Wednesday, June 24, 2009

lucky stars in your eyes

i got up early on friday morning for my 3 + hour drive to memphis. the entire way there, i was practically bouncing out of my seat with the combination of nervousness and excitement that i always get when i am going to see a concert i've been looking forward to for ages. i admit to playing a little bit of "what will be on the setlist?" just because there is so much musical history in memphis. here were some of my secret fantasies: sittin on the dock of the bay (how amazing would THAT have been??), i can't help falling in love with you, suspicious minds, any song by johnny cash. and at every solo show i've seen, i confess that i've harbored a secret wish that ed and liam would do stuff and nonsense. (and i overheard a woman saying the same thing to her friend in line for the show. so i'm not the only one). oh well, one of those isn't bad, is it?

i got into memphis friday afternoon, checked into my hotel, and then walked downtown. after a great dinner and a while spent walking around beale street and listening to random bands play, i went to check out the orpheum theatre. i probably spent at least 20 minutes staring at it, waiting for the "eddie vedder, june 20th" sign to light up at just the right moment so i could take a picture. i love this stuff. once again, look how small it is! if someone had told me five or ten years ago that one day i would be seeing eddie vedder at venues this small - three times, no less! - i would have thought they were lying. incredible. i hope this feeling of wonder never ends.

so, on to the show. ed came out with his usual direction to "make yourselves at home, i plan to," and then started walking the cow. next up, sometimes, with the same treatment as in nashville. but, god, this time i am close enough that i can actually see ed as he's playing and watch him get so into the music that he's stomping his foot and leaning forward on his stool. i know that i said it in my nashville review, but it bears repeating - i am so in love with what he does with this song. no code is, depending on the day, my favorite pearl jam album, and hearing a song that i've listened to hundreds of times brought to a new life is just breathtaking. breathtaking! sometimes there are no other words. this is the first song i ever heard pearl jam perform live (september, 1996 in augusta maine) and it's kind of like coming back around to where i began, albeit in a better way than i ever imagined.

my notes were scribbled after getting back to my hotel room so they don't follow the setlist, but the next song i have written down is last kiss. when i first recognized this, my thought was, "uh oh. why is he wasting good setlist space?" but this only proves that first impressions can be misleading. because, once again, the audience interaction is what made this song tonight. i think that it must be amazing as a singer to have people singing along with you - to know that you have inspired and touched people enough to want to imitate your voice, your inflections, every little "oh" you put in your songs. and as an audience member to be a part of this communal experience literally makes my heart want to burst.

next came a run of songs from into the wild, complete with what was, to me, an awesome version of guaranteed. before the song, eddie told a story (that i've heard before - i love that, at this point, i've been to enough shows that i can anticipate what's coming but that at the same time, it's always a bit suprising. does that make sense?) about his daughter and the line don't come closer or i'll have to go. when she first heard the song she asked her father what that lyric meant and, not quite knowing what to say (and i can completely relate to the feeling of not always knowing how to respond to an astute five-year old's questions), he told her that it was referring to a bear. but.. oh crap.. he told the story so much better than i did. oh well. something else that cracked me up, that i forgot to mention in my nashville review - when people were screaming out requests and "i love you eddie," ed said, "if someone next to you is acting like an idiot, you have my permission to hit them." and then later on in the evening he was telling a story about being a security guard and people started laughing and he said something like, "what? why is that funny? don't you see how i handled those people earlier in the show?" damn.. it doesn't seem funny when i write it. but trust me, at the time it was hilarious.

and then... i think that ed said he was going to try a song that he's only played live once before. a couple of different options ran through my head, until i recognized i can't help falling in love with you. i was in las vegas in 2000 when the full band played this song, and i have to say that i thought tonight's version was better. ed's voice sounds amazing. so full and rich and expressive. this is one time when i wish there was a recording available, because i'd love to hear this again and figure out if it is just my memory that is playing tricks on me, or if these shows really were as incredible as i remember. either way, i suppose it doesn't really matter.

during the encore, liam finn came out and played the drums on santa cruz - a song from the last PJ fanclub single - and i need to find a version of this song ASAP because i realize now what i've been missing out on by not having a record player. liam's singing partner EJ (who has a brilliant voice in her own right) sang john doe's the golden state with ed. i highly recommend that you check out her myspace page.

as luck would have it, i am going to see ed's show in honolulu again next week. i have been planning to visit a friend who is living in hawaii for the summer and the first week of july was the only week when there was available vacation time at work. i knew that ed would be playing there then, but, since i didn't get tickets before they sold out, i thought i would be okay with not seeing him. i don't know how i got that crazy idea... because every day for the past week (starting the second i got home from memphis), i have been checking the hawaii theatre's box office for tickets and all of a sudden on thursday night, i was able to find two orchestra seats. it's like a drug.


Kristine Rosenborg said...

May I just say again, Eddie blew me away in Honolulu and I can not wait to read about it. I guess your review of it. Megan, please be a concert critic and take me with you on tours?

megan said...

i wish!! i'm so glad you liked eddie! it was a really special show, and i cannot wait until september!! seeing a pearl jam show with my house key in my pocket = priceless.