Pearl Jam have been massive in life for me, since the early 90s. The entire movement of this sound from Seattle aided many loners, isolators to be together. The enigmatic Eddie Vedder is a major part of this. His lyrics, vocals, and passion engulfed many souls.
Since the announcement of Eddie Vedder’s solo tour, backed by Dublin’s own Glen Hansard, I knew I had to go, especially as music is healing and Chris Cornell’s passing hit me hard. Tickets for London (where I’m from) sold out – the touts, as usual had a field day. I reached out to the world of social media, one person came back who said I could have his wife’s ticket, face value, in Dublin. I snapped it up like a Hungry Hippo.
Arriving at the 3Arena early, I ventured to a bar called the Green Room. Once inside it is full of ‘grunge’ EV shirts, Pearl Jam shirts, Chris Cornell shirts, Audioslave, Soundgarden… need I say more? Anyway, music’s blaring like we’re back in the 90’s. I’m home.
In the arena itself the seats are great, a perfect view to see and hear everything. A lady in a white coat walks to the mic. She asks everyone not to take photos or film the show. She also said London were very good the other day, but Dublin will be better than those c*nts!
Eddie Walks out to rapturous applause. The checked shirts brigade rises to their feet. Gig goers have brought their children to witness a rock n roll superstar.
On stage, is an array of guitars, Eddie sits on the stool, and begins with Cat Stevens’ “Trouble”, Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage”, Pearl Jam’s “Sometimes”. Then… then ladies and gentlemen, he proceeds with “Elderly Woman Behind a Counter in a Small Town”. He’s in jovial form and he smashes “Elderly Woman” out the park, out the arena, his voice so strong, his passion for music is always there to hear. This moment, the gig erupted.
He moves on with “Thumbing my Way”, then to one of my favourite PJ tracks “I am Mine”, then the Who’s ”I’m One”. He’s always held Pete Townshend in high esteem, this it shows in a windmill guitar impression. He introduces us to the Red Limo string quartet from Amsterdam, and they perform “Sleeping by Myself” together. We next get a goosebump moment.
He was up late watching the election unfold, and how 70-odd % of young adults voted. This next track is dedicated to them. A creation he hasn’t tried before… bing. BING bing, one of the quartet plucks a string three times, the crowd went crazy. Eddie, guitarless, backed by the Red Limo Quartet, sings “At home, Drawing pictures, Of mountain top”. Welcome “Jeremy”. The tune is lapped up by the crowd. Singing every word, like we’re in the shower, or pretending to be Eddie Vedder. Oh man, this is beauty, this is live music – pure emotion. The 3Arena shook Dublin, the entire place standing, all singing. It finishes with the crowd going crazy.
“Oh man”, Eddie mutters, as he then muses about his wife and children and how he misses them. He tells stories of Glenn Hansard’s jacket, he talks about the Guinness. This leads us to “Guaranteed”, “Rise” and Vitalogy’s “Immortality” where the crowd stand on their feet for this beautiful and poignant song.
Bob Dylan’s anti-war song “Masters of Wars” is given the Eddie Vedder treatment. The lyrics Dylan wrote are deep, dark and set a tone. This song can be dedicated to any politician around the globe, give or take a couple. This song makes the hairs on my arms erect.
He hits “Better Man” and “Porch”, Fugazi’s “I’m so Tired”, The Beatles’ “You Got To Hide Your Love Away”. Throughout the night, the Pearl Jam frontman converses with the audience, talking and taking pictures with a young fan. Then a dream moment for anyone, pointing out a fella in the crowd, he offers him the chance to come on stage to sing with him. This young man gets on stage, and sits on the other stool. Eddie tells us all, “we’ve just found a song we both know”, to some laughter, the song is “Black”. This could’ve been terrible, it wasn’t. We hear “Lukin”, then David Bowie’s “Heroes”, and “Just Breathe” backed by the Red Limo Treatment.
Glen Hansard comes out to a huge reaction. The hometown boy is on stage with Eddie Vedder. Duetting on The Everley Brothers’ “Sleepless Nights” is beautiful touch. This is followed by “Falling Slowly” from Glen Hansard’s musical movie, Once.
The crowd grew louder as Glen Hansard began “The Auld Triangle”. Then local Dubliner, poet, wordsmith, Stephen J Smith is invited on stage by Eddie to perform his spoken word poem “Dublin You Are”. He begins, the first few words make the place sound like a volcanic eruption. It’s one of his better known pieces and you can find it on YouTube.
Neil Young’s classic, that’s been ever present on any Eddie Vedder or Pearl Jam show, “Rockin’ in the Free World” is up next, and we finish with the quartet, Stephen J Smith and Glen Hansard on stage for “Hard Sun”.
Thirty-three songs later and Eddie Vedder’s gone over time. He doesn’t care, he loves it, he embraces the love, he accepts it. This is a gig with no cameras allowed, an old school gig for the memories. I’ll keep the ticket stub and add it to the rest.
Thank you, Eddie, and thank you Dublin.
Eddie Vedder: facebook