Pearl Jam in NYC June 24, 2008 – guest review

well, I saw the Thievery Corp in Central Park, last night, on assignment for This Week in New York. A stupendous show. Review to come!

Meanwhile, Mr. Twi-ny himself saw Pearl Jam at Madison Square Garden earlier in the week.
check it out!


Tuesday, June 24, and Wednesday, June 25

“Why be satisfied,” Eddie Vedder declared early on in Pearl Jam’s first appearance at Madison Square Garden since July 2003. “We’ve got all night.” Explaining that they had negotiated a deal that allowed them to play past curfew, Vedder led the band through thirty songs and more than two and a half hours of nonstop energy. On a very brief tour (twelve shows in nine cities in twenty days) organized around the group’s recent appearance at Bonaroo, PJ is not out promoting an album, or even a specific political candidate. Instead, they are having a blast, mixing up setlists with songs from throughout their nearly twenty-year career.

Vedder seemed particularly pumped to be back in New York City, waxing poetic about its record stores — after playing “Spin the Black Circle” — and sharing memories of past gigs here. For the uninitiated, Pearl Jam shows have taken on the aura and epic proportions of Springsteen concerts, as fans know just what words to shout at and when to pump their fists in unison; the band mixes up the setlist every night, with songs about the working man and war; they make cover songs their own. On Tuesday night, they included the Who’s “Love Reign o’er Me,” Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower,” and the Ramones’ “I Believe in Miracles,” with special guest CJ Ramone. Most of the band has been together from the beginning, and chants of “Boooooooooooom!” ring out whenever keyboardist extraordinaire Boom Gaspard joins Pearl Jam onstage.

With Jeff Ament on bass, Stone Gossard on rhythm guitar, Mike McCready on lead guitar, and Matt Cameron on drums, Vedder led the ferocious crowd through such songs as “Corduroy,” “Faithfull,” “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town,” and “Even Flow,” with McCready striking all the requisite guitar god poses (and holding a fierce duel with Gaspard on the Victoria Williams song “Crazy Mary”) and Vedder rambling around the stage, occasionally stopping for a little wine and a cigarette. Vedder dedicated “Do the Evolution” to comedian George Carlin, who passed away Sunday, and the antiwar singalong “No More” to a seriously wounded Iraq veteran, making his cries of “I’m still alive” on the encore “Alive” that much more potent. (Of course, playing it immediately after the Ramones cover, he might have simply been celebrating that CJ was still with us, after the tragic deaths of Joey, Johnny, and DeeDee.) Ted Leo and the Pharmacists open the show.

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