Monday, June 22, 2009

i just want to scream hello

best. vacation. ever was the text message i sent my mom on sunday morning. i had such a great time seeing eddie vedder in memphis and nashville that i don't think words can come close to describing it. but i'll try.

sometime during last thursday night's show in nashville, ed said something about how making into the wild and knowing sean penn has opened up a whole new world of experiences to him. before he knew it, he said, he was paddling down the colorado river and singing alongside amazing musicians. and i thought, well, wow, that's kind of how i feel about pearl jam. because of them, i have had so many great life experiences - and i have a scrapbook full of ticket stubs, pictures, and notes scrawled on hotel stationary after shows to remind me of them - that i never would have had otherwise. why else would i have flown across the country by myself for the first time in 2000? or why would i be sitting on beale street in memphis on a friday night, drinking a beer and watching a band play sittin' on the dock of the bay? this is the stuff that life is about. ed thanked sean penn, and i in turn will thank ed.

my seat for this show was in the balcony, literally the second to last row. as liam finn played, i started to get nervous because people around me were talking loudly, getting up and doing other generally annoying things. but once eddie took the stage, i forgot about everyone else. seriously. i read a reviewer describe one of these shows as feeling like you are sitting in ed's living room. i don't think that anyone who hasn't experienced one of these shows will believe me, but it was that and ten times more. rarely have i felt that purely happy, that completely in the moment as i did on thursday night.

the opening song was far behind, probably my favorite song on into the wild. i'm almost embarrassed to comment on ed's guitar playing, because i have pretty much no technical knowledge of music - but i will anyway. it has gotten so much better, and he seems more comfortable on stage than he has in the past - certainly the last time i saw him in vancouver. and his voice! my god, his voice. the sound in the ryman was incredible, crystal clear even up in the no man's land of the last row, and he absolutely owned that place.

next up, sometimes. (i won't go through song-by-song, i promise; these are just the highlights i scribbled down after the show). another one of my favorites, and the way he is doing it on this tour brings the song to a whole other level. this is one of those songs that just builds and builds in intensity, and it seems unreal to me that the noise on the stage is coming from only one man. when he finished the song, he led the crowd in a singalong of the ending - have i mentioned how many goosebumps i get when he does that? - and i'm pretty sure that after sometimes i reach to myself/dear god he said are you there god? cue the goosebumps again.

speaking of songs getting reworked (for the better, in my opinion) for these solo shows, wishlist is a prime example. a few weeks ago when i went for a haircut, my hairdresser and i were chatting about eddie vedder (she knew i was going to these shows) and she asked me if he ever played wishlist, because "that's my favorite song." i had to think for a second, and then i said that no, i didn't think he would play that. well, i guess i was wrong. it's almost completely different here though, with a lot more of the foot stomping from ed and clapping from the audience. plus, did i mention his voice yet? my god, it's gorgeous. whatever magic was in the air around me that night, i want to bottle it and have it with me forever.

fast forward in the show: the next thing i wrote down was porch. main set closer. best version of that song i have ever heard. maybe i was exaggerating or maybe i wasn't. again, i wish i could relive the night, just to experience the electricity i felt in the room. as a pearl jam fan - as a music fan - there are not many things better than experiencing a crowd who is feeling the same thing you are. by the time eddie was screaming the end of the song (you know, the part that goes hold you, feel you, ever again), everyone in my section of the balcony was standing up. how could you not? i think that there are few better cathartic experiences in life than singing along with the last minute or so of that song. my god.

and then, the last song of the encore. i have never been in the right place to hear arc live, and even from reading people's descriptions of it, i had no idea how powerful hearing it live would be. seeing ed hunched over in the darkness, and hearing him layer his voice on top of itself made me cry.

onward to memphis!

*during the day on thursday, i paid 12.50 to go inside the ryman on a "self-guided tour," because i figured that would be my only opportunity to take pictures inside. the theatre was incredible! like i said, it was unbelievably small and had incredible acoustics. if you go on the tour, you're allowed to walk around the seats, sit down, and go all the way up front. it's now one of my life goals to go back there. see? when else, if not for pearl jam and ed, would i have gone to nashville and seen a show at one of the most beautiful places i've ever been to? i love it.


Kristine Rosenborg said...

Ok Megan, seriously. I think this is one of your best written posts on music. On Eddie. YOU SHOULD BE A FRICKING WRITER.
I can not wait to see him here in Hawaii. Phil is helping me out I think with getting tickets right now. We will work something out...

megan said...

thanks kristine! believe me, it will be worth it. i love how i was just going to memphis at first, then that turned into memphis and nashville, and now it has turned into memphis, nashville and honolulu. ha. the power of pearl jam! or the insanity of megan. one or the other.