Pearl Jam at Key Arena in Seattle on September 21, 2009

Album Cover: Pretty Hate Machine

"If I was twice the man I could be, I'd still be half of what you need."
NIN / Ringfinger

Posted on September 22, 2009 12:59 AM in Music
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

PJ

If I'm not mistaken, my last Pearl Jam show was way back in the summer of 2006, at the Gorge Amphitheater on July 23, 2006 (I also attended the show the night before). It seems crazy that it's been that long, but the drought ended tonight when I attended the first of two shows at Key Arena.

The band caught me a bit off guard with their latest album, Backspacer, since it's only available to buy on iTunes and Target. Therefore, I've yet to actually buy it, which made tonight's concert a very new experience for me. It's pretty much the first time I've heard a bunch of songs live from the band before hearing their studio-recorded versions. It was actually kind of cool to experience them that way for the first time. Pearl Jam always puts a little extra mustard on their songs when they perform them live, and it's something that just doesn't come through the same way on a record.

I took my beautiful wife with me, thanks to some great neighbors who are willing to babysit until the wee hours of the night. We arrived in time to hear most of the opening act, Ben Harper and Relentless7, perform, and there were some songs that were actually pretty listenable. That being said, when you're anticipating Pearl Jam taking the stage in a matter of minutes, nothing ever sounds good enough.

Thanks to my Ten Club seniority, our seats ended up being in the 23rd row. That sounds a little better than it actually is, because the rows are spread apart enough where that actually ends up being around half court (if you haven't been to a basketball game at the Key before, that equates to the middle of the arena). However, I've sat all over the place inside that arena to see Pearl Jam play many times in the past, and there really isn't a bad place to be. In the same room as the band is good enough for me.

The band opened up with "Long Road," which is probably my favorite among the many songs I've heard the band open with. Several songs into their set, just before playing "Insignificance," Eddie Vedder took a break to mention to the audience that President Obama had recently taken a stand on something that the band was completely in agreement with.

The show, especially for one at the leading end of a tour, had a lot of energy, and unlike a show back in 2000, had a crowd to be proud of. There were plenty of singalongs and Eddie and the band seemed to be relishing in it. The only strange thing about the show was the setlist, or maybe just the way it broke down. There seemed to be an abrupt break in the middle of the show that I wasn't expecting, and the overall mix of songs was a little strange as well. All the songs were great, of course, but there were some Pearl Jam staples that went overlooked, and to have the show end with "Alive," when they've typically ended with my favorite song, "Yellow Ledbetter," in the past, was a bit of a surprise as well. Luckily, I'll be at tomorrow night's show as well to see if the band was just saving the best for last.

When the set finally came to an end after about 2 1/2 hours, the predominantly middle-aged crowd (we Pearl Jam fans are getting older) seemed more than satisfied with the experience. My wife and I made our way to where they were selling t-shirts and other memorabilia and I managed to get a red t-shirt with "Pearl Jam" in black, Japanese lettering on the front. It was my second choice, so I'm hoping they'll have my size in my first choice tomorrow night.

As expected, tonight was yet another example of why there is no better show than that put on by Pearl Jam. It was an experience to remember, and yet somehow, I'm anticipating tomorrow night's show being even more memorable. I guess we'll see.

I'll leave with a video I took of the band performing one of my favorite songs, "Indifference:"

Comments

pj4ever on September 22, 2009 at 1:29 AM:

hey someone have the setlist written out?

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Jonathan Smith on September 22, 2009 at 3:02 AM:

Music reporter Ernest Jasmin attended the concert and posted a set list on the Tacoma Rock City blog: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/tacomarockcity/2009/09/21/pearl-jam-set-list-so-far/

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JoshFM on September 22, 2009 at 7:33 AM:

You're wrong on one major point. In addition to iTunes and Target, the band also sold their new album through their website and at independent records stores. You could have pre-ordered the CD from PearlJam.com and had it before the show, or better yet, you could have gone to any number of indy music stores in the Seattle area (Silver Platters is one) and bought the album. Being a Ten Club member, you should've known this. That said, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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Aaron on September 22, 2009 at 9:55 AM:

Anyone know what time Ben Harper went on last night? I'm just trying to coordinate my arrival time.

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vince on September 22, 2009 at 12:41 PM:

Can you leave and reenter after buying a shirt and throwin it in the car?

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NeuroToxic on November 10, 2009 at 3:29 AM:

Well the 23rd row is better than not being there at all. Shows like they put on a great show as always.

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ossexfdu on May 15, 2017 at 5:23 AM:

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