Pearl Jam, Manchester
Monday, June 25, 2012 ~ 1 comment so far
And so it was that, 20 years since first hearing a single called Alive by a band named Pearl Jam, that I sat and listened to the opening chords of Release with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.
We’ve been through a lot, Pearl Jam and I, more than I probably remember. Almost every song has some meaning, some emotional memory attached and I’ll happily that I was probably a little over-excited to finally be seeing them live!
Setlist was interesting, they change it every night* so you never know what to expect but some of the song choices weren’t MY favourite but that didn’t detract from the fact that this is a well-seasoned rock band doing something they obviously enjoy. No gimmicks are needed, especially when you’ve got someone with a voice like Eddie Vedder, and despite my general loathing of overly guitar wank solos, even when Mike McCready was letting rip it seemed to fit, seemed to be ‘right’ for the song choice.
Pearl Jam have always been that little bit different. They don’t seem hell bent on commerical success and whilst they are very much a rock band, they always seem to have been happy treading a slightly different path, lyrically and musically. My love for word play drew me to them as I listened to Ten, their first album, and I’ve been a pretty faithful fan since then.
They don’t tour in the UK all that often, and I baulked at £90 for a ticket in London a few years back, but this time around it was a must. I’ve heard a lot of their live stuff, largely because they record most of their gigs and release them on their website for fans to buy. That said, you don’t half get value for money, two and a half hours worth of songs which continued even though the house lights had come on! Quite a sight to see a sold out Manchester Arena singing along to Rockin in the Free World (yup, Neil Young cover) and refusing to leave!!
The only downside was finding out that someone who spoke to Eddie before the gig requested a track, got it played and… yeah well it wouldn’t have been my choice of song, and from the less than enthusiastic response I don’t think it was a massive favourite all round!
Regardless, it was an excellent gig by one of my favourite bands, and for once it was great to have my expectations both met and overwhelmed!! Memories of Eddie swigging on a bottle of wine, the opening chords of Just Breathe (as part of Encore 1), a soaring Given To Fly, Pilate (not often played), and the closing encore of Better Man, Come Back, Jeremy, Alive and that stonking cover of Rockin in the Free World, will remain with me for a long time. Hopefully I’ll see the band sooner rather than later though, and if that means a trip to the USA, so be it!
Tuesday, April 5, 2011 ~ Comments Off
I’m getting too old for the kind of gig I was at last night.
Too old to be on the main floor, arms raised, head back, jumping up and down in the midst of a writhing, sweary, ecstatic group of people all determined to give Faithless a little bit of payback for all the fun they’ve given us.
The place was packed, rammed to the rafters, there was no space anywhere so everyone just got on with things. Those that barged through had no choice, there were no angry exchanges, just bouncing, grinning, enthusiasm all round.
Epic. Was the word I used on Twitter last night and it still feels right. Maybe it was because I had no choice but to abandon myself to the whims and energy of the crowd, maybe it was because this was the ‘farewell’ gig from a band I’ve enjoyed for many years so I felt I had to give a little energy back to them, or maybe it was because their music demands such a response.
I’ve seen Faithless a couple of times before and by god do they know how to do a live show! They are most definitely a band, rather than the DJ led dance outfit which many of their tracks would suggest, and in a venue like the O2 Academy in Glasgow (an old theatre/cinema), with the bass reverberating, and the crowd in the palm of their hand, they nailed it.
The last few albums have been a bit hit or miss, so I can understand why they are calling it a day, but I’m sure they could spend another year or two touring the current setlist and still sell out wherever they go.
Random thought of the day
Tuesday, November 16, 2010 ~ 5 comments so far
I was at the Skunk Anansie gig last night and there were a lot of tattoos on display. A lot of them on women including one full lower arm piece. It got me thinking.
To have a large piece of ink on display, pretty much all the time, takes an attitude and lifestyle but which came first?
Was the “I don’t care what anyone thinks” attitude always there? Or was the tattoo part of gaining that attitude? Doubtless it was somewhere in-between but is there something there about being able to develop a mindset that maybe is sometimes hidden? A way of making a bold decision to make (force?) a change in your personality?
I think that it can take big events for some people to re-focus on themselves and take a step closer to who they want to be, and whilst it wasn’t the original reason behind my first tattoo, it’s certainly a lot closer tied to my thinking this time around.
Or maybe I’m just too old to care anymore.
Don’t answer that.