cut to later, now you're strong
you've bled yourself, the wounds are gone
it's rare when there is nothing wrong
survived and you're amongst the fittest
love ain't love until you give it up
riding high amongst the waves
i can feel like i have a soul that has been saved
i can see the light coming through the clouds in rays
gotta say it now, better loud than too late.
pearl jam, amongst the waves
what better way to get back to blogging than to write about the pearl jam show i saw in philadelphia last week? it's been three days now, and what i saw is still setting in. for all of the nights as a pearl jam fan that i've sat in front of my computer watching setlists and kicking myself in the head for not being there... well, finally, i was.
many of my most memorable life experiences have had something to do with this band - from my first concert in 1996 to flying across the country by myself to sitting in a bar with people i wouldn't know if it weren't for our shared love of pearl jam. and now high up on that life experience list will be standing outside the spectrum on a cold saturday afternoon in philadelphia with my ear pressed against the wall listening to PJ soundcheck pilate and out of my mind.
it was sometime during the middle of corduroy when i looked around and watched all the people who were clapping that i realized that this experience was worth every single penny i spent and headache i had in getting to philadelphia. no words that i write can describe the feeling i had inside the spectrum on saturday - it's like there was an electricity in the air and i wish i could somehow figure out how to have that feeling with my forever. it was a mixture of sadness, happiness, hope, and love. (just like every good pearl jam song). as i was telling someone today, before going to this concert i had absolutely no emotional connection to the wachovia spectrum - (in fact, i really only knew of it from all the time i spent on its website checking to see if tickets to this show had been released) - but by the time pearl jam played rockin in the free world and streamers and balloons were released from the rafters, i was crying. even days later, i have no desire to read other people's reviews of this show - i don't want anything to cloud my memories; i want them to stay mine forever.
so here are some of my other personal highlights from the show:
pilate - "this will fall into the category of stuff we hardly ever play or have never played and probably never will again. at least in this building." for me, what makes this song is the third verse - "stunned by my own reflection/looking back sees me too clearly/and i swore i'd never go there again." and i swear that at the end of the song, ed said something like, "given the encouragement, we'll play a lot of f*cked up stuff tonight." ha! that's for sure...
out of my mind - speaking of weird and random songs. it started with eddie telling a story about some mystery person who would give a large donation to something if only pearl jam would play this song, which isn't really a song at all, but an improv from a concert in 1994. 1994 also happens to be the year that i really started getting into PJ to the exclusion of everything else. i remember buying a copy of the not for you single that had this as a b-side, and listening to it over and over.
bugs - my seat for this show was on stone's side, about 5 rows up. i've never sat on the side of the stage like that, and it was pretty cool to be able to see the guitar techs, sound guys, band, etc.. were up to when they came offstage. i was also able to see every time someone took out what i assume is a stand for lyrics, and i knew that probably meant that something kind of rare was about to happen. so i saw that come out, and then i saw ed putting on an accordian and i kind of felt like i was dreaming. so cool.
amongst the waves - this was one song that i was hoping they'd save for tonight. after some initial reluctance, it has easily become my favorite track on backspacer. you know when ed sings "i can see the light/coming through the clouds in rays"? something about the combination of his voice and the music makes me want to close my eyes and live in that moment forever.
i'm open - can i count the number of times i have fallen asleep while listening to no code, and particularly this song? (and i mean that in a good way). actually, no, i don't think i can. no code remains my favorite pearl jam album precisely because of songs like this - songs that make me want to cry and smile and laugh and yell all at the same time. even after all these years, to me eddie's voice is a major force in my life; from the first time i heard him when i was 12 years old sitting in front of my television in bangor, maine, to now when i am almost 30 years old, it has not lost its power to make me feel at home.
rockin in the free world - "let's do this." it was during this song that the balloons and streamers were released from the rafters. the house lights came on, and there are simply no words to convey how awesome it was to be in the crowd, and to feel like i was sharing something really special and private with not only the band but all the people in the audience. for all the bad things one can say about the spectrum (it was confusing to find your way around, going to the bathroom during the break after the opening band literally took me half an hour because it was so crowded i couldn't even move), looking around at the crowd during the show literally made me cry from happiness. and i will not soon forget the expressions of joy that i could see and feel on the band's faces even from my seat.
there were so many moments from this night that will stay with me forever, and when i close my eyes i can still see them and can feel like i am there. what i saw is still settling in my mind, and i'm not sure that it will entirely sink in for awhile. from eddie coming out with boxing gloves, to jeff singing sweet lew while eddie dribbled a basketball, to the band dressing as devo and playing whip it, to mike playing the star spangled banner as a send-off to the spectrum, i am left with some awesome memories that make me want to nothing but dance around my house with a great big smile on my face.
*edit: i totally can't believe i forgot lowlight and smile! sheesh! i have only been waiting since 98 to hear lowlight live. idiot, megan. please forgive me for my oversight pearl jam. now please play hard to imagine the next time i see you.