Thursday, April 3, 2008

"the next song was in a movie. there might be quite a few of those this evening"

eddie vedder in vancouver 4/2/08
(this will probably be a long post; read at your own risk)

happiness is: having 6th row center tickets.

i have been listening to pearl jam since 1992, and if someone had told me back then that in 2008, i would watch eddie vedder play an acoustic version of porch in a 2000 seat theatre in vancouver i would have told them they were lying. so here's a warning: i am completely biased, because pearl jam and i have been through a lot together.

i wonder if ed knows glen hansard. my 2 favorite singers have a lot in common. they both tell charming stories on stage (that sometimes go on too long), they both choose interesting songs to cover, and they both made soundtracks that are two of my favorite albums in recent memory. since february, i have had the days to this concert marked off on my calender, but i didn't start getting really excited until last week.

seeing the first show of a tour is kind of risky, i guess. a lot of the songs are unpolished. the stage setup is new. especially since ed has never toured solo before. in all the pearl jam shows i've seen, i've never thought that he looked as nervous onstage as he did last night. no, i guess "nervous" isn't the right word, maybe he was just a little bit unsure of what to expect from the audience and from himself. but he didn't need to be. this is what i wrote in my journal last night: this was one of those rare concerts when, without even realizing it, i was completely in the moment for over 2 hours. i was leaning forward in my seat, singing along, clapping so hard that my hands hurt. i didn't even pay attention to the people around me. i don't want to read reviews of this show (or, god forbid, see a setlist for TOMORROW NIGHT's show that i can't go to. ugh). i just want to wrap this night up and keep it with me. it was THAT special.

eddie's setlist was really interesting (well, amazing). he played a few pearl jam songs, a lot of cover songs (again, really amazing) and a handful of songs from into the wild. he also told really funny stories and even messed up a few songs and had to start them again. which i found very endearing. heck, what do i care? i'd pay to watch him sing the alphabet song over and over. (sadly, i'm only half kidding)

i'm not going to go through the setlist song-by-song (because most of the people readng this probably don't care), but i will write about my highlights. (ok, sorry, i reread this and i think i lied. but i'm sorry - all the songs were highlights for me!!)

around the bend - this is a song from no code (probably my favorite album). i've never seen this song live, and i pretty much never thought i would. so to see eddie performing it solo was absolutely amazing. this is a beautiful song, sung as a lullaby to a baby. my fingertips they close your eyes. off you dream my little child...

growin up - this is a bruce springsteen song that i HIGHLY recommend looking up. (there are videos of ed performing it on youtube - not at this show, but earlier). before the song, somebody from the audience yelled out, "dewey cox!" have you seen that movie? i haven't, but i do know that it's a parody of walk the line and that eddie appears in it. so anyway, ed responds by saying that there is a line in that movie that really gets him but he doesn't want to say it. so, after hemming and hawing for awhile, he decides to tell us the line, and it was pretty dirty, and then he looked really embarrased. it was actually quite funny. and then he says that a few nights ago bruce springsteen played in vancouver, and bruce would never say such a thing - which, ed concludes, "is why he's the boss and i'm just an employee." ha!

no more - this is a song ed wrote for a documentary called body of war about an injured iraq war veteran. it's a really moving song, and one that i have an entirely new appreciation for after seeing the official video (again, you can look on youtube. man, they should pay me for mentioning them so much). with his heart he's saying no more, with his mind he's saying no more war. that's definately a sentiment i agree with. somewhere in here, he also told a story about how he read in the paper that china is worried about tibetan suicide attacks during the olympics. now, just the mental image of a monk or nun with a bomb strapped to her/him self is enough to make me laugh. yeah.. i don't think that's gonna happen.

man of the hour - this is from the big fish soundtrack. i am ambivalent about this song usually, but ed nailed it last night. his voice just sounded so rich and.. amazing. i'm using that word too much. but it's true. maybe he found some sort of miracle tea or something. who knows. but i think his voice sounds better than it has in years.

drifting - it's not the world that's heavy, it's just the things that you save and i'm drifin, driftin along. that's all i have to say about this song. i love it. and seeing ed play the harmonica? priceless.

you're true and broken-hearted - these are both songs that ed has played before solo on a ukelele. (which he said is a good friend. and then he thought about that, and said that it's better than a friend actually because it doesn't talk back to you. haha!) again, i have to say it, there is something about seeing ed play that i can't even explain. even though he is not technically the best musician in the world (far from it, i'm sure) he pours his heart into every song. he makes me believe what he's singing. and that is the most important thing. i don't care if he messes up a note or sings the wrong lyric. (which he did to many of the into the wild songs).

picture in a frame - a tom waits cover. gorgeous song. again, you can find videos of the original and of pearl jam covering it on youtube.

trouble - a cat stevens song. i was just listening to eddie play this song on tuesday night, and hoping that i'd get a chance to hear it live. i think this was my favorite cover of the evening.

porch - OH MY GOD! i never in a million years expected to hear an acoustic version of this song live. i mean, they've done it before, but i never thought i would actually be there to see it. this was wonderful. one of the things i love about pearl jam (and ed), is that they are able to take old songs and completely re-work them in really interesting ways.

other things worth mentioning: the venue was incredible. a beautiful theatre with great acoustics, and i found a (relatively inexpensive but very nice) hotel literally around the corner. i couldn't have asked for better.

liam finn - he was the opening act. i was really impressed, but i'm not sure how to describe him. check out his myspace page and listen to some songs. it says that he's playing in seattle may 2 (at the triple door, which is a really nice place to see a show).

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s.j.simon said...
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