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Published: 2009/11/05

Pearl Jam Bring the Philadelphia Spectrum to a Close

Pearl Jam brought the Philadelphia Spectrum’s 42-year run of concerts to a close with a four-show stand that culminated on Halloween night. The famed venue—which has hosted memorable concerts by some of rock’s biggest names—is scheduled for demolition.

Just before 9 PM, Pearl Jam took the stage to the theme from the Philadelphia-based Rocky films with frontman Eddie Vedder donning boxing gloves and throwing air punches. Over the next 3.5 hours, Pearl Jam played a blistering set and two encores that featured an eclectic mix of 42 songs. The song selection ranged from the band’s formative years through the current Backspacer album. The night opened with a fitting “Why Go” that led right into “Last Exit,” with the band musically commenting on the end of the Spectrum. Other first set highlights included: “Glorified G,” the crowd sing-along “Black” and “Rats,” which featured an onstage rat costume. An electric “Life Wasted” closed the band’s set, though the group returned for one of its longest ever “encores.”

For its first encore, Pearl Jam offered the first live version of Vitalogy‘s “Bugs,” as well as “Spin the Black Circle” and “Porch”—the latter of which featured a scorching solo by lead guitarist Mike McCready. The band reemerged for the second encore dressed in yellow jumpsuits and red bucket hats covered Devo’s “Whip It,” with Vedder cracking a whip and the band giving their finest Devo impersonations. Pearl Jam ended the night in style with “Crown of Thorns” which the band had not played in nine years. In addition, bassist Jeff Ament debuted “Sweet Lew,” off of the rarities album Lost Dogs, while balloons and confetti filled the arena during a raucous cover of Neil Young’s “Keep On Rockin’ In the Free World.” Report by Michael Berkey

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