review & photos by Brett Habel
Wednesday, 11th March 1998
Yeesss!! The work day is over, yes that's right I had to go to work today ;) But now that's over and I am now off to see Pearl Jam, wooohooo!
I catch the train home and have Yield rolling in my Walkman, I have my eyes closed imagining what tonight will be like ... "Will they play Alive?" "Will they play Yellow Ledbetter?", "Will they play..."
I get home around 6pm and pack my bag with the help of my trusty checklist. I pack the essentials, DAT Walkman, mic, batteries, blank tape and of course, the most important item, the ticket. I have a feeling I am forgetting something as I head out to the car, but am sure I have everything.
I'm off, driving along the Hume Highway to the Ent. Centre with Triple J on the car stereo. Given to Fly is requested and I turn the volume up to dangerous levels, but hey, tonight's PEARL JAM night!
I manage to find a parking spot in one of the parking stations which is close to the Ent. Centre, jump out and make sure the car is locked up and put my bag on my back and head out to the meeting area outside of the centre. I meet up with a few friends, a few of whom are lucky enough to have floor tickets YET AGAIN!, lucky f^%$*rs, and then proceed to the entrance for the 'body search' or lack of one ;)
Shudder to Think hits the stage. I feel as though they are better received by the crowd than they were last night, and again their "where'd mum go? .." song grows on me. I can see why Ed likes it so much. Their set goes for a little longer tonight closer to 45 mins and the crowd's expectation grows as 9pm gets ever closer, a few stupid dicks in the second pit start screaming at StT, telling them to f... off etc. It was a little embarrassing, I mean, shit it's the first time the have been to Oz, and this is what they get, come on guys give them a break!
At last, the lights go out and we hear the wonderful 'Colour Red' flow over the PA system, the crowd goes absolutely WILD!!
"...1, 2, 3, 4, hoooold on to the thread....."
Oceans ... what a start, even this early in the concert I was just overcome by the sound, Oceans is an amazing song and sounds amazing live and with the crowd singing along I knew that this was going to be a special night.
Last Exit... with Jack leading in with a great extended intro, I am looking down at the pit and boy, it's a great sight. They are rising and falling ALL as one. Great stuff.
Brain of J ... if you were to explain the crowd's reaction to Last Exit as 'crazy,' then for Brain of J, the only word to explain them would be 'going sick!' Even though Yield has only been out for a month, the crowd's acceptance and knowledge of BoJ's lyrics is great. Mike's in GREAT form and Ed, well there's only one word... AMAZING!
Hail Hail... like Monday night, Pearl Jam started the set with a nice slow song and they break the crowd into a frenzy with three BLOCKBUSTERS. At this stage I am almost crying with joy, I am sooo glad to be here!
"... you guy's look good, how's it sound?..." - Ed
I think to myself, "How's it sound Ed? FUCKING AMAZING!" (hey, it's to the point :))
In Hiding... at last, after what seems like forever, I am finally hearing In Hiding live and let me say this for those of you who are yet to experience it, you are in for one hell of a treat. It sucks you in at the start with its amazing slow start then when you least expect it Ed hits the chorus and it hits you and you can't get out of the zone, a GREAT feeling!
"I've followed the truth to keep from lying...."
After this song a few overly excited young females start chanting "Eddie, Eddie, Eddie.." and in true Vedder humour he replies with "..ahh fuck you, ya wankers!.." he laughs and we all laugh with him, Ed again shows just how much fun he is having, a great moment.
Do The Evolution ... "I can kill 'cause in god I trust ..." This would have to one of my favourite lines, this song is so full of truths it's just not funny! Hearing it live was amazing, a few of you I have spoken to who went to Maui had said it was amazing and shit it WAS! Oh yeah, one thing I forget to mention in my last review was that during the 'hallelujah' bit the singer from Shudder to Think joins the band and provides the high note... nice!
Corduroy ... like a few of the previous shows during the South Pacific tour, Pearl Jam kicked off Corduroy with a jam, I hope this remains a permanent fixture as has become the case with the Daughter improv because it really adds another dimension to the song. I was sort of glad I was seated tonight as it gave me a chance to sit back and just concentrate on the sound, concentrate on Ed's voice, Mike and Stone's guitar, Jeff and Jack's percussion.
Wishlist... one of my favourites from Yield and about a third of the way through the song, all of a sudden the is this blanket of cigarette lighters popping up EVERYWHERE. It was a really nice moment and Ed agreed, "ahh ... that's beautiful" he remarked. Tonight we were also given yet another ending to Wishlist:
"I wish I was a radio star; I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish, I guess it never stops ..."
MFC ... is up next follows by an, as always, amazing version of Daughter. It's just sooo much better live and tonight we got a REALLY special treat with the improv being none other than 'Push Me, Pull Me.' WOW... I couldn't believe it! Pity it was only the lyrics and we weren't treated to the music. Then when Ed started to wind the song down he sang "Pull Me Out! ... Pull Me Out!" and at the of each line it echoed over the PA ... it sounded sooooo good!
Even Flow ... "this one's for the skaters I know from NY ..." My lasting memory from tonight's version of this song would have to be Mike's unbelievable solo, shit can this guy play guitar or what!!
Mankind ... "I'm going to sing this one so you'll have to bear with me," Stone announces, and we are treated to a great performance and Ed informs us that it was Stone's Australian singing debut and remarks, "... don't believe the hype." hahaha
Elderly Woman, Lukin and Not For You are played in quick succession and then we are treated to the night's highlight ...
Porch ... again Mike shines, and during his solo Ed reaches down to the pit and pulls some lucky bastard up onto the stage and the two of them start singing Porch!!! Then he lifts Ed up on his shoulders and spins him around and around. Ed proceeds to do the same to this lucky Aussie, amazing moment!
Pearl Jam then leave the stage, and the crowd takes a quick breather and gets ready for the encore.
Given to Fly and Better Man are both crowd pleasers and are followed up by an very intense version of Immortality with an AMAZING solo by Jack to finish the song.
Ed says, "I got this nice letter from these 15 year old kids and they had to be home by 11 so ... uhh ... we'll finish just in time for them. It's the guys from Silverchair, they gotta curfew (crowd cheers...) No, no if Silverchair were at one of our shows, I would keep them up all night with cocaine and prostitutes ..."
Smile ... what a great tune, it sounded great on the '96 Xmas single and sounded even better tonight, I don't know, it's that harmonica. It does magical things.
"... I miss you already, I miss you always"
RitFW ... with Ed instructing Keith to turn the house lights on, it added to an already amazing atmosphere and I can't remember what I was doing during this. I think I was on the floor ;) Neil Young would have been proud ;)
That's two down one to go. So far the shows have been WAY above expectations, really, they have blown me away and given another dimension to my love for Pearl Jam.
There are a few songs I have missed and pray they play tomorrow night, Sometimes, Tremor Christ, Alive (where has this one been???) and of course Yellow Ledbetter.
© Brett Habel ... used with permission
back to Sydney, part I | on to Sydney, part III