I’m still in utter shock, so I’ll choose my next words carefully: tonight was one of the most incredible nights of my life. Seriously. This, truly, was one for the ages: combine a near-perfect setlist, an audience that couldn’t stop singing, and a band that was obviously touched by the experience and you’ve got the ingredients for a show that’ll be talked about for years. Like I said, I’m still in a daze. I feel like getting up and running around the field across from us, then coming back in, making myself a meal, throwing in Live at the Garden and staying up til sunrise. I’m literally bursting at the seams; I haven’t felt this way following a concert since Pearl Jam in Buffalo three years ago, which is the single highest praise I’m capable of ascribing a show.
For the record, here’s what they played:
set: Release, World Wide Suicide, Life Wasted, Severed Hand, Hail Hail, Unemployable, Dissident, Even Flow, Corduroy, I Am Mine, Low Light, improv/Whipping, You Are (started twice), I Got Shit/(Cinnamon Girl), Better Man/(Save it for Later), Jeremy, Marker in the Sand, Black, Rearviewmirror
1st encore: Wasted Reprise, Man of the Hour, Small Town, State of Love and Trust, Do the Evolution, Alive
2nd encore: Go, Crazy Mary, Fuckin’ Up, Indifference, Yellow Ledbetter/(Beast of Burden)
That’s thirty songs, not including the improvs and the tags.
But it wasn’t just the setlist that made tonight so special (and in fact, rereading it now I almost feel like shrugging and going, “Is that it?”). It was the entire package: the communal spirit inside the Air Canada Centre (there was a wave going around before the band even took the stage), an audience that seemed intent on screaming (not singing) every single word to every single song, a band which has apparently found its road legs extraordinarly fast, numerous off-the-cuff jams (including a snippet of “Beast of Burden”, which happens to be one of Bri’s favourite songs, during the outro to “Yellow Ledbetter”)…literally every component of a truly memorable concert was present. The band, meanwhile, knew something special was happening; you could see it in their faces, in the way they were getting lost in the music, in how they were goofing off (Stone freaking out when he caught one of Matt’s broken drum sticks, for instance), in how they lingered for a good minute after the last song taking bows and waving goodbye. Part of what makes every Pearl Jam concert so memorable is the interaction between audience and band; the synergy can literally make or break a show, and tonight, it sent the show crashing through the Air Canada Centre roof. If it sounds like I’m gushing…well, I am. Because night like this come around very, very rarely, and I wish everyone who reads this blog could have been there to see it. Tonight is the kind of night that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Rock n’ roll probably shouldn’t mean this much to me–but it does, and tonight, Pearl Jam reminded me why.