Forever Faithfull: Memories From The Road featuring Curtis Hames

By: Curtis Hames | February 22, 2023

Curtis Hames Retraces Pearl Jam Memories From The Road

This piece begins a brand new series derived from daily Facebook posts on the Pearl Jam Podcast Community group. Curtis kicks it off by sharing some of his favorite moments from touring around the mid-west and America’s heartland. 

6/13/2003 – Save You – Council Bluffs, IA

One of my favorite books, Dune starts with the sentence – ‘A beginning is a very delicate time’. I did get a very delicate beginning to my live Pearl Jam experience. My first show was in 2003, in Council Bluffs, IA. The first song at my first show as delicate as it gets – they opened with Arc. At the time, I did not fully comprehend how big of a deal that was. Unfortunately, there is no bootleg of that version of that song, and very few of the times it has been played.

Fortunately, we do have a document of the next song, with the band coming in to join Ed on stage. This is a very strong performance of Save You, and the high energy starts immediately with Ed saying ‘Here we go!’. Here we go, indeed. This song’s frantic tone made me realize that I was seeing something special, and that live Pearl Jam was giving me a high I could not find anywhere else. That ‘Here we go!’ still gives me chills when I listen to this boot, which is pretty frequently. If anyone ends up enjoying this version a tenth as much as I do, it’s absolutely worth your time.

5/16/2006 – Present Tense – Chicago, IL

Was absolutely blown away by this version live, as I’m sure anyone who saw any version in 2006 was. The song was reaching new levels, and that likely started on the Letterman Show where the crowd took over.

I was also glad to revisit it during the pandemic. The end of the Michael Jordan documentary, The Last Dance had me thinking about this song again a lot and how powerful it could be as a tool for looking inward. I really did a ton of that in the early stages of COVID.

The PJ site came up with this excellent video using Ed’s speech beforehand. I’d imagine most people have already seen this, but very much worth a re-watch.

9/3/2011 – Say Hello 2 Heaven – PJ20 – East Troy, WI

PJ20 was my ninth and tenth PJ shows. I’d joke after these two shows that I was retired from seeing them. I’d obviously not be able to top them, so why try? My eleventh show was Wrigley in 2013, so in a way it did get topped.

Of the dozens and dozens of valid choices for moments during that weekend, I went with Say Hello 2 Heaven. Powerful song, and has taken on additional meaning since Chris has passed. Cried when I saw this one live, and cried revisiting the show. A very cool moment, and never seeing Soundgarden is a huge regret for me.

10/17/2014 – Red Mosquito – Moline, IL

I live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa so PJ playing my town was never in the cards. Moline is the closest venue to my home that PJ has ever played, so this one was extra special to me. The fact that they announced this building instead of a Chicago show was surprising to me. On top of all this, No Code is my favorite record of mine by PJ. It felt like a dream – my favorite band playing my favorite record in my ‘home base’ for concerts. Probably been to 30-40 shows in this building in the last 25 years, and this was the best.

We’ve discussed to a great extent how cool it was when they played the entire No Code record. I think in the discussion of that, we don’t always touch on how great some of the performances are. So, even in this show that we have discussed so much, we kind of have an underrated element of the show. This Red Mosquito is excellent, particularly Mike.

9/18/2022 – Sad – St. Louis, MO

Does anyone write better rock lyrics about grief, loss and ‘what might have been’ better than EV? One of the best b-sides, and a powerful song in its own right. This was particularly emotional, with how long we had waited until we got to see these shows in fall of 2022. A powerful version of one of my favorites.

Curtis Hames

Concertpedia Writer & Horizon Leg Patron

Like millions of others, I was introduced to Pearl Jam via the Jeremy video. 12 year old me was hooked, and that feeling never really went away. PJ has been the soundtrack to my life ever since. After getting some of the 2000 tour boots from Best Buy, I learned how powerful they were every night as a live band. I learned again when I first saw them live in Council Bluffs in 2003. Catch me on tour all over the midwest!

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