Monday, August 4, 2008

Eddie Vedder - The Opera House August 1, 2008

Eddie Vedder
The Opera House, Boston, MA
Friday, August 1, 2008
Support - Liam Finn

It seems like only a month ago now, well yeah in theory it was..just a little more actually, that I saw Eddie Vedder fronting Pearl Jam. A few weeks later it was announced he'd be doing a solo tour of the East Coast. Eddie had done this before on the West Coast so it was "our turn".

Having missed the fan club sale I was stuck trying my luck with Ticketmaster, and in the end it all worked out because I saved money...see I only wanted, or needed ONE ticket, and the fan club requires you to buy two. I was lucky to score 8th row seats on the isle. It was quite a seat.

The show was at the Opera House in Boston, a wonderfully restored building that has, in my opinion, far too few rock shows. As I was escorted to my seat I was handed what appeared to be one of those "Playbills" you get if you go see a 'Broadway' show. Upon further inspection it was one that was for this very show. I flipped through it to read bios of opener Liam Finn, as well as some of the causes near to Eddie, such as the West Memphis Three No sooner did I sit down and the lights came down. Walking to the stage was Liam Finn with EJ Barnes. The stage was set with a small drum kit, two mic stands and a few amps. Over the next 35 minutes Liam won himself a new fan. Liam, who is the son of Neil Finn (Split Enz/Crowded House) is quite the entertainer. EJ played various percussion and the autoharp as well as offering up some backing vocals. Liam was a lot of fun, he uses many looping samples and actually looped the guitar, then looped the drums, then came back to do a second guitar part over that. For god sake there was even a theremin! It was quite the set, but sadly they didn't have the latest cd for sale for me to continue with them on the ride home.

The curtain came down and the set turn over took place. It took about 30 minutes and just about 8:45 the lights came down and the curtain went up.

Eddie strolled to center stage and took a seat. A large backdrop behind him appeared like a back alley and Eddie surrounded by a reel to reel machine as well as guitars settled in.

Opening with a cover of Daniel Johnstons "Walking the Cow". The audience, who had stood for his arrival settled back in to their seats. Eddie was in fine voice and kept the banter at the outset to a minimum. The audience on the other hand took liberty with the silence between songs to shout everything from "Eddie" to song requests to silly lines like "Play some Pearl Jam songs".

The set was strong and when Ed finally mentioned he had been under the weather I was surprised. His deep rich baritone really found a home in the Opera House. He'd even poke fun at old bosses for jobs he had growing up..saying something along the lines of "Look at me now I am in the F'ing Opera house!". We were given some Pearl Jam songs, and a lot of the set was from Eddies work on the soundtrack for Into the Wild.

The show was not without its slight issues, Ed would forget a line and curse at himself, he'd botch an intro and then was refreshing honestly..and what I found most surprising..he played everything from guitar to ukulele to mandolin without missing a note. That is what impressed.

For most of the set the audience took the queue of silence to shout out anything and everything. From the "I love you's" to "You are a God" to whatever you can think of. Finally 55 minutes in to the set Ed said "I can't really hear you guys, and have been great..but a little belligerent...i didn't think I'd have the assholes until New York".

Ed took a quick moment to poke fun at "traded the day before" Manny Ramirez by donning a make shift head dress and asking for 10 million dollars. It was a pretty funny moment that I am doing little justice to.

The main set wrapped with "Porch" and that brought people to their feet as Ed walked off the stage.

After a short set break with the roadies (dressed in lab coats) tuning and making the stage cleaner...with some Alien sweeping the floor, Ed arrived back on stage.

The audience, who would stand from this point forward began to clap and Ed made up a song on the spot. Basically it was sort of a stream of consciousness thing...just a few verses about the East Coast and West Coast etc. The encore would bring Liam Finn back out to do "Society" then the short blast of "Lukin". He'd perform "No More" to rousing call and responses and the audience was right there with him.

The encore ended with "Arc" which was very impressive. I am sure technical musicians wouldn't be impressed but it was cool none the less. Ed puts on a lab coat and says "lets try this out". He asks for the audience to quiet down and he starts off with some very baritone "ahhh ahh ohhhh's". He did this over and over to loop it all together. It took a few minutes to build and was really very very cool. As the song did its thing, he walked to the tip of the stage and the curtain came down. In the spot light he waived and was visibly humbled by the adulation. He disappeared behind the curtain and part of me thought that was it....but after a few moments the curtain rose once more.

A massive ocean backdrop and fog machines rolling, Ed with the help of Liam on drums and MJ on backing vocals performed "Hard Sun". It was a great version and the audience was hanging on every word. It was a great set closer and Ed actually used the Reel to Reel machine for the first time all night.

All in all I was pleased, the tickets were not cheap, but I am not sure how often something like this comes along in your lifetime. This is one of those shows that make me glad I am a taper of shows. I'll have the memories, as well as the music, forever.

Set list. (covers by Daniel Johnston, the who and James Taylor)

Walking The Cow, Trouble, I am Mine, Dead Man, I'm Open, Man of the Hour, Wishlist, Setting Forth, Guaranteed (partial), No Ceiling, Rise, Guaranteed, Far Behind, Millworker, Goodbye, It's Just a Broken Heart, Drifting, Hide Your Love Away, I'm One, Porch

1st encore: Untitled, Small Town, Society (w/ Liam Finn), Lukin, No More, Arc

2nd encore: Hard Sun (w/ Liam Finn)



At Tuesday, August 05, 2008 7:08:00 PM , Blogger cubmommy said...

That show sounds awesome! You are so lucky! I love Eddie Vedder.

At Thursday, August 07, 2008 1:24:00 AM , Blogger Rusty said...

After loving them hardcore for well over half my life, I gave PJ up as my favorite band for weirdness and social cause fanaticism and just generally hating their last studio album...but when I imagine how incredible it would be to hear Eddie sing solo on I Am Mine - which is quite possibly my favorite Pearl Jam song of all time - I get more than a little wistful for the days when I loved them, no questions asked.

I'll bet you saw quite a show, sweetheart. Lucky you!

Oh, my...Arc. That "song" is supposed to be the primal sound of loss and sorrow. I'm sure it was breathtaking, but you're right...not technically perfect.

BTW, in your first encore, am I to assume that by Small Town, you mean Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a...?


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home