Pearl Jam – Halloween Show

Written By: Alan Ritch

Length: 3 1/2 hours.
Total Number Of Songs Played: 41
Number of times I said “Holy Shit!”: 92
Number of drunk guys passed out next to me: 1
Number of times Jay With AEG tried to touch my balls: twice.

Main Set: Why Go, Last Exit, Corduroy, Severed Hand, The Fixer, Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town, You Are, Amongst The Waves, Even Flow, Pilate (first since: 2000-10-25), Unthought Known, Daughter/”CallandResponse”/ABitW2, Johnny Guitar, Rats, I’m Open (first since: 2008-06-28)/I Got Shit, Glorified G, Out Of My Mind (first since: 1994-04-06), Black/We Belong Together, Insignificance, Life Wasted
Encore 1: Just Breathe (w/ Philadelphia String Quartet), The End (w/ Philadelphia String Quartet), Low Light, Speed of Sound, Jeremy (w/ Philadelphia String Quartet), Inside Job, Bugs (w/ Philadelphia String Quartet), Spin The Black Circle, Porch
Encore 2: Whip It! (Devo), Got Some, Crown of Thorns, Satan’s Bed, Sweet Lew, Do The Evolution, Betterman/Save It For Later(partial)/”CallandResponse”, Smile, Alive, Rockin’ In The Free World, Yellow Ledbetter/Star Spangled Banner
————————————————————————————
First off, Bad Religion was awesome as shit. It’s a shame so many asses were in seats during their set, especially on the floor. Lame motherfuckers. Eddie snuck on stage and sang on “Watch It Die” and THEN people stood up and started cheering. It really annoyed me. I was really glad they played that together though, and Ed sounded great on the song. Greg (or was it the bass player?) made a joke saying “Hey that sounded pretty good. We should record it like that some time. ” BR opened up with Los Angeles Is Burning (as I was rushing to my seat) and also plowed through stellar versions of Struck A Nerve, Atomic Garden, Dearly Beloved, New Dark Ages, No Control, Man With A Mission, Infected, 21st Century Digital Boy, Suffer, We’re Only Gonna Die For Our Own Arrogance, and ended the explosive set with Sorrow. The bass player (decked out in a full skeleton outfit) made a comment about how Pearl Jam fans are the greatest fans in the world. They were all very humble and happy to be there. It’s a shame it seemed like only 5% of the crowd knew who they were. Anyway…

On to the main event. Like the other 3 nights (night 2 of which I also attended), the intro tape was highlights from Spectrum sporting events, followed by The Rocky theme. The band comes on stage, Jeff wearing a devil mask, and Eddie sporting boxing gloves as he yells “THIS IS IT!” and they tear into “Why Go” as Ed is throwing fake jabs and hooks into the air. I can’t even describe the feeling that rushed through me when they took the stage like that. It was the perfect opener, and I could tell right away that the band was going to be in rare form on this fine Halloween night. Last Exit felt just as good, and it seemed to be one of many perfect little salutes to the mighty Spectrum. “This is this is……..my…………Last Exit!”

I was a little bummed when they started “Elderly”, after hearing it at the 2nd show as well, and just generally being sick of the song…..but it still managed to pull me in for the ride. The audience vocals were off the chart. Even though Ed kind of went back on his word of trying to play all their songs they recorded, I really don’t mind that much that they ended up doing repeats from other shows. Everything that they decided to play worked really well and just fit like a golden glove into the moment and general mood of the show. They are masters at what they do. I loved hearing “Pilate” for the first time, and thought it actually sounded good. The night wasn’t just a sloppy jam session of lost gems. You could tell they actually put some time and effort into rehearsing them for this special leg.

There was a Vegas showgirl once again with the scorecard for the World Series, but she only came out on stage once, maybe twice. I guess because we were losing, and they didn’t want to bring the crowd down. Either way, I was glad because it made the attention fall more on Pearl Jam, as opposed to Pearl Jam/Phillies. Don’t get me wrong, the second night was a lot of fun (and unique as hell) with all the updates and “Let’s Go Phillies”/”Yankees suck!” chants…but this one was clearly meant to be more about the legendary band and the legendary building they were closing out.

Early on, Ed laid to rest all the rumors circling around about special guests for this show (Bruce, Neil Young, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi [*barf*]) and said something like “Sorry it’s just us. Hope that’s ok!” I’d say it was more than ok, and they more than held their own. Bad Religion was enough of a special treat anyway.

Ed pointed out a KISS costume in the audience and said it was Mike’s mom dressed as Gene Simmons. Mike said his mom was more into Paul Stanley. Then Ed said his mom slept with Gene Simmons. And then he said his mom fucked Mike’s mom in a Gene Simmons costume. Weird moment.

“We’re not taping this, right?” – Ed

He also told the story about Mike thinking the lyric to the KISS song was “I wanna rock n’ roll all night long… and PART of every day.”

I was bored with Daughter until the “Another Brick In The Wall” tag. Ed was singing “Teacher leave this stadium alone!”
Loved “Johnny Guitar”, and I’m glad I got it two nights. Rats was the shit. “I’m Open” was ok. Nothing special but still cool to say I was there for it. “Out Of My Mind” was played because a large donation was made by someone to some fund if they would play it. It was a lot of fun. Can’t believe it started out as just a simple improv that they would fuck around with in between “real” songs. “Life Wasted” featuring McCready’s blistering, hotter than hell leads crippled the walls of the old Spectrum, and served quite well as a first set closer.

Could have done without hearing “Just Breathe” again and “Speed Of Sound” (worst song on Backspacer), but it did serve as a nice little rest where I got to sit, take some pictures, and just take in all the amazingness I was witnessing before me. At the beginning of this encore is when Ed said “If you don’t like slow songs go take a piss or something” and also said “We might not even be half done yet, so pace yourself” At this point I think they had already been playing for an hour and half or better. My goofball friend Elliott was texting me going “The game got a late start, hit me up later” and I’m like “Dude….I think I’m going to be here for hours.”

“The End” ended up being my “emo” song of the night. Really hit me hard. It was beautiful with the string quartet backing. “Inside Job” was also a grand slam. Mike rocked the fuck out of a double neck guitar and made me feel not worthy. I hung onto every lyric, every note of that song, feeling for once like there was nothing wrong in the world.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, Mr. Vedder took the stage with an accordian and mumbled something about “never been played before…but it’s Halloween…and I really want this to be the first time” and lo and behold he started playing BUGS. Matt played shakers. Jeff played a bow bass. It’s novelty and filler, but I think this made my night. I never thought Id actually get to witness something like this. Yelling out all those goofy lines. Laughing my ass off the whole time. Follow it up with motherfucking “Spin The Black Circle”, and I was pretty much already saying it was the greatest Pearl Jam show ever.

Throughout most of the show Eddie was wearing a Devo shirt. I chuckled once or twice thinking about those silly little red hats.
Then at the beginning of the 2nd encore, the entire band came out in complete Devo suits and played “Whip It” It was hilarious. They rocked that shit too. Devo would be proud. Immediately after they played “Got Some” which many people on the internets have been declaring “A Devo ripoff” Gotta love the balls and humor this band has to not take themselves too seriously, and poke fun at the comparison.
Satan’s Bed was another perfect Halloween number, and a real highlight for me. So many times this night I thought “Why is Pearl Jam in my head?”

Sweet Lew was also pretty hilarious. Jeff rockin the mic in the Dr. J jersey, Stone slappin’ the bass, while Vedder dribbled a b ball on the side, along to the beat. At the end Stone was like “Motherfuckin Sweet Lew!” and the crowd of drunken Phils Phans went nutso.
Ed made a comment about how they already played Better Man this week, but he needs to hear it one more time in this building. He was right. The crowd participation never ceases to amaze me, and the end of that song just fucking JAMS live.

“Smile” was really great. “I miss you already!” Fuckin A man. Jeff switched it up again and played some nifty guitar licks, while Stone also once again brought the bottom end to end all bottom ends. Or as Ed would later say “Stone Gossard……………..he did his best!”

Since the great Neil Young couldn’t be there, we got the next best thing, and his classic words to “Rocking In The Free World” rang throughout the old arena, as a shit-fuck load of confetti and red white and blue balloons fell from the rafters, making the place look more like a republican convention featuring Garth Brooks, rather than a Pearl Jam show…but somehow it fucking worked. It was pure rock n’ roll madness. The band was supposed to end with Free World, but tacked Yellow Led Better onto the setlist (though no surprise there) and it was a wise decision. All the house lights on as Mike McCready serenaded us one last time at the end of the tune, with the Star Spangled Banner (Jimi Hendrix style) and brought the place down to it’s knees once and for all. Easily the best Pear Jam show I’ve ever seen. I’ll miss you Spectrum. We’ve shared some good times…………….but now it’s time to WATCH IT DIE!

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