As the news broke out of a Pearl Jam Euro tour weeks before anticipation was brewing, the day came when it was all systems go…
With two laptops on the go as OCD MAG severally pressed the refresh button while being on the blower to Ticketmaster, we were waiting, for war on tickets! Not only did the website decide to take a wobbly by slowly deteriorating and then sadly freeze, it was no wonder panic started to kick in! At long last tickets were booked, confirmed by a shaking hand, a yell, a scream and finally the realisation of what actually happened or better still what was about to.
Years of waiting for the Seattle band to break onto the scenes and stages within the U.K and finally it happened. So the date finally arrived to see the legends up close and personal. Excitement was over flowing, giddy laughs and frenzy dancing was all the jive, not to most people’s amusements but oh well! We headed up to Manchester, like a storm of dedicated fans almost on a grunge pilgrimage to the mother land, to see the stars in all their glory to hear the heavy riffs and the creative input of Mike, Stone, Jeff and Matt all complimenting the iconic. emotive vocals of Eddie.
Ahh, what else could life provide for us?
As the venue doors opened, a sea of people filled the empty places, and soon the venue was full. Late comers were assisted with torches up onto the balcony and most people used their own phones as la source of light which romantically resembled a Pagan gathering of digital candles that shone the light on the righteous path.
X were the support act, most people were too excited to see Pearl Jam and paid little attention, however, with a female vocalist in an all male group they were ready for the challenge, but lets face it, no one can top them! Their riffs were punk rock, vocals could have done with more aggression, however at times it did resemble to the likes of Hole, but only slightly… ya know without the attitude and angst which was replaced with maturity. Possibly this somehow mirrored Pearl Jams current state of mindset, lifestyle and hate to say it, age!
The lights dimmed on stage, the crowd went wild after the silence came some sudden footsteps of the legends themselves. The lights came on and all of a sudden we were off. This was it! All those days, months, years of listening to their C.D at home, in the car, on the radio was happening right now.
They opened up to our surprise with Release, the crowd changed with the dynamics and contrast of tempos as the set list changed from Release to Evolution. Just like a carefully written play, the audience were able to change emotion and ease into the two very different songs, mind sets, tempo and most of all, the emotive charge. Crowd surfing, moshing, singing, waving, little flashes of light startling, the crowd bobbing up and down like ants at work. Eddie was able to pick the mood up after a very sobering, heart-felt song with lyrics to follow.
You knew the rest of the gig was going to be grand.
With tracks such as Even Flow, Why Go it’s no wonder they are always deemed as the crowd pleaser! They are amazing live, so tight and constructive no one could really tell if it were a CD playing or them! Age didn’t hold them back at all, with more energy than some of the youth out there, the group rocked all night long. Then the intro to Black came on, a tear came to our eyes, the crowd felt what Eddie had felt that exact moment in time he wrote the song. As riffs belted out of the amps, the crowd just sang as Eddie witnessed. Then united we were one, as Eddie painfully sang out, ‘We belong, we belong together, together…’ it was apparent we did.
Alive and Jeremy also made our hearts miss a beat, with arms in the air, and a voice in our soul we belted our little hearts out to the lyrics that meant so much. With Mike playing the guitar behind his head, it was clear to see his influence and love of Jimi Hendrix.
The set list ended with Rocking in the Free World which left the audience upbeat and happy but most of all hopeful. From personal experiences, many artists do not communicate much, or talk to the audience when they perform, but Pearl Jam took their time and also paid homage to the death of Radiohead’s crew member who sadly passed earlier on in the week. The gig was over, and so was our hunt and hope for seeing the band live for the first time. At a point OCD MAG felt a little lost in terms of whats next? Who do I see now? The average Joe on the radio? But no, that wasn’t going to be any good or any comparison, however, we settled into aiming seeing them again perhaps at a bigger venue? Over seas? Who knows? Only they will, when they decide all we can say is can’t find a better man than our boys!