For a band like Pearl Jam, sometimes playing in the most intimate venue can be just as daunting as playing arenas. Their second of four shows at the Gibson Amphitheatre showed that the Seattle quartet is able to make arena-rock work in a cozy environment.
Singer Eddie Vedder voiced his displeasure with the first night crowd’s lack of energy. “It’s clear to us you guys are already better than last night,” Vedder said after the fifth song of the set, “Dissident.” Whether it was lead guitarist Mike McCready hopping up and down to bassist Jeff Ament’s wild leaps, you could really tell that the band was having a great time and feeding off the crowd.
The 2 hour and 10 minute set featured songs that ranged from their oldest (“Alive,” “Jeremy”) to newest (“The Fixer,” “Got Some”), the band’s carefully crafted set had a tight flow to it and never a dull moment. They definitely brought their ‘A’ game, sounding as crisp as they’ve ever been throughout their 19 year career.
It wouldn’t be a Pearl Jam show without hearing at least one cover. Tonight’s featured the Ramones’ “I Believe in Miracles” (which was dedicated to longtime Vedder pal, Johnny Ramone), and the Police’s “Driven to Tears.” Before they played the song, Vedder thanked the crowd for making the band look good in front of their heroes, namely John Doe of X and Mike Watt.
Longtime friend Ben Harper was the opener along with his new band, Relentless 7. Harper later joined Pearl Jam on ‘Red Mosquito,’ adding a slide guitar, which made the song sound more complete and full.
After hearing the band live and armed with a new number one album at their disposal, Pearl Jam proves yet again why they are continuously one of the most popular draws in rock. Vedder put it best when he said “There are laws in this state against things like gay marriage, but there isn’t a law in California that says you can’t lose your shit at a rock ‘n’ roll concert.” On this night, he was correct.