Last night at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena PEARL JAM took us on an epic rock n roll journey via their perpetual motion machine. Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Matt Cameron and Boom Gasper shared their passion, their loves, their lives with us for three solid hours of playing, singing, running, jumping and interacting with the fans; Eddie even shared his bottle of wine with fans in the front row of the pit.
We traveled with the band to their dark beginnings in Seattle through songs such as Evenflow, showing us of the life of the homeless; Porch, begging us to let our loved ones know how we feel; and Black the loss of love. We experienced the pressures and losses due to fame through Betterman and Last Exit. They shared their reflection of the what the world had become/is (?) with songs such as Do The Evolution (“this land is mine, this land is free, I’ll do what I want, but irresponsibly, it’s evolution baby”) and Given to Fly
(“And he still gives his love, he just gives it away”). Eddie paid tribute to all the military in the crowd and singled out a special friend, Colonel McDonough, asking the audience “we get so much applause, let’s give the most to him (Col. McDonough)” and then played Army Reserve. Fans tweeted their requests and Pearl Jam fulfilled their wishes playing Just Breathe for Tamara and her daughter Rachel and Ghost for Dimitris who was dressed as a ghost and dancing in the pit. We tagged along as the band became more hopeful and encouraging through songs such as Let The Records Play, and Smile.
Pearl Jam played and sang their hearts out last night, but more than that, they took us with them. It wasn’t that we were entertained or that they worked the crowd; Pearl Jam includes you in their journey, and that is an experience few bands can accomplish, which is why after 25 years they are still selling out venues when they tour.