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"Now I Know Why You Like These Characters So Much"

10/2/96 Meadows Music Theatre, Hartford, CT

Since i wouldn't know a gossard from a mccready if both landed in my lap, and since i don't know a goddamn track from vitalogy and no code and can identify maybe a total of 3 tracks from their entire catalog by name, i'll just tell you what i do know:

i went with some other people who i promptly ditched (which turned out to be a great idea; more on that later), but who know pj's material pretty damn well, so i made sure that they would be paying close attention to the performance so i could ask questions later. this information will most likely be completely useless to you, since i don't have a complete setlist. apparently they opened with 'long road,' and the very last song of the evening was 'yellow ledbetter.' the stuff in between is more of a blur to me, but they did 'alive' and 'jeremy' and 'even flow' and a whole bunch of other stuff from ten, 'state of love and trust,' 'elderly woman ...' (which ed announced was being done for the first time on this tour and was dedicated to "someone up here [on stage]" (he looked towards the crew when he dedicated it)).

there was ZERO pit until about an hour and a half into the show. i mean nothing, nada, zip, zilch. as soon as the first few rows started getting fiesty, ed repeatedly told them to calm down and finally resorted to announcing that people that "go over the top" would be thrown out, adding, "are you listening, security?" and true to his word, security started pulling people out of the pit and escorting them out of the show. at one point, ed jumped down off the stage and went into the first row of the crowd.

and now some pointless info about the concert experience: this was my first pj concert as you probably know, and it started out looking like it was going to be thoroughly unenjoyable. the meadows music theatre is a partially covered venue. there's basically a stage at the bottom of a hill, with seats starting right in front and going a good way up, all covered by a huge roof. behind the top row of seats is about 25 feet of level ground, half of it paved into a semicircular sidewalk. beyond that, on quite a steep (and tonight, muddy) hill is the lawn, which tonight was for all general admission ticketholders. between the sidewalk and the seats was a barrier, behind which were a shitload of security people and cops.

i had ga tix, so my friends and i planned to be on the lawn. i realized that the crowd up against the barrier was only about 4 people deep and that i could see over their heads to the stage, partially obstructed. i figured it wasn't going to get much better than that, because i knew i wouldn't see a damn thing if i went up on the lawn, so i stayed there while my friends went to the grass. anyway, my plan (and the plan of the other people standing against the barrier) was immediately foiled, because everyone who had assigned seats stood up as soon as pj came on, so we couldn't see. luckily, a large group of people jumped the barrier all at once, and in the confusion, a bunch of people around me completely toppled the barrier in front of my section, at which point the security people sort of threw up their hands because there really was nothing they could do. i just took advantage of the moment and jumped into the assigned seats, so by the time they rebuilt the barrier, i and a whole bunch of other people were comfortably standing in the last two rows of seats. i had a *perfect*, unobstructed view of the entire stage, and all of the people in the first 50 rows or so. i can't imagine having been in a better place. the rows of seats are so steep at the top that there wasn't even anyone in my peripheral vision.

and the show was fucking great. ed's voice was right on as far as i could tell, they were really tight, the disco ball was great. they *rocked*. now i know why you like these characters so much, caryn. and i think i'll go buy no code, too. :)

the verdict from my friends: "it fucking sucked. we couldn't see anything from the lawn."


ah, more details are coming back to me now ... when the barricade was made of a lot of roughly 8' sections, linked together. the section that was toppled in front of me was about 4 of those sections, all together, still linked. the security people eventually stood it up again.

later, we heard a loud crash behind us, and when i turned around, the barricade was down, and it was in pieces, so i guess that's what caused the riot police to enter the scene. a little later, i turned around and they had rebuilt the barricade and added a *second* barricade about 8' behind the first one, with security between the barricades. so at that point is was near impossible to get through, because jumping the first barricade put you in a cage with security.

today my friends mentioned the riot police, complete with clubs, running into the crowd on the lawn.

scary indeed.

© Seth Perlman... used with permission

Seth maintains the unofficial soundgarden homepage which we're rather fond of. We're hoping he will continue to be a PJ fan :)