I saw Pearl Jam at The United Center, where the Chicago Bulls play, the other night. I decided to go for a few reasons.
1. Heterosexual Life Partner, my roommate and one of my closest friends, is probably the biggest PJ fan on earth. He has a bunch of bootlegs and he has been to a ton of shows. You know how I know he is a big fan? At one point in the show he told me how one of the guitar players has Chrone’s Disease, like my other closest friend, and he is a big activist. Sure enough, I saw a guy on the way out with a Chrone’s foundation something-or-other shirt on. Who knows that about a band member? He is like one of those little girls that memorizes all of the N’Sync members’ favorite colors, and I love him for it. So, I had to see what they are all about live if Neil is this retarded over them and we tend to agree on music to the point where we are like a dorky couple of fruity asses.
2. They are a band that speaks to my generation. I went to school during the Grunge Era. For those of you who don’t know, that is when a shit load of bands from Seattle came onto the scene, and all of the hair metal bands had to take off their makeup, cut their hair, and get jobs at Wallmart. Look for Ricky Rocket from Poison at your local Dairy Queen. He makes a mean blizzard. The things that man can do with a heath bar . . . In any event, these grunge bands dominated the airwaves and MTV to the point where we all wanted to wear flannels and be depressed. This was fun for a while, but now I see how high school girls dress and all I can think is, damn, chicks in my day wore baggy flannels, didn’t fix their hair or makeup, and it was like making out with Bob Villa. Sorry, Bob. I’m sure you’re a stallion.
Okay, back to the speaking to the generation. I have to be honest here. I love Nirvana. They changed music forever, but I rarely knew what the hell he was talking about. While Kurt Cobain was singing about mulattos and albinos, Eddy Vedder sang, “While you were sitting home alone at age 13, your real daddy was dying. Sorry you didn’t see him, but I’m glad we talked.”* Nothing like that ever happened to me, but his words in that song and others gave me the chills and they still do. Let’s put it this way, how many parties do you remember a bunch of drunk people singing Nirvana to each other at the top of their lungs? There’s something about Pearl Jam that just transports me back to high school, and I’m sure there is one band that does that for everyone much more than other bands. What’s yours? High school wasn’t a good time for me, but PJ evokes the few good feelings I had about it.
3. My Morning Jacket opened. They are an unbelievable band. Neil and I were very dismayed to see that everyone was sitting down during their set. Because we didn’t want to be the lone tools standing up getting in people’s way, we decided to stand up and cheer like maniacs in between each song, and dance, air drum, and basically rock out as best we could in our seats during the songs.
Some highlights to the show included
Eddy Vedder’s voice sounded great, he is still a cool, rock star at age 40, and he avoided political rants. I will say it is weird that he has graduated to wine during his shows, but since he’s 40 years young, and since he put down 2 or 3 bottles, I have to let him slide on that one. a) Granted, he wasn’t the man possessed, frothing about the mouth, entirely too good looking to be homeless man, but I’ll be damned if he doen’t seem like one, crazed rocker, icon that he was close to 15 years ago, but he is still one helluva rockstar. I’ve always contented that his work on the album 10 is one of the best rock vocal performances of all time. Just listen to him going bonkers at the end of Jeremy. It’s like some demon-rocker spirit is channeling through him to do his rock bidding. He really was a man possessed on that record.
b) They played every PJ song I needed to hear. You name it, they played it.
c) The United Center had 312, a great new Chicago beer, on tap. Sure they were $7.50 a pop, but they were so damned tasty. When you only have four bullet points about a show, and one of them is about beer, you may have a problem, but that’s a whole other self-reflective blog that I don’t have time for.
d) There were 2 goofy drunk guys arm-in-arm jumping in unison throughout entire songs. I was calling them the Wonder Twins. There was a grey haired dude, there were a number of those, right next to them consistently getting bumped into by with their Wonder Twin Powers.
Okay, this turned into a much more in-depth analysis than I intended, but would you expect anything less? Enjoy your weekend everyone, and keep on rocking in the relatively free world.
* Sorry if I blew that quote, but I’m far too lazy to look up the verbatim version.