"Yesterday we were
home, tonight we're home free"
Memorial Stadium, Seattle, WA
22 July 1998
Review by Chris Hilton
Photographs by Chris Nagano
After an amazing show with several surprises on Tuesday, Iím wondering what we are in for on Wednesday.† I wait on line early to be sure and get the same great seats I had the day before.† Once the gates open I find them and secure my spot with no problem.† Meet up with friends and play the "I wonder what they are going to play tonight" game for a couple hours.=)
At around 5:30 I spot some friends in the crowd and run down to chat with them for a while.† We talk for a bit and they ask how my week of PJ shows has been, etc.† Around 5:50 Iím getting anxious and tell them I must head back to my seat before things started.† Of course, they roll their eyes, "Calm down, Chris.† Pearl Jam arenít going to come on for another hour and a half"† My response:† "Yeah, but you never know what Edís gonna do"† Sure enough, the minute I sit down he comes walking out on stage.† Iím so pleased with my foresight =). He says "Ok, letís get this thing started," and treats us to a phenomenal version of "Throw Your Arms Around Me."† My jaw just hits the floor.† I canít speak, I canít breathe.† My eyes are filling up.† Itís such a beautiful song.† And his voice manages it wonderfully.† I love it! The thought of hearing this had not even entered my mind.† I just didnít think it would ever happen.† Oh, from this moment on I know this is going to be an amazing night.† Only good things can be waiting for us.
Ed finishes up and introduces Sean Lennon and friends.† Iím really impressed with his set and wish he could play a bit longer.† The Wallflowers set is fine.† Iím trying my hardest not to say anything negative about them.=)† But, ya know, no matter who the opening act is, Iím always so excited for PJ I can barely see straight.† Anyone short of the original Led Zeppelin line up and I want them to get off the stage as fast as they can.
ed introduces the "wallfuckers"
Once again, The Colour Red starts up just as the sun is dipping towards the horizons. From my seat Iíve got a little bit of a view of the side stage and am in full freak out mode when I see Mike and Ed heading up the stairs onto the stage.† Iím more excited for this show than ever.† My last show this tour and all I really want is to hear "Mankind" and "Porch" just once!† But, after "Throw Your Arms Around Me," Iíll take anything.
And so we start things off with "Last Exit."† A different opener but, I like it.† Sounds different than usual.† Once again we can see that itís going to be a great night.† Last show of this leg and the band seems really excited. Running around a lot already. "Animal" is next.† Glad to hear this one again and very happy to see much of the crowd counting along with Ed on their hands.† A solid version and Matt is awesome.† I just canít say enough good things about him.
"Spin the Black Circle" followed by "Brain of J."† Both feature some nice jumps by Mike and Jeff.† Following BofJ Ed says "Are you the same fuckers from yesterday?† You look damn familiar."† The crowd tonight is much better, more into the music and enjoying themselves. "Last night we were home, tonight weíre home free..." The perfect opening to "Faithfull."† Just a beautiful song tonight.† Totally gives me goose bumps.
Like Vegas, Ed spells out M.Y.T.H. in sign language, which I find really touching.† And every time I see this, I wonder... did he just pull this out of his ass one night or did he do some research into sign language.† I mean, everyoneís learned the alphabet at sometime or another but, most of us canít remember every letter on any given day.† OK, probably a really dumb thought on my part.† Matt clearly loves to play this song.† His face is pure joy tonight and we are all glad to see heís enjoying himself.† Heís just hitting with everything heís got.† I love Jack but, God I hope Matt stays!!† I think he just makes the whole band better musicians.† His connection with the rest of the guys is so intense.
"Red Mosquito" is next.†† The more songs from No Code the better as far as I am concerned.† It sounds great, a good break in the set with its unusual sound. "This one is dedicated to the birds..."† "Given to Fly."† What a wonderful way to introduce it.† This song is finally become everything it should be.† At the AROspace in May, it sounded awful, too much drums.† In Missoula, still rough but better.† Tonight, the flawless mix of Edís wonderful voice, some excellent guitar work, and Mattís drums.† Itís phenomenal.
"MFC" and "Habit" go by all to quickly.† Both wonderful songs, yet by the time my brain processes them they are over. "Not For You" is next and features a extended jam, making it much longer than usual.† "Daughter" is also nice.† Mike is squatting for most of it.† I donít recognize the tag but, later find out that it is "Beginning to See the Light" by the Velvet Underground.† Another wonderful Mike solo during "Evenflow."
The next song is dedicated to someone off stage and it's "Off he Goes." Another favorite from No Code.† Itís beautiful.† Takes my breath away. "Betterman" and "Lukin."† Prior to "Betterman" we have an interesting PJ moment. Mike is running around doing I donít know what and Ed says "Hey, that's Mike McCready, he just walked by me.† Mike McCready just walked by me. That's fuckin' Mike McCready!"
"Present Tense."† Mike and Ed alone.† Jeff, Stone and Matt joining in. Always an incredible song, amazing lyrics: "...it seems that needlessly itís getting harder, to find an approach and know where to live..." Finally, Stone steps up to his mic and says, "Alright, weíre going to kick it up a notch ≠ with me."† Aaaah, "Mankind!!!"† Fucking finally, Iíve been hoping for this song at every show Iíve been to and this is my first time to hear it this tour.† A real favorite of mine, I love it just because itís so different.† Yet it somehow fits right into the setlist.† Iím singing along and dancing with all Iíve got.† Itís a great version, Stoneís voice is right on.
Next is our favorite crowd pleaser, "Alive."† The energy between the band and the crowd always amazes me during this song, it truly stands the test of time.† Tonight is no different.† All five of them are right on and the crowd is loving it.† Halfway through, some tool manages to climb to the top of one of the back speaker towers.† He stands up there playing his air guitar for the *whole* song.† The crowd just eats it up.† Towards the end of the song Ed sees and acknowledges the guy.
As "Alive" ends, Stone, Jeff, and Ed converge over this setlist.† They appear to be having a little argument regarding what to play next.† As they make this decision, Mike starts out these incredible bluesy riffs and Matt joins in.† Itís awesome.† Canít even describe how cool it sounds.† Youíll all have to hear it for yourselves.† Finally, some decision is made and Ed says "Stone and Jeff just wanted to tell me how much they'll miss me after the tour's over...and that would be a joke."† And suddenly we are fully submerged in an incredible version of "Corduroy."† We are hitting the homestretch now. The whole band is at an energetic height.† All of them are dead on into it. The crowd is going nuts too, most people jumping up and down and singing.
"Hail Hail" and "Do the Evolution" are next.† Wow!† We are getting treated to a super long set tonight.† Both songs are solid, hard driving, lots of energy. "1,2,3,4..."† I feel Caryn tap my arm from behind.† Holy fuck, "Porch!!!"† I was completely not prepared for this.† I *really* wanted to hear this song just once but, apparently I didnít realize how badly I wanted to hear it.† I completely lose it, out of body experience.† Itís incredible, my eyes are tearing up and soon I am crying harder than I have in months.† As far as Iím concerned, itís just me and the band, there may as well have been no one else in the stadium.† Amazing, this song just makes all the traveling, waiting in line, and dialing for tickets.† It is the ultimate culmination to a great month of PJ shows.† I know Iím being way too dramatic but, I could have died so happy at that moment.† This is *my* band, playing *my* song the way it should be.† Just raw power and energy.† Tight musically and completely happy to be out in front of an audience.† Aaargh!† I have goosebumps just thinking about it.
Ah, and they are gone.† Returning in just a few moments to kick the encore off with "Wishlist,"†followed by "Leatherman" and "Leaving Here."† Did they read the list of all my favorite songs and decide to play them tonight?† Stone is playing guitar for "Leatherman," I wish heíd do the tambourine again like AROspace, that was just a classic PJ moment.† "Leaving Here" is solid with all the solos in the right places.† After the big foul up in Vancouver Mike and Stone are *very* determined not to do that again. =)
Yes!† "Fuckiní Up!"† One of my favorite covers.† Love the words, love the way the do it.† The respect this group of guys has for Neil Young is so impressive.† Itís always nice to see that they are fans of great music too.
OK, I guess I canít ignore Mr. Pickles any longer.† At some point, I thought it was at the beginning of "Fuckin Up," Mr. Pickles, Mikeís scary looking little dummy, is lowered down in front of him on a string.† He bobs around ignored for quite some time.† Then Mike just goes nuts, heís playing away, while beating the crap out of Mr. Pickles with his guitar.† Poor Mr. Pickles is flying all over the stage.† Eventually Ed joins in and starts whacking him with the bottom of his mic stand.† I just have to mention this because it was so fucking hysterical.† "Fuckiní Up" sounds great, although I think Portland may have been a tiny bit better.
A short break and we get one final song, "Yellow Ledbetter."† A wonderful way to end this leg of the tour.† The house lights are turned on and the crowd just blows me away.† So many people, yet somehow it feels intimate.† Mikeís solo is excellent, he throws in a bit of Jimi Hendrix' version of "The Star Spangled Banner." Wow!†
A few days later and my heart still starts beating fast when I think about this show.† It was my favorite this tour.† Maybe because it was my last, or because we got such a great version of "Porch."† Either way, itís been an incredible month.† I feel so lucky that I got to hear so much great music. I canít say enough good things about this band right now.† They are so tight.† The intensity, energy, and power of every performance cannot be described with words.† They are obviously happy to be making music together and that really comes through in the sets.† It makes for a wonderful experience for us fans and hopefully for them as well.† Thank You!
For all of you who get to see shows on the eastern leg, enjoy yourselves and be safe!