MUSIC: Pearl Jam Unveils Lightning Bolt at The DCU Center
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
When lights dimmed and the stage resonated a distinct glow, people went absolutely insane. Pearl Jam took the stage and sent chills up my spine with "Release", an emotional tale about Eddie Vedder's dad who he never really knew. The crowd sang along to every word and it was the truest example of the human spirit I've ever witnessed at a show, and this was only the first song. With the spotlights initially focused on Stone Gossard strumming an acoustic six-string and Vedder singing vocals on "Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town", again the crowd sang along to every word with the rest of the band providing excellent rhythms. The audience-in-unison effect seemed to be the theme of the night, as it is with every Pearl Jam show from what I hear. Seeing the title track off the new album in Lightning Bolt performed live had a lot of energy. I listened to it a little bit before I headed to the show but experiencing it up close had a big impression on me. Right into another new one with "Mind Your Manners", this punk flurry of driving guitars combined with Vedder reliving his youthful angst took the intensity to another level.
Hearing "Evenflow" live showed how seasoned Pearl Jam is when it comes to playing a song they've known for over 20 years. Mike McCready's solo on guitar was incredible, Vedder was passing his bottle of wine around, and the audience kept on swooning to every lyric. Before Pearl Jam performed "Whipping", Vedder got all sorts of pumped up and proceeded to strum the opening riff. Afterwards they went into "Corduroy" and brought the house down. Vedder poured another concert goer a cup of wine and then Pearl Jam went right into "Got Some" that brought out one of many countless applauses throughout the show. Followed up with another uptempo number in "Save You", everyone in the arena was getting into it with hands clapping to the beats in the breakdown. If a song like "Leash" doesn't start a revolution I don't know what will, and when Pearl Jam played it the whole place erupted with vigor. Another track off the new album with "Let The Records Play" was the bluesiest song of the night; Gossard's and McCready's riffs syncopated perfectly. After igniting the pandemonium with "Do The Evolution", Vedder asked everyone if they didn't have any other plans and then they went right into "Betterman" for an epic finale to a spectacular initial performance.
Not done yet
The crowd wanted more, screaming and clapping like there was no tomorrow. Lead by Vedder with another bottle of wine, Pearl Jam proceeded to play "Last Kiss" to the people in the upper sections behind the stage. The classic B-side "Crazy Mary" brought more howls from the crowd, the constant singing along from the sold out arena was especially on point. Another hit with "Alive" followed up sheer brilliance, hands were waving in the air like a bunch of rock & roll disciples praising Pearl Jam as their savior. Madness ensued when they went into a rendition of The Dead Boys' "Sonic Reducer" and then "Indifference" turned the tables to finish things off on a low-key note but with the audience incessantly singing along.
What a night! I've seen a lot of concerts in my life and Pearl Jam on this evening definitely made the top 3. Everyone tells me how great Seattle's finest are live and they absolutely lived up to the billing. If you haven't gotten Pearl Jam's Lightning Bolt I suggest you get yourself a copy, it's a great return to form for one hell of a band. I'm never ever going to forget this show and I'm sure everyone else who attended will feel the same way.
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