Pearl Jam 2023 Tour Announcement Reaction
After about a month of rumors, April Fool’s teases, website leaks and cryptic Santos L. Halper videos, it’s finally official – Pearl Jam is heading back out on tour in September! Any time new dates get announced there is excitement in the air. People from far and wide make plans to travel in order to get the full Pearl Jam experience how it was meant to be witnessed. While Pearl Jam is always the focal point, it’s so much more than that. For many people, shows are a way of reuniting with friends you’ve met over the years that share that same special bond with the band that you do. As much as it is a tour, it doubles as a big family reunion for that very reason.
Compared to the 33 shows that we got last year (37 if you include the cancellations), the nine shows booked are a little less than a third of what they played in 2023. But you have to consider what happened in 2022 as the catalyst to why there are lesser dates. Most likely, there is still an internal worry about COVID-19. Other bands, such as Bruce Springsteen, have needed to postpone tour dates this year because of the virus. There is also the situation that developed in Paris last year, where Ed’s throat was damaged due to what was said to be from wildfires. As the band continues to age, they’ll need to find ways to reduce the potential of being affected by these issues.
As you can see from the schedule, the only back to back dates are the two shows in Austin. There is at least one day in between each city in which they’re playing two shows, and there are at least two days off after every location. This tells us that a major priority for this run is rest. If you’re thinking that other bands who are older can handle more dates with less time in between, just remember that each band is different. I can see a world where Pearl Jam may be doing this in order to have the ability to take the road at least once per year, but had they planned another 30 dates this time around, it could’ve perhaps made touring in 2024 more difficult.
All touring is good touring, and although they went heavy in the mid- and southwest, you can pack a lot into nine shows. Let’s run through each city and give a little background as to some of the history behind their past visits.
8/31 & 9/2 – St. Paul, Minnesota – Xcel Energy Center
The last time that the band swung through the North Star State was back in 2014, but many of you may not even remember it. This is the show that had the unfortunate distinction of being in between both the Moline and Milwaukee shows that were treated to full runs of the No Code and Yield albums respectively. But the St. Paul show that year is tremendous in its own right. What sticks out to me the most from that night is how Ed talked about the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital being one of the leading medical centers in research for Epidermolysis bullosa, otherwise known as EB. This was very early in Ed and Jill’s call for awareness of the disease that they have raised over $6 million for to find a cure. You’d have to think that this would be a major part of both shows once again, and perhaps we’ll get another appearance from the ever lovable Dr. Jakub Tolar who has been the top doctor fighting this disease. And for those of you who fantasize about Pearl Jam playing small clubs again, perhaps it’s not a bad idea to spend some of the off day hanging around the First Avenue Club just to see what’s up.
9/5 & 9/7 – Chicago, IL – United Center
While Wrigley Field has continued to be a staple of the Pearl Jam touring circuit since 2013, they are making their way back to the United Center for the first time in 14 years! In 2009, it was all about the preparation for Backspacer as they were starting to roll out a few of the new songs prior to the record’s release a month later. We know that they’ve been dabbling in Andrew Watt’s Los Angeles studio for about a year, so while anything can happen, we’ll just have to see if history repeats itself. Speaking of history, there is no lack of history connected to Chicago as every time the band makes their return, it’s a homecoming for Ed. Expectations for two massive setlists featuring fan favorites and rarities will be high as usual, and there has almost never been a Chicago show that didn’t include Release in the set. Get ready to bawl your eyes out for that. And hey, there just so happens to be a day game at Wrigley Field in between the two shows, so maybe keep an eye out for Ed singing the Take Me Out To The Ballgame, or perhaps we get another Ten Club day at the park?
9/10 – Noblesville, IN – Ruoff Music Center
The only location with the one lone date to its name is also the only amphitheater venue on this run. Pearl Jam had frequented this location back on a few of their album promotion tours years such as 1998, 2000 and 2003, but the last time they stepped foot was back in 2010. While to many this may be seen as the ‘skippable’ show because you wouldn’t be traveling to see them multiple times, this is where they can prove everybody wrong and come up with the sleeper show of the year. So if you were considering skipping this one out of convenience, you may want to reconsider. Nothing is ever guaranteed, but it might be worth a shot!
9/13 & 9/15 – Ft. Worth, TX – Dickies Arena
For the final four dates of the year (that we know of so far, but I’ll make a prediction to say it’ll stand) we’re heading down to Texas for the first time in what feels like forever. Now, I have already said some things to upset the locals of Ft. Worth by referring to these shows as Dallas. I only do that because I plan to be in attendance for these two, and I am preparing to manifest for one of my white whales to be played. Brain Of J. is always featured in a Dallas setlist due to the history of the JFK assassination. It is also the single most important song of my Pearl Jam fandom (it’s a story I’ve told many times before, maybe I’ll tell it again upon request). So I will fully admit to the fact that I’m selecting these dates to somewhat guarantee that I’ll get to hear the song and fulfill my Yield collection. And to do that I have to keep telling myself Dallas, because the band has never technically played in Ft. Worth. So I apologize to all of you people from the Fort, but this one for me is personal. This is literally the only expectation I have of either of these shows, and as long as it happens, I’ll be satisfied with everything else.
9/18 & 9/19 – Austin, TX – Moody Center
Pearl Jam is no stranger to Austin, having performed the Austin City Limits festival on multiple occasions. This is the first instance in which they will play Austin without having to be a festival headliner since 1995, one of the hottest shows they’ve ever played. These two not only have the benefit of being played on back to back nights, but it’s also the penultimate and closing shows of the tour. This bodes well for those in attendance because of a Pearl Jam adage that has been recited for years – it’s always the second to last show that’s the one you want to be at. While they’ve had some crazy shows on the penultimate night of tours, the closer is still considered the one you strive to attend. It’s the final goodbye, they play all of their party songs, there’s potential to bust out a rarity and you never know who may pop in to visit. Especially in Austin. I guess my one prediction for these would be to attribute a famous phrase attached to the city, keep Austin shows weird. Here’s manifesting some hope that they pay homage to the late Daniel Johnston by playing one of the strangest, yet most beautiful covers in their catalog, Walking The Cow.
There you have it. John and I will have more to say and elaborate on in an upcoming podcast reaction episode. Also remember that there will be an opener for select nights, a band called Inhaler that Bono’s son is a part of. Any thoughts on the dates? Leave a comment below or shout us out on Twitter – @liveon4legspod.
They’re back, and we’re thrilled!