Pearl Jam

First Direct Arena, Leeds on Tuesday 8 July 2014

I am ashamed to say that this is my first trip to Leeds Arena. Having been open a year, we must have been waiting for that special band to bring us to our local large capacity venue. And it is our new favourite. Securing standing tickets for any Pearl Jam show is a task in its own right, so knowing that even seating tickets in this venue were going to be good, due to its side ‘fan shape’ design, we were ready to be anywhere in the venue. As we walk into the hall, we see how close you can get to the stage… we are right at the side (and we sauntered in!).

There’s no support act on tonight, it’s just pure PJ from start to finish. The doors open at bang on 7pm for the fans, then we have nearly an hour and a half to wait until the band make it to the stage. You know what they say though; “the best things come to…”

For the lesser involved Pearl Jam fan who only knows the hits, this setlist may have started out slow. ‘Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town’ is a lovely song to sway along with your new neighbour to, and ‘Breakerfall’ snaps that sway into fun jostling. It’s a 10 Clubbers (Pearl Jams fan club) dream, as songs that have rarely ever been played make an airing tonight. ‘Tremor Christ’ has only been played 64 times before, ‘Ghost’ 17 times,  ‘Don’t Gimme No Lip’ 11 times and ‘Fatal’, a fans request, has the rarest appearance at only being played live 5 times before tonight. A real treat!

Of course it’s the hits that move a room, so the roof is raised for an early airing of ‘Evenflow’, and this continues with ‘Rearviewmirror’ bringing about the encore, and the second (yes second) encore housing ‘Black’, ‘Jeremy’ and ‘Alive’. Personal favourites are the crescendoing ‘Porch’, ‘Smile’, ‘State Of love and Trust’ and set ender ‘Indifference’.

Of course, with this being in Leeds and minutes down the road from where the Who recorded their legendary album ‘Live at Leeds’, there is undoubtedly going to be some Who references. We get not only one, but two Who tracks! The amazing ‘Baba O’Reilly’ is no stranger to a Pearl Jam encore, but tonight we also get ‘The Real Me’. I can see this show selling a lot of official bootlegs… There are also covers from Edward Holland Jr with ‘leaving Here’, and a bit of ‘All Along The Watch Tower’ by Bob Dylan, plus a cover of one of Eddie Vedder’s solo tracks, ‘Setting Forth’. Matt Cameron’s son Ray also comes on stage to play guitar in front of his proud Dad.

There’s a few sobering words throughout the show, with Eddie dedicating ‘Man of The Hour’ to his Uncle who has sadly passed away days before the tour, and ‘Army Reserve’, co-written by one of the West Memphis Three Damien Echols. The lighting is fitting for the show, with a large metallic structure bobbing down now and again above the bands heads, directing light off into the seating areas. The light bulbs on ropes are lowered every so often, and it’s a great idea to put a camera in one of them to film the crowd as the band swing it around like a pendulum (Jeff Ament even rests on one for a while, lighting his face up green and yellow). There are some funky camera angles from on stage cameras, most noticeably one we have named the ‘Crotch Cam’.

With a start time of 8.30pm, we thought it would be a good two hours plus set. The arena though I hear has special soundproofing and no curfew, so when the band are still playing at 11.45pm the crowd are truly stoked! Over three hours of Pearl Jam, with Vedder swigging from a wine bottle and saying we want to play more!

All I can say is what a show! Hours of PJ, rare songs, incredible venue, great sound and visuals… well worth the ticket price. Get to Milton Keynes if you can this Friday to see them, very highly recommended!

Of the Girl
Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
Hail Hail
Mind Your Manners
Lightning Bolt
Tremor Christ
Who You Are
Even Flow
Push Me, Pull Me  
Do the Evolution
Don't Gimme No Lip
Army Reserve
Present Tense
Given to Fly
Setting Forth

Man of the Hour
All or None
The Real Me

Leaving Here
State of Love and Trust
Baba O'Riley
All Along the Watchtower

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article by: Danielle Millea

published: 09/07/2014 10:50