Randy Sobel’s 2022 Apollo Theater Pearl Jam Fan Report

By: Randy Sobel | November 10, 2022

A Once In A Lifetime Show, A Once In A Lifetime Chance

Coming off all of the excitement from the Toronto show, I was itching to see what was ahead with the next five shows I would attend…or maybe it would be six? The highly anticipated Apollo Theater show was next and I had lost out on any small opportunity that I would’ve had to get in the building. I did, however, have an ace up my sleeve. In retrospect, this ace had about a 2% chance of working, but I wasn’t going to allow this opportunity to check out the scene at one of the most legendary music venues in New York pass me by.

The next portion of my journey began at pretty much the same time the last one ended. When I got back into town, my first stop was at Staples to pick up the supplies for a massive project I had created to support the history of the band. My goal was to recreate the Breath campaign that had been originally arranged back in 1998 on the same date, partially to inject a little nostalgia into the old school fans but also to teach a little of the band’s history to some of the newer fans who weren’t around during that time period.

When I got to Staples, I had no idea what I was truly in for. This was a project that was 100% financially supported by the people of this community, and we were able to raise over $1,000! Which meant we could purchase 2,500 sheets of 8×11 paper with the song name and info on it. Since I had them print two per sheet, it came out to 5,000(!) signs in total. I called Staples ahead of time to ask if they could bring the box out to my car for me so I wouldn’t have to leave my dog in there by himself. Little did I know that someone would be coming by rolling a hand truck with two boxes that weighed around 40lbs and 10lbs respectively.

There was a wee bit of a dilemma here. My plan was to take the train into the city, drop stuff off at my hotel and then head over to the Apollo in case there was merch or opportunities to collect an extra ticket perhaps. My dilemma was that there was going to be absolutely no way that I could drag two massive and heavy boxes, plus a backpack and overnight bag, onto a train and then carry it through Grand Central Terminal before potentially finding a cab. I was trying to figure out every which way to make this happen without it being a complete disaster.

I got home and kept blanking on ideas. I FaceTimed with my wife to open some birthday presents and I remember telling her how impossible it was gonna be. She suggested finding a suitcase to put all of them in, which probably would’ve worked, but I suppose fate had an easier way of taking care of this.

A few months before, my friend, Greg Schwab, reached out to me to see if I had any leads for an MSG ticket. At the time I didn’t, but he was adamant on being there, so he bought a ticket for a price that all I knew was well over face value. So his plan was to fly out from Illinois and get in a little early to visit one of the most well known breweries in New England, Tree House. After picking up an entire suitcase full of beer in Massachusetts, he rented a car and crashed for the night in between there and New York City.

I received a text from Greg shortly after I got off FaceTime with my wife saying that he was staying in Connecticut and had to drive in early the next morning to drop off his rental. The place in Connecticut that he was staying? Orange, barely a twenty minute drive from where I live in Stratford. The Pearl Jam gods were throwing me a life preserver! I asked if I could hop along on the ride and he was happy to have the company. So the next morning, I dropped my dog off at the sitter, hopped in the car with Greg and we grabbed breakfast at Connecticut’s beloved early morning fast food joint, Duchess. And that’s where the weekend began.

We got into the city at around 11 am. Greg was gonna drop off his rental car and let me off at the hotel I was staying in. He had never been to the city prior to this. I was staying with my friend Mike and his friend Brian who weren’t getting in until later in the day, so I went in to drop off the boxes and bags (hey-ey-ey-ey-eyyyy!!!) and took some time to walk around the area. Mike had told me he looked it up and saw that we were a 20-minute walk from the Garden, which didn’t sound all that bad, however he was way off the mark. When I walked out the door onto the sidewalk, the world’s most famous arena was literally so close that if I wanted to spit on it, I probably would’ve made it a quarter of the way. 

In all of my time traveling to shows, I had never stayed this close to the arena/ballpark that they were playing in. I usually tried to take the cheapest route possible by staying in an airport hotel or something completely on the outskirts of town. The closest I probably came was the Hartford shows where I lived about 15 minutes away from the XL Center. With not having to take a train in and being in such a close proximity, everything felt at ease. Not only that, but I was in the city that essentially raised me, entertained me countless times and made me who I am today. To borrow a lyric from the Bouncing Souls song “Sound Of The City,” “this is the city that is my home.”

So, to kill some time, since I was so close I decided to go check out the area and get a sense of where GA and merch was going to be. On a weekend where I was excited to be around nothing but Pearl Jam fans, I found myself smack dab in the middle of what you could say is this generation’s teenage wasteland, perhaps – a crowd full of Harry Styles fans. Harry was playing the twelfth of fifteen straight shows at the Garden (some may have been canceled shortly after that day) so all around the area you saw nothing but young girls in feather boas and fishnet stockings. I have to give them a ton of credit, they are committed to their guy. It’s nothing like our fandom at all, we’re different age groups, fans of different genres, but the one thing that I’ll say is that just like us, they will wait on those merch lines, sit through those GA lines and do whatever it takes to get the best concert experience. I can’t hate on that at all.

So I did a livestream to our Facebook group just to bullshit and walk everyone through all of the brutal construction happening on the 7th Avenue entrance. It was kind of sad. The place didn’t look anything like what I had been attending for years and years on end. It was something I noticed when I saw Rage Against The Machine a month prior, and it just takes a little bit of the life out of the place not to see the big marquee out in front. I did happen to bump into a security guard along the way who told me he was excited to see Pearl Jam. I mentioned the Do The Evolution moment from 2003 where the crowd made the stage bounce. He was legitimately fired up, and I hope he had a great time.

Shortly after, I connected back with Greg to come up with a game plan of what to do to kill some time during the day. There was no merch being sold at the Apollo, so the idea of heading to Harlem early wasn’t as enticing anymore. The one thing that Greg wanted to do for his first time visiting NYC was go see a Yankee game. As a die hard Mets fan, this pretty much made me want to vomit on the spot. But what the hell else was there to do? It was too hot to continue walking around and I didn’t really feel like sitting around day drinking. So off to the Bronx we went.

I kind of had to be the travel liaison in a way since I had been to the city over 1,000 times and Greg had only been there for an hour. In my defense, it had been a few years since I had taken a subway and traveled around the city, so my memory of what train to take to the Bronx had completely disappeared. We were in Penn Station and I thought I had all the answers, but it turned out every answer I had was wrong. From finding the right line to remembering what side was uptown or downtown, I was completely lost in this city that I once apparently called home. I didn’t feel too bad though, we saw people wearing Yankee jerseys on the other side of the track, so at least we got on the right train. The right stop? That’s an entirely different situation.

I guess I had figured that there was a stop on 125th, so when we ended up on 128th, my first thought was to get off. Turns out that we were about a half hour walk from the stadium. So we called an Uber. Distance wise we probably should’ve got there in 5 minutes, but due to traffic and whatnot we ended up getting there in 20 minutes anyway. I was surprised to see so many fans getting in there late like us (we arrived somewhere in between the 3rd and the 4th) but it seemed like traffic had something to do with it. Of course we ran into yet another issue where StubHub never sent out tickets, so we had to fix that in the box office. All this for a Yankee game, and it wasn’t even Ten Club day!

The game was basically a blowout by the time we got there. I had only been to the new rendition of Yankee Stadium once back in 2010 and I remembered not enjoying it. After 12 years, it still felt the same. It’s not because it’s the home of the Yankees, it’s because it doesn’t feel like a real ballpark inside the concourse. It has always reminded me of walking through an airport. A lot of members-only clubs and private corporate suites. All ballparks have that, but it feels like the stadium kind of makes it a point to shove it in your face a bit. It didn’t matter, we were there for no more than 5 innings, and I headed back to the subway during the 8th. 

The whole time we were there, we were looking for other people wearing PJ shirts to see if we could find some friends. I was wearing my Pearl Jam Scotland unicorn shirt, even though it’s not actual band merch, hoping that at least someone would spot me. It wasn’t until I was walking out that I saw someone wearing a shirt of Ed’s Telecaster with The Who mod graphic in the middle. I sped up to catch him so I could compliment his shirt, and then like most Pearl Jam friends you meet randomly, you find yourself having a conversation as if you guys had been friends for years. His name was Dave, from Chicago, and he was here by himself to see the MSG show. We were headed the same direction on the subway so we both walked over.

When we got to the track, we ran into two more fans who were at the game who came in from Canada. One of my absolute favorite things about being in a city for a show weekend is that it’s filled with people like us that just want to find and hang out with other Pearl Jam fans. In the past, I had a bad habit of meeting people at shows and never following up with them again. But I also remember a situation where in Memphis after the show, I started to have a conversation with this couple for no more than 3 minutes and then went and got a bite to eat with them. It’s just the magic of being around the atmosphere and the knowledge that you can make an instant connection with anybody just from having a favorite band in common. I always say it, you go to the shows for the music, but you go back again and again because of the people you meet.

After talking to our new Canadian friends, mostly about the tour and Toronto trip, Dave and I transferred and then got off at Penn Station. We spent a lot of time sharing war stories and all that, as new friends in this community do. Before we parted, he told me that he had an extra ticket for Sunday’s show and asked if I knew anyone who was looking. It’s the Garden, everyone is always looking. If I didn’t know someone off the top of my head, but I knew I was gonna find someone. And it just so happened that later that night I would.

I went back to the hotel, and right there waiting in the lobby was my friend Mike and his friend Brian, who I can call my friend now too. I met Mike back at the Fenway shows in 2018, he was running around town with his skateboard holding onto a copy of Ten on vinyl with the hopes that he’d find Mike McCready and have him autograph it. We bumped into each other about 3 times in a 10-minute span and then became fast friends. I had learned my lesson by that point and made sure that this wasn’t going to be just a show day friendship. We kept in touch for four years and that weekend would be the first time we saw each other since that day in Boston.

We went up to the room, put our feet up for a second and figured out what our plans were gonna be for the night. Of course my goal was to head to the Apollo to see if I could witness history, but they had a friend who was throwing a rooftop party with an open bar, so like sane people they decided to do that. Not me though, I was crazy enough to believe that I had a 2% chance of getting in those doors so I was ready to take that chance. If I failed, then at least I would be able to meet a bunch of good friends whom I hadn’t met before in person. So I packed my backpack with my GoPro and the Breath signs and made my way out.

So like everybody else, I made every attempt I could to get into the building prior to that day, but perhaps I took it a step further. I was able to acquire the contact information for the SiriusXM PR person about a month before the show. I emailed her on two separate occasions explaining who I was and the media outlets I was in charge of. I never heard back from them. My only hope was that they just forgot to email me back and put my name on the list anyway. I gave it a generous 2% chance of succeeding when in reality it was more like 0.00001%. But taking a page from Lloyd Christmas’s thoughts about chances, I was gonna go for it. I was saying there’s a chance.

I hopped in a taxi and headed over to the legendary venue. My driver turned the wrong way onto the road the theater was on, so I got out and walked the 10 minutes in order to stop the meter from running. That imbecile was driving without Google maps on! I walked up to the front of the theater with the intention of finding a PR person to inquire about the situation. I found a security guy, here’s kind of how that conversation went…

Me: Hey I was wondering if you know where I could find somebody who works PR for SiriusXM?

Security: Do you mean the box office?

Me: Are they in the box office?

Security: What are you looking for? Are you buying tickets?

Me: Actually, I’d love to if they are available.

Security: They’re not. No tickets available for sale tonight.

Me: …Yeah, I know that. I’m just trying to find somebody who can lead me to a person who’s in charge of the event.

Security: I don’t know who’s in charge. I know there are people in the back, you can give it a try and talk to them.

So that was barely helpful. The lines to get in were just starting to formulate, so I walked down so see if I recognized anybody. There were tons of people walking around asking people for tickets. Some of them had signs, one of them read ‘Lukin for an extra,’ which was pretty clever. Lo and behold, there was Brian Horwitz standing right there. I hadn’t met Brian previously, but we’ve been friends for a couple of years. He is one of the most well-versed people I know when it comes to his knowledge of their entire bootleg catalog, and the Hallucinogenic Recipe podcast that he and Patrick Boegel do that we’ve hosted episodes for has been a terrific insight into the early days of collecting. They just need to do another episode soon! I told Brian about my plan and how I was gonna approach it. Heading to the back meant I was essentially heading backstage, which was a wee bit nerve wracking. But just like when a rookie scores a touchdown, I had to act like I’d been there before.

I left my stuff with Brian and then ventured back into a place where I knew I didn’t belong. I walked toward the area, it was all guarded in a way that made it pretty impossible to walk in. I looked around back there and saw a slim guy with glasses. My instant reaction without thinking about it was that I thought that was Stone. I came to my senses when I realized that this guy was considerably younger and didn’t have any gray hair. If this were ten years ago I think maybe I would’ve been on to something, but it was a big nothing burger. I took a photo of him anyway to prank people.

There was a trailer over there and all of the band’s 18-wheeler trucks blocking you from getting in. There were two other guys walking around, I have no idea for what purpose. I can only imagine that it was to hunt for band members which I didn’t really want to be associated with. They kind of hovered around me because I suppose I made it seem like I had a purpose to be there. I approached another security guard and asked him all the same things I asked the other guy. I swear that this is a game to them. He told me that I wanted to be up in the front of the building to find someone to talk to. This guy seemed like he knew a little bit more details than the other, saying that I’d need to wait for people to show up to the VIP table in order to find what I’m looking for. That felt like more of a definitive answer and I know I saw that set up as I walked over. I headed back to where the line was and decided to take a break from this impossible task.

I went back to the line and found Pearl Jam Scotland’s own Marty Higgins and Stephen Duggan dressed in their signature kilts. I had first contacted Marty about three years ago after I found out about what he and Colin Rodger were doing for Diabetes UK, raising money by selling these awesome unicorn shirts that are massively popular, as well as holding annual charity events in Scotland called Grungefest. Marty is a one-of-a-kind human being and one of the best people you can find in this community. 

From then on we had a little bit of a mission – let’s get these Breath signs handed out! So Marty, ever the people pleaser, went around to find people who were going to the Garden show to give them signs while I filmed everything. Hopefully that footage, as well as all the footage I took from this leg along with Sacramento and Vegas, will come out and be put in to edit at some point next year. The scene around the theater was a joyful one. So many people were excited to be there hoping to witness something extraordinary. I bumped into lots of friends as well: Heide Marx, who has been a tremendous contributor to this website and a great friend, Jed Garfunkel who has been a friend of the podcast for a long time now, and Jimmy Bendix who was in the original Pearl Jam fantasy league that I put together that ultimately ended up spawning the idea for the podcast. These gatherings are almost like a family reunion in a way.

After we finished up, somebody directed us across the street where there was a line of people who were waiting to see if they could get in the theater by filling the remaining empty seats. I ventured over with the Scots and assessed the situation. There had been people waiting there since Thursday with the hopes of getting in. I talked to a woman named Dawn, who was a friend of a friend of mine, and she was handling a list of people in order of when they got on line so the staff knew who to take. Dawn was waiting for a ticket herself. Even though we had absolutely no chance in hell of making it in with this line fully established, I figured that I’d take a number anyway. It was 136. If 136 seats were empty, I would be lucky enough to get in. Spoiler alert: I wasn’t lucky enough.

However, I was lucky enough to speak to people in line and hand out some more stickers and signs. The vibe was not very optimistic, people were getting a little restless as we were approaching show time. I went through the entire line and must’ve spoken to every single person, all hopeful but none confident about their chances. One guy I bumped into actually said he knew who I was and had passed along the idea of the campaign to someone he knew with the band. He claimed that the band knew and thought it was really cool that it started up again. This got me really excited, and my goal was to make sure everyone that was gonna be in that building had a sign. This needed to happen.

As the sun went down, more and more people started to show up to wait in the real line. I also saw more people working the VIP section so I figured it was as good a time as any to make my last ditch effort to get in. As I walked over, I spoke with someone asking to find who’s in charge. She said not me, it’s this person. The next person, same thing, it’s not me it’s this person. It happened about four times before I finally found the right person to talk to. I told her my situation, told her who I emailed and gave her my name. Immediately she said she had no recollection of my name being on there. She glanced over a list quick to double check, but the result remained the same. She explained to me that media passes were only handed out to people who intended to write about the event for a newspaper or website. That nearly broke me. I wasn’t trying to get in as a fan, I was trying to get in so I could write about the event from a fans perspective for a fan-made publication. It was just their way of telling me that I wasn’t important enough.

My head was hanging a little bit low at this point. I did all I could, but it was the sense of not belonging which bothered me. Granted, I don’t write for Spin or Rolling Stone, hell not even the trash rag Alternative Nation for that matter, but I’ve felt like what we’ve done here is build up our presence around the community as a go to for Pearl Jam content. Those people being let in for other publications may not have known anything past the first three records. It was frustrating, but I guess it was a sign saying that there is much more we have to achieve here.

I think by this point Marty and Stephen had bailed out, so I went back to the line to find more people to give Breath signs to. The line had grown tremendously. I turned corners so many times and walked up multiple streets that I have no idea how long it actually lasted. I did bump into some people I knew, my friend Damien who I had met at Sea.Hear.Now. We had a mutual friend named Frank pass away from pancreatic cancer last year and that’s what has bonded us. I spoke to him, along with multiples of other people who were aware of the podcast and the campaign. The reaction was mostly positive, people were excited to see the signs come back, but then I got a lot of people exclaiming that we did this before, can we do something else now? Hard to please everyone. 

As I kept walking down the line, I noticed that when I’m asking people if they were going to the Garden, some looked at me like I had five heads. The amount of people wearing Pearl Jam shirts started to dwindle, and now it was mostly people wearing polos and khakis. I was starting to question how many of these people were actually here for the band. These types of shows can tend to bring out a crowd that might’ve been offered tickets through their workplace or just people that know the right people to help them get in. It’s less about the band and more about being there because it’s a Saturday night event. This whole idea would escalate later in the night.

After going as far down the line as I could go, it was time to check back in with the people who weren’t as lucky as this group was. A guy handed me a Modelo for my troubles before I went over. A generous group we all are. As I was on my way back, I came across the guy with the ‘Lukin for an Extra’ sign and started to chat with him. His name is Ray, and he was disappointed that his efforts had failed. He seemed bummed that he wasn’t gonna have the opportunity to see them at all during this tour. The only ticket he had was for Baltimore, and we all know what happened there. I felt bad for him, but I had an idea that could potentially turn his weekend around. I gave him Dave’s number and told him that he had an extra for the Garden. Ray was ecstatic. Thankfully we all got connected and the two of them had planned to meet at the party I was throwing on Sunday.

It was about half an hour away from the projected start time, so now things across the street were starting to get stressful. Apparently while I was gone, some people with SiriusXM walked over and asked ‘who are the biggest Pearl Jam fans here?’ They proceeded to pick out two beautiful brunettes and brought them over. They were about 40th or 50th in line. Shortly after that, the person that told me about the band knowing about the Breath campaign was brought over too. They were a little deeper in the line.

I decided to do a Facebook livestream at this point to give people at home a sense of the scene. I talked to a bunch of people, including the couple who were first in line and waiting since Thursday. They didn’t live too far away and didn’t spend 24 hours a day there, the staff were nice enough to let them come and go as they pleased prior to Saturday. But they certainly deserved to be rewarded for their efforts. For the life of me, I can’t remember their names at all, maybe somebody could help me find them. The third person however was somebody I knew, his name was Jeremy and I initially met him in the merch line at SHN, and then again in Sacramento after the cancellation announcement. 

It was getting real close to show time. Everyone had their phones out with the SiriusXM app up listening to the pre-show. Somebody even said to me ‘how come you’re not doing stuff like this?’ Beats me, dude. Didn’t really help the situation I was currently in. As the band took the stage, the numbers were counted up. It was finally time to find out how many empty seats there were. A guy came over, went to check the numbers written on people’s hands and we saw the couple who were first in line plus Jeremy get escorted across the street. That’s it. Three. In total it was seven. I overheard someone talking about how whenever they do these kinds of events, there are usually way more seats available to fill. But they had never seen anything like this before.

So there wasn’t much to do at this point aside from listen to the show. People stuck around just in case someone came back over to grab more people, but it never happened. I walked down the line just to see if anyone didn’t have the app so I could offer them to listen with me, but everyone had it up. As Footsteps played, it kind of felt like a moment that maybe a parent would relay to you about their days growing up. I had heard about the days where in the 50’s and 60’s you’d go to the beach and everyone had a radio with them tuned to the same station. So if you walked down the beach you’d be able to listen the whole way through. I thought that was kind of unique, and if there were any situation that would resemble that now, this would be it. You heard it blaring from every phone with everyone humming to themselves. Kind of depressing that it had to be Footsteps during this, it unintentionally captured the situation appropriately. But at least we had the music.

As the set went on, people started to disperse. Some of them went across the street to hang out in front of the theater, others bailed on the scene entirely until all that was left of the seat filler line was the sidewalk. I stuck around and headed back to the front because I was waiting for the end of the show to record an instant reaction episode with Brian. Mike and Brian (not Horwitz) swung by to say hello and check things out. Apparently the rooftop party was a blast and everyone got super stoned. They didn’t stay for long. We snapped a picture in front of the marquee and then they ventured back. Without any dinner in my system, Mike promised that there would be pizza in the room. That was the best news I had heard all day.

Very few people actually stuck around for the duration of this show. It was myself, a long-time show veteran named Renee who has well surpassed 100 at this point, and a young woman named Melanie who made her way down from Canada. Every song just felt like another massive blow. Sleight Of Hand?! Parachutes?! Good lord, Hard To Imagine?!?!? Hard To Imagine was easily in my top 3 of songs I wanted to hear during this run, and this moment didn’t give me much hope that I would get it. Every song felt like we were missing something incredible.

After Hard To Imagine came the reboot. We had no idea what was going on. Rob Bleetstein started talking again and things seemed to be taking a while to go back to normal. It sounded like the crowd was having a blast though. Well, those in the crowd who stuck around at least…

In the middle of the reboot, we started to see a few people walking outside. We thought they were all taking a smoke break, but turns out there was no re-entry. This was a little confusing, why would people voluntarily walk out of this? This all kind of boiled over from confusion to anger, and I was ready to be unleashed. I saw a couple walk out and head to the curb to wait for an Uber. The woman was wearing a red dress and stilettos, clearly perfect attire for a PJ show. Something was up, and I wanted to get the gritty details as to why. Here is a bit of how that conversation went:

Me: Hey did you know there’s no re-entry? You guys are gonna miss the rest of the show.

Her: Nothing was happening. And it was way too hot to stay.

Me: Really? They are about to go back on any minute now. Do you realize what you are doing?

Her: It was too hot! I simply couldn’t breathe in there (She was smoking a cigarette at that moment).

Me: You know how many people were sitting there waiting for hours just to have a chance? They would’ve stayed through the heat. Somebody is missing an opportunity because of you and now they aren’t gonna fill your seat.

Her: I was given these tickets by somebody very very important. It’s not my fault you can’t get in. I have terrible allergies and there was no way that I could stay.

Me: How does smoking cigarettes help with your allergies?

After that she kind of stormed off with her date and they were gone five minutes later. More and more people started to walk out. I heard more complaints about how hot it was in there, which became a major talking point afterwards. Brian pointed out that it might’ve started during the reboot somehow. At this point, there were probably close to enough empty seats that could’ve brought at least half of the line in. Also walking out during this point was supermodel Heidi Klum, stunning as ever. When I texted my wife that I saw her, for some reason Klum autocorrected to Klinghoffer. If you thought her marriage to Seal was strange, imagine her hanging out with Josh listening to him record PluralOne material!

We saw two women walk out of the theater, I was just asking people questions, trying to piece together the stories. They had left because of the heat too, but they were actual fans and not invitees. One of the ladies handed me her ticket and said go ahead and take my spot. Unfortunately there was no way they were gonna allow me to re-enter with that ticket. She told me to keep the ticket and gave me her lanyard pass as well. The people in this community are so incredibly generous and we should never take that for granted.

I stuck around for the duration of the show with Renee and Melanie. Listening to it didn’t make me jealous that I missed the set, but I definitely had a little FOMO from not witnessing it in person. At the end, people came rushing out from their 2-hour sauna, and it was kind of funny since the radio was on delay, we were still hearing Baba. I noticed Theo Epstein walk by, someone else said that they saw former Live On 4 Legs guest Kenny Mayne around. I found a friend of mine named Ken Lesnik, who shared his story of attending MTV Unplugged a few months back on the podcast and spoke to him for a bit. The general feel was that it was an amazing experience to see a band like Pearl Jam in that kind of building, but it was just way too fucking hot.

Brian and I recorded the reaction episode and shortly after he left, the place was nearly empty for the first time in probably 24 hours. I waited for my cab ride back to the hotel where I was going to have some midnight pizza and finally get off my feet. I got back to the room with Old School blasting on the TV, Brian was completely passed out as Mike had the pizza waiting for me. We ran down the night’s events and then had a deep conversation about studio recording production which I think we were both half asleep for. This came about while listening to his band, Suspect Down, where I was really impressed by the production. It was produced by longtime Fugazi producer Don Zientara down in his home studio in Arlington, VA, so he got one of the best. I liken it to punk rock and what perhaps modern-day rockabilly would sound like. I mention this because I feel like a bad friend. I promised to share his band on our social media platforms and never got the chance to, so I’m gonna leave the link here, please follow their ig page as well: @suspectdownband


It was time to rest up. A big day was mere hours away at the World’s Most Famous Arena.

Coming up next: It’s Garden night! We’ll obsess over Mets-colored hats that say Pearl Jam on them, and the things I would do to acquire one, seeing friends and meeting new ones, a lot of wasted paper, throwing a massively successful party, and a scream, but no Breath.

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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