Forever Faithfull: Memories From The Road featuring Dakota Duvall
Dakota Duvall 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 Dakota Duvall. Dakota talks about becoming a fan thanks to his dad, and how the songs have connected with him before and after he passed away.
9/11/2022 – Release – Madison Square Garden
Being born in 1996, I unfortunately didn’t get to live through the 90’s with this band but luckily I was born into a family with a father that absolutely loved Pearl Jam. Every car ride, every pool day, every night after dinner, whatever it was, would be filled with Pearl Jam.
There was one song I felt like I heard more than most. A song that you could just feel power, emotion, sadness, healing and so much more. A song I grew attached to from possibly the first time I heard it. “Release”. As years went by I found out that my dad and his dad did not have a good relationship. I have never met his dad, couldn’t tell you his name or anything. That’s when I understood the lyrics and why I think he listened to it so much.
Fast forward years later, I had only seen my dad cry three times in my life. When his step dad passed, when the Eagles won the Super Bowl (Go Birds), and seeing Release at Wrigley in 2016. So I really understood then how much it meant to him.
As the years go by after that, I’m at college and my parents and I grew apart. Leading to us deciding it was best to not speak during the early summer of 2019. As life kept going, my wife and I got married, bought our first house and had our daughter amongst more things, while not having spoken to my parents in years. The song spoke to me more and more as the time went on. All leading up to my dad suddenly passing from Covid in January of 2022. I couldn’t listen to the song for a few days after and skipped it each time it came on. The day of his funeral I had to pick it to be the last song played before he was buried. It was the first time I listened to it since and it tore me apart. In that moment I reflected on everything up until that point in my life and cried harder than I ever cried before.
Move ahead to September, my wife and I made the drive from central Illinois to NYC on Saturday, woke up and headed down to the Garden at about 6:45 to get in line for GA. Got up to get our wristbands at 8 and we were #35 and #36 in line. While in line we met two incredible people from Long Island and ended up spending the entire day with them. Merch line, lunch, all of it.
While in line, we shared so many Pearl Jam stories, life stories, Leo showed his pretty sweet poster collection and we talked about shows, songs, everything. We both talked about how we were not recorders at shows. Basically we are a get in, take a picture from your seat, a picture when the band is on stage and a quick little video of the venue when the lights come on kind of people.
Leo asked if there was one song I wanted that night, and I started telling him more about my dad, his fandom, his passing, his bad relationship with his father and our not too good relationship the past few years. I told Leo that there was no other song I didn’t want/wanted/needed/or was terrified to hear more than Release. I told him if they opened with it, I could walk out of the arena right after, drive 15 hours home and it was worth the trip.
Once we get in, we hop on the rail on Stone’s side and waited. Watched Josh’s set and waited some more. As Cat Power came on the speakers and the lights when down I had so many emotions rushing through me. “Play it. Don’t play it. Play it, I need it. Don’t play it, I’ll cry” kept going through my head. As the band took their seats I knew in that moment there was only one possible way this show would open.
When Stone hit that riff and it filled the Garden and the crowd erupted, I just took a deep breath looked at the ceiling and tried to hold back tears. Knowing damn well it wasn’t going to help. As me and 20,000 of my closest friends shouted those words together, it was what I needed the most.
Oh dear dad
Can you see me now?
I am myself
Like you somehow.
I’ll wait up in the dark
For you to speak to me,
I’ll open up
Those words have been on my mind since that day, but listening to Eddie say them, to all of us shouting them together, it was healing that I needed. I felt in those lines, I was speaking directly to my dad. I felt that he was listening and he was there with me. When it finished Leo leaned over and said “You got it man, you got it”. I wished I had recorded it to have that moment with me forever but I didn’t.
After the show I asked Leo if he recorded it and he said he got some of it and he would send it to me. The next day he sent me an email with the video attached and said:
Hope this finds you home safe and sound. This file was too large for email or iMessage so I had to put it here in google drive it should work fine from here. Just download it and hit play. Not sure why I recorded the entire song but I did and it’s the only full song I’ve recorded. I hope this gives you the peace you were looking for.
I texted him and thanked him so much and he responded:
Hey man of course. It’s sort of odd how for some reason I recorded the entire song without realizing why but maybe there was a bigger purpose… maybe the purpose wasn’t for me but for you.
And that is an email and a text message I will always have saved until I am no longer here.
I love this band and I love this community.
4/26/2016 – Satan’s Bed – Lexington, KY
Taking a trip back to my first show of my 11 total now, and on a more positive note. A show that I will always remember and find myself going back to frequently. There are some things from this show that I wish I knew and could’ve appreciated more in the moment of experiencing them, but that’s what makes having bootlegs special is reliving them as time goes on.
One of my guilty pleasure favorite Pearl Jam songs is Satan’s Bed. Every time I hear the song I just start head bobbing and singing along like it’s one of their most well known songs. Whether it’s the studio version, the incredible Fox Theater ‘94 version, or even the train wreck of a version at State College in ‘03 when it’s going so bad Ed just says “solo or something”.
At the time of this show I had no idea it was such a rarity. I liked the song then, not as much as I do now, but I can remember seeing my dad go nuts when they started playing it. This was his 16th show and only his second time hearing the song, the other was PJ20.
We know how some of these live performances have went before but this one was definitely up there with one of the better ones I’ve heard. It’s a song I wish was in the rotation more but I’ve gotten it twice in my 11, so I’ll take it for now.
My wife and I were fortunate to hear the song in Paris again last year, and this time I was the one losing my mind. We were on the rail, and the couple next to us looked at me like I was crazy but I enjoyed every second of it. It was a little bit of “I’m on the rail for the first time at a Pearl Jam show, in Paris, and they’re playing Satan’s Fucking Bed. I’m going to enjoy this. My dad would think this is cool as shit.”
10/1/2021 – Seven O’Clock – Ohana Encore
Good ole 2020. What started off seeming like a great year with a tour and album announcement, my wife and I getting tickets for St. Louis and MSG, us finding out we were pregnant with our first baby in February, getting our first puppy together, all took a wild change in March.
As the world shut down and we sat in our brand new apartment we moved into, watching Tiger King and waiting for life to resume, we were really patiently awaiting the new album. When the track listing came out there was just something about Seven O’Clock that stuck with me. I just had a feeling THAT would be the song off the album I loved. When the released the phone number you could call to hear snippets of each song, (585) 20-PEARL, I got to Seven O’Clock and loved every second of the snippet. I called the number multiple times just to get to that song and listen to it again.
When the album came out, I stayed up until 11 to be able to download and listen to it. My wife was asleep already, and I put my headphones in. Every ounce of me wanted to skip to the song but I held off, stayed up and listened track by track twice before going to sleep. Both times Seven O’Clock stood out the most to me. So different, so creative, so many good lyrics. It just took me to a different place.
At the time I was managing a small local gym and while it was shutdown, the owner gave me a key to access it whenever I wanted. Every day I went in and plugged my phone in and listened to the album cover to cover. I loved it. Every time this one song just had me stop and listen closely. It was the song off the album that I wanted to hear live more than any of the others.
Fast forward to summer of 2021, we made the totally rash decision the day they went on sale of buying tickets to Ohana Encore, flying out from St. Louis and going to the shows. After Sea.Hear.Now, I had watched the version of this song so many times just anticipating being able to hear it.
Once we get out there and get to the show, we got down to the stage and were about 5 people from the rail dead center. At that point, it was the closest we’ve ever been to the stage. After Even Flow, as soon as Ed said “this one has a lot of words” I looked at my wife and said “YES”.
Once that initial riff set in it did what I would hoped it would do. That almost trippy sound damn near put me in a trance. It had made me feel like I was up above everyone else just watching, listening and feeling the song and the crowd. This was the first time that night that I realized “Holy shit. We are on a beach in California, listening to the greatest band play music” and I just took it in. What an experience.
A song that I feel lucky having seen it 4 times so far out of the 14 it’s been played. I’m hoping it sticks around for the future, but having it get cut 8 times in sets already worries me. Only time will tell.
8/20/2018 – Given To Fly – Wrigley Field
I think at this point, there’s 3 things guaranteed in life. Death, taxes and a Wrigley Field weather mishap. Although I wasn’t there in 2013, I was for night one in 2016 and before we went into the ballpark we had to stand under the tracks of the L to hide out from some rain. Come 2018 and what do you know? More rain. This time we were in the stadium as it started to roll in. We were in the upper deck under the lights so we had cover and were able to sit in our seats as the sign came up and said the start would be pushed back.
We watched the field and GA leave and were able to watch them come back and see people hop the fence and run and fall as they tried to get close again. Having that long awaited anticipation of having the band come out was exhausting and great at the same time. It just felt like it wasn’t going to happen. I am one of those people that always fly on the downside of things so once they took the stage it was just an incredible feeling.
As Ed once said before introducing the song in Oslo in 2000, “So anyway, this next song has one of the most beautiful melodies ever written. It’s called Given to Fly to California.” That beautiful opening riff from Mike filled the North Side Chicago air as the rain was coming down and it felt just right. The crowd erupted and it has became one of my favorite Given To Fly’s I’ve seen live. Some how it was only the 7th time it had opened a show but as we sat around waiting for the band to come out, there was no way a slow opener would’ve felt right. The crowd was ready and the song is the perfect build up and wave crashing opener we needed. Followed by Why Go, Go and Last Exit it was a ROCKING start to the show and we knew there it was no holding back.
9/18/2022 – Footsteps – St. Louis, MO
After what was an incredible stretch for my wife and I over 11 months, St. Louis was the end of the run. We did both Ohana Encore Nights, Paris, MSG, Nashville and Louisville up to that point. It was show number 11 for us and it was the first time I was able to go home and sleep in my own bed after.
While we loved every stop along the way, meeting people and talking to people amongst the community, this show was going to be a special one. It was the one my dad was supposed to be at and it would’ve been his 20th show.
I went into the show with not really any asks or wishes for songs. We had the mindset of we’ve had an absolutely amazing run of shows and whatever happened to close it off would be incredible. This was a hometown show for us, we had so many family and friends there that it may have been their first show or their first show in years and we were more excited for them to get the experience that we were so lucky to have.
There was one song though. There’s always one song we are hoping for in a show that we may not have heard before or heard in awhile we want. It was a song that I know I wanted, my wife wanted, her aunt and her mom all wanted to hear. It’s a song that I can remember being one of the first Pearl Jam songs I heard as a kid coming from my dad’s tower speakers in the living room. I heard it many nights. The voice. The power. The emotion. I was hooked.
I know as a kid I just thought Ed’s voice was incredible but as I’ve gotten older the song has meant so much more to me. Especially since my dad’s passing there’s been lyrics to that song that just stick with me. Now we had decided to go our separate ways years before but it was ultimately a decision made by me. We did agree it was for the best. Now did I think that I would get married, having a beautiful daughter, buy a house, and he would pass away before speaking to him again? Absolutely not. So since that day and even more since his passing these lyrics:
I did what I had to do, and if there was a reason, there wasn’t no reason, no.
If there’s something you’d like to do, just let me continue to blame you.
Footsteps in the hall, it was you.
Pictures on my chest, it was you…
Have resonated with me more than ever. As much as it was painful singing those out loud with 20,000 people, it was healing at the same time. Besides Release from MSG, this is my most listened to performance from 2022.
This band means so much to me, means a lot to my wife and I know it was obviously a huge part of my dad’s life. I only hope that as long as the band is still touring, I can keep attending as many shows as I can because I know it’s what he would’ve wanted.
Thank you guys for reading! I enjoyed reliving these memories and sharing them with you guys. Happy moments, emotional moments and everything in between. That’s what Pearl Jam does to a lot of us, and I don’t think we’d have it any other way.