Saturday, November 21, 2009

Liam, Harper, and Pearl Jam

Springer messaged me during the week, with the offer of a spare ticket to Pearl Jam. Jumping at the chance to see Ben Harper, she promised that she would forgive me if I wasn't the biggest Pearl Jam fan.

A hot and sticky day, and a frantic drive back to Melbourne after work, we jumped in a taxi from mine, and got to Etihad Stadium just in time to see Liam Finn and EJ Barnes. These two offsprings of big Aussie music names held their own to a filling stadium.

We were in the Fixer section of the stadium, on the arena front section, and managed to negotiate the bar line several times, with relative ease, just before Ben Harper and his Restless 7 graced the stage.

A seated Harper for much of his set, he and the band played mostly new material, with Diamonds On The Inside being the highlight of his back catalogue.

A much shorter set than I'd hoped, but a true support artist length, in all honesty. The big moment was when Eddie Vedder joined Ben on stage, for Under Pressure.

After a brief, dark quite interlude, as the crowd grew, the stage started to come to life. Springer had actually gone to use the facilities, and go to the bar, and I didn't see her for the rest of the gig! I think she went into the moshing section, never to return!

As the band come onto stage, and their 2 and a half hour show commenced, I realised that I was surrounded with some pretty seriously passionate fans of the band. Tall, sweaty, smelly lads with a brief linger of aftershave. Not only the music was providing flashbacks to the mid-90s for me!

As someone who has heard the big tracks, again back in the mid 90s, I recognised tracks like Animal, Jeremy and Even Flow. Daughter was powerful.

There's something about Eddie, isn't there? I mean, I think I can honestly say that I am not sure I could have picked him out of a line up till last night. But he had the 50,000 people at Etihad, eating out of his hand. The engagement with the crowd, the continual chatter with the crowd, and his energy.

Eddie talked about the fact that he was playing to such a big crowd, and then talk about seeing someone else shine on the very ground we were standing on, and dedicated Given To Fly to Matthew Richardson (Eddie said Mark, but we all knew who he meant, and he corrected himself later), as the Melbourne crowd called out 'Richo' in response. Richo must have wondered why he had just announced his retirement from footy.

Our little Liam Finn come back out to join Pearl Jam, for Throw Your Arms Around Me, which would have been a massive stadium sing-a-long, expect that Liam fluffed the words.

Alive was amazing, and initiated massive crowd participation. The show was totally engaging, even for a non-fan. As the lights were turned on by the stadium, and the band continued their set for their two last songs, it was awesome to be amongst a fan base that were so adoring and so into everything the band did. As the crowd started to leave, Springer and I found each other, and made our way to the pub for more drinks, and show debriefing. A great night.


  1. Nice! Not a big Pearl Jam fan though but enjoy a few songs. Live concerts are generally awesome though --- when the artists actually sing! :P

    You've been tagged by the way.

  2. Pearl Jam is the standout band of the 1990's along with Nirvana. There music is honest and genuine and there is a message behind their music. Eddie Vedder is one of the great front-mans of all time, and McCready is an amazing guitar player.


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