Forever Faithfull: Memories From The Road featuring Jason Weiss
Jason Weiss Retraces Pearl Jam Memories From The Road
Forever Faithfull is a series derived from daily Facebook posts on the Pearl Jam Podcast Community group. These tour stories were shared by Jason Weiss, and he tells the story of where his Pearl Jam journey began and picked up, including a few moments from 2022.
10/24/2000 – Not For You – Los Angeles, CA
I shouldn’t have been at this show. It fell on my 2nd wedding anniversary to my now ex-wife. One year before this, I couldn’t pull the trick off of going to see Springsteen on 10/23/99 because it fell on the weekend of my 1st anniversary. That show ended up being a legendary show and I STILL haven’t gotten over missing it. Now a year later, Pearl Jam was playing Los Angeles ON my actual anniversary. In spite of being a huge fan from the very beginning, I still hadn’t seen them live yet. Now I was going to potentially miss the one LA show. My ex also loved the band so I was able to sell the idea of going to the show on our anniversary. Not For You was my favorite song and definitely one I was dying to hear them play. I was thrilled when they played it and it was a very intense version with the band locked in and very much in sync with each other. This version from the Greek Theatre is the same one selected for the Touring Band 2000 DVD.
10/1/2009 – Alive – Universal City, CA
The first time in 9 years that I was seeing the band (I know, trust me I know) and sadly I was only able to go to 1 of the 4 shows at Universal when the band came to town. Though I had a great time at my first show in 2000, what I experienced on this night was a much greater sense of the connectivity between the band and the crowd. I definitely tend to chase the deeper cuts, so Alive is somewhat atypical for me to select here. I didn’t get to see them play it at my first show in 2000 since they were no longer playing it post-Roskilde and this was my first time experiencing the power of it live.
Throughout the night it was clear there was a symbiotic relationship between the band and a shockingly high energy LA crowd, which is such a key ingredient of the best of the live Pearl Jam experiences. This remains an underrated show that is understandably overshadowed by the last 2 nights of the stand. Alive was the culmination of all of it and the place was absolutely on fire. Ed was running all over the stage and feeling the energy of the crowd and Mike’s solo was smoking. Once had preceded Alive and I would later learn that Footsteps was on the setlist but scratched for what would’ve been a Reverse Mamasan, but it sadly didn’t materialize.
5/3/2022 – Footsteps – San Diego, CA
The theme of my next 2 picks will be redemption. Redemption for rare moments I narrowly missed. Missed connections so to speak. Redemption for being such a big fan of the band, yet not being able to see them live nearly enough. After having a 9 year gap between my first two shows, which I vowed not to have happen again, the unthinkable happened – it was even longer this time. The Los Angeles stop on the 2013 tour happened right around Thanksgiving and I was out of town for the shows. Little did I know that the band would not return to LA again until 2022!!! With Covid pushing the tour back 2 years, it resulted in an unfathomable 13 year gap. Yes, I should’ve done more travel to destination shows in 2016 and 2018, but life definitely got in the way during the heart of this stretch.
The 2022 version of me called bullshit on any excuses. My mission in 2022 was to make up for lost time and hit as many shows as possible. I ultimately did 6 and it would’ve been 7 had Vegas not been cancelled. At my last show (see my previous selection), I just missed getting the Reverse Mamasan when Footsteps was scratched from the setlist. The thought never occurred to me that I could possibly get it on my NEXT show on opening night in SD of the Gigaton tour. An already fun night that was like a friends and family party in San Diego went next level with the first notes of Footsteps and I was ecstatic. It was a great version, but then when he somewhat inaudibly references the other of the 3 songs without finishing the thought (this video cut this off, but it is the superior view), I was stunned and needed immediate confirmation that I was understanding correctly what I think I just heard. When the band then launched into Once, I went apeshit knowing we were getting the Reverse Mamasan!!! Footsteps was a great version and the cherry on top of a great night, but that it led to the highly elusive trilogy (on opening night no less), played for the first time since 2011, was a stunning and special moment.
9/11/2022 – Chole Dancer/Crown Of Thorns – Madison Square Garden
Part two of my redemption moments brought me back home to New York City. As I planned out maximizing the amount of shows I’d be hitting on the 2022 tour, one thing was certain to me – there was no fucking way I was missing the band playing in my favorite arena on September 11th! This was clearly earmarked as a special show, and in spite of being transplanted New Yorker, I have never seen a show on the east coast. The 2 songs I was dying to hear the most on this tour were Crown of Thorns and Breath. I knew that there were 2 cities that were the likeliest to yield both – Vegas for Crown of Thorns and MSG for Breath. Then Vegas was cancelled. Between that and missing the first Crown of Thorns played at 10/22/00, the show before my first show in Los Angeles, it just seemed like it was not in the cards for me to see them play it.
MSG was going to be amazing, but this was going to be the night I got Breath, which I was thrilled about as well. This being the anniversary of THE Breath show made this a no brainer, but then add in the campaign by Randy Sobel to recreate that moment and of course they were going to play it! The opening of the show came out of the gate hot and the crowd was incredible all night. The middle of the main set got more conventional in song selection, but it didn’t matter because even the more mainstream songs sounded fresh because of the insanity of the crowd. Still, we reached a point in the set where I wondered when we were going to get Breath or a similar type of rare gem. Two shows prior in Toronto, Ed sang a tease of Tiny Dancer (if memory serves, there may have been a sign that had Tiny Dancer instead of Chloe Dancer). Ed does it again, but now I know that this means we are getting Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns and I went apeshit. Before it even started, I yelled out “HOLY SHIT!!!!” The guy next to me definitely looked at me funny and he probably thought I was excited that we were getting a cover of an Elton John song. This was one of my white whales and it may have been the only song I wanted more than Breath. It was incredible and the electricity of the Garden was incredible.
9/14/2022 – Breath – Camden, NJ
At first I really only looked at the previous two picks as adhering to the theme of redemption given there were long standing near misses that were corrected. But I guess technically this one can qualify for the same, though the length of time from the near miss was only 3 days, and it isn’t like Breath was scratched off the setlist at MSG…but it absolutely should’ve been played given the history! I was told (by myself) there would be Breath! Camden was an add on to my Pearl Jam itinerary once I got into MSG. I mean, how could I not do Camden now that I was on the east coast for MSG! These were the only 2 east coast shows. I was still riding the high from the MSG show and there was a small side of me that wondered if this could possibly come close to MSG. However, though I’ve never been to a show in Camden, I have been to several Springsteen shows in Philly and they are always so much fun because the crowds are insane. I know the history of the band in Philly, so I was thrilled to finally be able to see the band there.
With this being my last show of the tour, I was already grateful for how many great moments I had seen in 2022 and how many songs I crossed off my list. Camden kept that going right out of the gate. I was absolutely convinced we were getting Wash as the opener and was thrilled we did because I was dying to hear it, but I definitely didn’t expect Hard To Imagine. After getting two Lost Dogs songs in the seated portion of the show, Camden immediately established a decidedly different feel to it. The song selection at every turn was on point. Everything seemed to break the right way and there were no missteps. Though the energy of MSG couldn’t be matched, the song selection was better overall in Camden. Everything just seemed to break the right way every step of the way, there were no missteps. When the band went into State of Love and Trust, initially it seemed to eliminate the possibility of Breath, but then I thought maybe it actually could enhance it. Before the next song, Ed introduced it as the request of the winner of the ALLIN contest and he brought them onstage. At this point, I didn’t think it was going to be Breath, so when they went played the opening notes, that was definitely it for my voice because I went nuts. It was a great version and getting the rare pairing of the Singles songs was yet another special moment I got to witness. The MSG and Camden shows were perfect complements to each other. Though I nearly made it to Denver, I felt like the MSG and Camden shows were the perfect way to end my tour…well…that is until they played Sad in St. Louis…and Alone in Oklahoma City! Thanks to Randy and John for the platform to be able to share this with you all!