly considered one of the great rock guitarists of this day & age. Last year they released what I consider to be one of their best albums in their collection. “Backspacer” was loaded with rock anthems and acoustic ponderings and was a mainstay in my car stereo all year round. After 2 previous attempts to see them live through the years failed, I finally had the chance to see them live in Columbus, OH at Nationwide Arena and I’m happy to report they didn’t disappoint.

Here’s the thing about rock bands…they only go as far as their lead singer takes them. 95% of the time, if the lead singer isn’t charismatic or has some stage presence, the band falters and never becomes anything other than a band playing songs. But like so many great lead singers, Vedder knows how to command attention onstage and he is still as active and energetic as I imagine he was back in the early 90’s. Unlike some acts out there who fill their stage show with monitors and lights and props, Pearl Jam had none of that. They came out onstage with a simple backdrop and some colorful lights and proceeded to rip into a 2+ hour setlist that included their hits from their early days to songs off their latest. Vedder talked casually to the audience, reminiscing about the first time they were in Columbus in 1992. They played a meager 10 songs. Obviously, with their catalogue they were gonna play a few more this night…and they did. The highlights for me from the setlist include “Evenflow” with McCready playing his guitar solo with his guitar behind his head and “Amongst The Waves”, which just sounded amazing in the arena. At some point, Vedder started in on religion stating he and his band were starting their own…

“It has one commandment,” he said. “Don’t be an asshole.”

Sounds good to me Eddie. And just so ya know…I’ve given up on Twitter also. Hate that shit. Thanks for the great show!

1. Oceans
2. Given To Fly
3. Corduroy
4. Got Some
5. World Wide Suicide
6. Faithful
7. Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town
8. Amongst The Waves
9. Even Flow
10. Comatose
11. Marker In The Sand
12. Unthought Known
13. Grievance
14. Alone
15. The Fixer
16. Do The Evolution

ENCORE 1
17. Just Breathe
18. Black
19. State Of Love & Trust
20. Spin The Black Circle
21. Go

ENCORE 2
22. Come Back
23. Once
24. Hail Hail
25. Crazy Mary
26. Alive
27. Yellow Ledbetter

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3 Comments

  1. I know just how you have felt all these years! I have waited and waited for the opportunity to see them live and I’m glad that I did! (Adds several more songs to the list of possibles!) Plus, it was my birthday!

    I am amazed that Eddies voice sounds so damn good, with the smoking and howling that he does! What an incredible set of pipes! I was, however, disappointed in the quality of the sound in the arena. I felt that it was too loud and the acoustics were not good. Maybe I’m just gettin old?

    Anyway, PJ rocks and will forever be #1 for me.

    I have seen U2 & The Police at Nationwide and I disagree with you. Nationwide is one of the best places in the area to see a live band. But the mix was a little on the guitar side. Might have been a mixer issue? Who knows. But it WAS a great show! 🙂

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