Pearl Jam, XL Center, Hartford, CT- 10/25
As the masses gathered out front of the XL Center looking for any extra tickets that weren’t $200 or higher, Eddie and the gang were meeting with some local fathers who would impact the course of the evening. Although there were a couple false starts by the house with the lights, no flag was thrown, but instead it seemed to rally the masses into the XL center for a night that none would forget.
The show started off with an uproar. Fans bellowed with excitement after waiting hours to hear the boys back in town. The energy in the XL turned on like a light on a fader. Starting the show with a few slow, heartfelt tunes including “Pendulum” from their latest album Lightning Bolt, Pearl Jam then dove head first into their library, performing 35 songs over the night, including a Happy Birthday to Matt Cameron’s son. They shook the XL center with a plethora of hits and covers including: “Corduroy,” “Do the Evolution,” “Better Man,” Van Halen’s “Eruption” and “Ain’t Talkin ‘bout Love,” Neil Young’s “Fuckin Up” and of course crowd favorites “Alive” and “Indifference.”
As Eddie Veddar swang from the drop down lights which light up like the stage like Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory during “Ain’t Talking ‘bout Love” Jeff Ament and Mike McGreedy looked as they were two brothers on stage swinging lights into one another and having fun as little boys do. As any fan could see the band is truly a family within itself and the theme of the evening began to take form of family, life and soon the audience would find out…parenting.
“I’m in the fire but I’m still cold…” Eddie sang during the “Pendulum” opener. The song could be described as how Eddie might have been feeling at the beginning of the night after meeting with fathers of children who were lost in the Sandy Hook tragedy last December. Eddie told the audience about meeting these fathers at the beginning of “Life Wasted Reprise” and explained how it “felt also like people we knew” and mentioned how it’s necessary to continue discussion with lobbyist so we “Don’t have another situation like that happen again. The myth of the gun lobby is a myth; they are just louder and more tenacious.”
Eddie made sure that everyone in attendance really grasped that idea and notion that there needs to be more precautions regarding gun rights “It shouldn’t be as easy as buying a pair of shoes. The lobbyists speak loud but the choir needs to sing louder. We don’t want any of those children’s lives to be wasted.”
Today, a fan may look back at the setlist and listen to the first two songs of Friday night’s show and gather a sense of heart break, loss, and emptiness. It was clear that meeting with these fathers had a profound impact on Eddie, being a father himself. As a fan may listen to “The Long Road” one could interpret as a parent’s struggle as a child grows up and leaves, to never return. Tonight, the song spoke to the heartache of children lives lost too soon. Eddie sang a lesson to remember “all the precious moments cannot stay.”
Eddie later joked with the crowd about family and parenting as he introduced the third song in the second encore, and jokingly mentioned “No, it’s not World Wide Suicide” in reference to his song about parenting. The song “Future Days” was dedicate to fans Dan and Beverly, which Vedder would then inform the crowd that each song is open for interpretation but let the crowd know what that “Future Days” inspiration was really about… “Parenting but not with your kids. It’s about wanting time with your partner. About the time to give you a chance to fuck your partner.” As the audience laughed Vedder mentioned he was sorry if there was a parent in attendance with their child in attendance, and for maybe having to making them answer the hard life question of a child to a parent of what “fucking is.”
The night concluded with Eddie letting the audience know that it was Matt Cameron’s Anniversary and to join in with the band to wish Matt’s son a happy birthday, to which he asked the crowd to join in and sing happy birthday to Raymond. As Vedder would ask a security guard to help gather a few posters from fans, Vedder handed a poster to Matt Cameron from a group of guys in the first row of a drawing of Cameron that read “Can’t Touch This” and said “Happy Anniversary!
On this night, no one could have touched the emotion coming off the stage. With their in your face hard hitting rock, and soul piercing stories that were told at the sold out XL Center, Pearl Jam continue to foster a profound and well-earned connection with their audience.