Predicting Pearl Jam’s 2021 Sea.Hear.Now Setlist

By: Randy Sobel | September 9, 2021
Predicting Pearl Jam's Sea.Hear.Now. Setlist

Well, we are finally almost there. The first Pearl Jam show in over three years is just over a week away, and for many of us who had tickets to the initial Gigaton North American or European tour that are attending, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Actually, what does that even mean? Perhaps a better time was yesterday? Perhaps now isn’t actually a good time at all? Whatever the case may be (and keeping in mind that things could change on a dime) this moment is long overdue.

The band being inactive on the live stage for easily the longest point in their history can lead to a lot of speculation. They are a completely different band now than they were when they last debuted an album for a tour back in 2013 for Lightning Bolt. The whole world was different, and to be honest, Gigaton has even felt the slightest bit obsolete since it was released during the pandemic’s infancy. We have no idea where the band stands with these songs right now, which can bring a little intrigue when it comes to this upcoming setlist.

John and I have mastered the art of setlist buffoonery during the pandemic, playing hosts to a game show type setting during our setlist drafts that we’ve released to our Patreon. So we know a thing or two about putting together sets. I wouldn’t put us on Ed’s level, but I bet we can at least put together as good of a set as Boom. So that’s what we did for Sea.Hear.Now, we compiled what we thought would be the most probable setlist for them to play.

Since it’s a festival and they’ll have a maximum of two hours to work with, we’ve kept it to 26 songs, but we weren’t limited as to what we decide to use. But for their first show in over three years, I don’t foresee any Riot Act deep cuts sneaking their way in. I think there will probably be a handful of albums that won’t get representation during this. This is one of the absolutely rare instances where Ten, Vs. and the hits will be the most sought after songs outside of the brand new tracks.

We have both selected our sets, but I’ll let John share his first and then counter with what I selected. Spoiler alert: they are very similar, but anyone that knows how we dissect shows will understand why the thought process is what it is. If all goes well, maybe I’ll throw a few more curveballs out for when we do this during Ohana.

John’s Prediction for the Pearl Jam Sea.Hear.Now Setlist

Over the last couple of months, live music has started to trickle back into our lives, but this is the one that’s going to mean the most. They cancelled the 2020 tour early, and then the dominoes fell. I’ve been thinking about what that moment is going to be like when they walk out onto that stage in New Jersey for a while now, and the one question I’d love to ask Ed is “Do you know what song you’re going to play first?” Will they go for emotional weight, or a big singalong, or maybe a new song?

Remember, we haven’t heard any of Gigaton in a true live setting. We know from Jeff that they’re probably going to be limited to 50-60 songs, so don’t expect “Satan’s Bed” or even anything from Binaural.

It’s going to be one of the most cathartic moments the band’s had on stage in a long time, and the first song has to be able to carry that weight, so I think they’ll go with one that’s done its share of heavy lifting in the past, and open with Long Road. From there, they’ll need to pick up the crowd, so I’m going with (1-2-3, 4-2-3) Small Town into Corduroy. I don’t think we’ll have to wait long for some new songs to appear on the setlist, I’m sure they’ve been itching to play these live, and we’ve heard that they had worked up all of them for the 2020 tour. I think Superblood Wolfmoon (remember that one?) will debut first here, followed by Who Ever Said. Lightning Bolt followed by Given to Fly will lift everyone up, and lead nicely into the debuts of Alright and Quick Escape.

Even Flow will take its customary spot in the middle of the set, don’t any of you dare go to the restroom! I can’t wait to see what Mike’s got in store for this one. Daughter always complements Even Flow well, and I can see it being powerful here. It has to be an “It’s O.K.” tag, right? Or does Ed have something up his sleeve? At this point, they may try to sneak a deep cut in if things are going well and the crowd’s responding, which they absolutely should be. In Hiding may not be the rarest song in their catalog, but I think it could make an appearance here. Wishlist could be an underrated gem here, keep your ear out for any lyric changes. Back to Gigaton as we get closer to the end of the main set, I think you’ll see Seven O’Clock and Retrograde make their debuts, followed by Jeremy and Porch to end the main set.

To begin the encore, don’t be surprised if a pump organ appears onstage and Ed comes out to do River Cross solo. Just Breathe and Future Days will see the band seated, I think, and then Present Tense will build the energy back up. State of Love and Trust will keep it going, and then it’s time for Black, I’m sure there won’t be a dry eye in the house.

Better Man, Rockin’ in the Free World, and Yellow Ledbetter will close out the night and send them off to Ohana right. I don’t think they’ll play “Alive” out of respect for the current pandemic situation, if they do it will no doubt be an unforgettable moment, but I don’t think the time is right. “Dance of the Clairvoyants” was another one that I left off that they could play, but I don’t see a place for it here. Look for it (and the rest of Gigaton) to debut at Ohana. Unfortunately, I won’t be attending this show, and I may miss on all of my guesses, but no matter what they play it’s going to be a special night and I can’t wait to hear it.

Predicted Main Set

Long Road, Small Town, Corduroy, Superblood Wolfmoon, Who Ever Said, Lightning Bolt, GIven to Fly, Alright, Quick Escape, Even Flow, Daughter, In Hiding, Wishlist, Seven O’Clock, Retrograde, Jeremy, Porch

Predicted Encore

River Cross, Just Breathe, Future Days, Present Tense, State of Love and Trust, Black, Better Man, Rockin’ in the Free World, Yellow Ledbetter

Last 5 Cut

Alive, Once, Dance Of The Clairvoyants, Do The Evolution, Rearviewmirror

John Farrar's Pearl Jam Sea Hear Now Setlist Prediction

Randy’s Sea.Hear.Now Pearl Jam Setlist Prediction

Okay, so that might be a tough act to follow. I would take that show in this instance and I feel like that’s going to be pretty close to what we get. As I mentioned above, these sets are very similar, but I’ve added my own spin on what I believe their approach in Asbury Park will be. As a heads up, these sets were made without seeing the others beforehand.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the most important and emotional song of the entire night is going to be the opener. Think about the tension that’s gonna build up beforehand, then coming out on stage and looking into the crowd for maybe a minute or two to soak it all in before hitting a note, how will we not all explode during that? In reality here, it can only be one of two songs. I usually defer to history – Long Road is the song they play when they’ve endured the most struggle, yet Release is the one to kick off next to every notable show in the catalog. By the skin of it’s teeth, Release has to be the choice here. That emotion is going to be unmatched and you have a better opportunity to hear the rise of the crowd. John and I agree here on the next two songs, Elderly Woman for the “my god it’s been too long” and Corduroy because it’s fucking Corduroy.

At this moment I wouldn’t get into the new ones just yet, I think you need to spoon feed them some of the classics – Why Go followed by Given To Fly gives this a special start without overpowering anything. I think the band will also need a minute, maybe more, to sniff the roses which is why GTF is a good stopping point to say hello and introduce three of the songs from the new record – Superblood Wolfmoon, Dance Of The Clairvoyants and Quick Escape.

This entire show is going to be packed with emotional moments, tributes and dedications. While John doesn’t foresee anything off Binaural getting played, I can see this being the perfect spot for Light Years, giving the crowd a nugget from a more obscure era that’s always used when they are thinking about someone who’s no longer with us. Even Flow will clock in at it’s normal spot midway through, and then inspired by being right on the water, they’ll go back-to-back from Ten with Oceans. John and I have essentially the same idea here just in reverse, but I think unofficial quarantine anthem In Hiding will get the call and transition nicely into Daughter with an extremely powerful It’s OK tag. We’ll get another Gigaton debut in this spot seeing Retrograde as the one that the band will select that will lead into a late-era anthem and perfect nighttime song Unthought Known. Let’s pull out the hits to end the main set all warm and fuzzy – Better Man into Do The Evolution with Porch to finish off.

With probably a limited amount of time left, we’re only getting one encore out of this night. As John chose for his opener, I am also selecting the pump organ based River Cross to debut the song exactly how it was always meant to be played. But John has this next song a little later in the encore, I want to rip the band-aid right off and get right into Present Tense to follow that up. And why stop with the No Code songs? This is a Danny Clinch curated show, which means he has to show up with his harmonica at some point. That’s why Smile will show up here.

I think another hit is needed as ultimately Ten songs will end up eclipsing No Code in this encore, Jeremy will go here. With Patti Smith on board to perform earlier in the night, I can’t see a world where she doesn’t do some sort of collaboration with the band. And because there’s a lot of fucked up things happening in Texas right now, without a question it needs to be People Have The Power. Three more songs to close it out – Black, Alive and Rockin’ In The Free World. John didn’t add it to his set, but it’s not 2000 anymore, Alive has such a different meaning now than it did back then and in my eyes it absolutely needs to have a spot in this set. The choice of no Yellow Ledbetter is more due to the amount of time they’ll have than anything else.

Predicted Main Set

Release, Small Town, Corduroy, Why Go, Given To Fly, Superblood Wolfmoon, Dance Of The Clairvoyants, Quick Escape, Light Years, Even Flow, Oceans, In Hiding, Daughter/It’s OK, Retrograde, Unthought Known, Better Man, Do The Evolution, Porch

Predicted Encore

River Cross, Present Tense, Smile, Jeremy, People Have The Power, Black, Alive, Rockin’ In The Free World

Last 5 cut

Yellow Ledbetter, Come Back, Nothingman, Rearviewmirror, Go

Randy Sobel's Pearl Jam Sea Hear Now Setlist Prediction

There you have it. Comment below to let us know which set you’d like to see the most or feel free to tell us what we missed!

*Editor’s note: Notice how there wasn’t any mention of a Bruce Springsteen appearance in this setlist. Any “rumors” that have been speculated are merely nothing more than gossip.*

Randy Sobel

Concertpedia Managing Editor & LO4L Host

The first time I heard Yield, I didn’t know it at the time but it changed my life. 10 years later, I saw Pearl Jam for the first time at Madison Square Garden and haven’t looked back. I’m still holding out hope that W.M.A. will one day be played as a full song more consistently in setlists rather than just as a tag off of Daughter, and you won’t ever find a bigger homer for the band’s Hartford shows than me. Top 10 Pearl Jam crowd, fight me on it!

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  1. Hey you guysssss! Love the passion as always. So you waited all the way until the end in the editor’s note, but I give it at least a 80% chance Bruce shows up and they do “Growin’ Up”. With or without Bruce, I say 90 %! The evidence is glaring: The Clinch Connection, a Stone Pony’s throw from the Stone Pony (Dad joke layup right there), they played growin up at a PNC Arts Center Show which is the closest venue to this one, and we have had more than 1 Bruce-Ed encounter on stage in recent memory both E Street Band Shows at Wrigley and Key Arena. As a Godfather of the live stage, Bruce is itching and will return the favor.

  2. Incredible post and gave me goosebumps standing outside in the 108 degree Arizona heat reading this article. Great way to build excitement for the show and love the thoughts you’ve shared! Incredibly well written. Can’t wait for the event!

  1. Incredible post and gave me goosebumps standing outside in the 108 degree Arizona heat reading this article. Great way to build excitement for the show and love the thoughts you’ve shared! Incredibly well written. Can’t wait for the event!

  2. Hey you guysssss! Love the passion as always. So you waited all the way until the end in the editor’s note, but I give it at least a 80% chance Bruce shows up and they do “Growin’ Up”. With or without Bruce, I say 90 %! The evidence is glaring: The Clinch Connection, a Stone Pony’s throw from the Stone Pony (Dad joke layup right there), they played growin up at a PNC Arts Center Show which is the closest venue to this one, and we have had more than 1 Bruce-Ed encounter on stage in recent memory both E Street Band Shows at Wrigley and Key Arena. As a Godfather of the live stage, Bruce is itching and will return the favor.

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