Forever Faithfull: Memories From The Road featuring Javier Hervas
Javier Hervas 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 Javier Hervas. He’ll relive his favorite tour memories from his homeland in Chile, and some incredible live moments that he got to witness when he moved to the US.
11/22/2005 – Corduroy – Santiago, CHL
OK, first of all, you need to understand that this was PJ’s FIRST TIME EVER IN SOUTH AMERICA, and there were 30k fans amped the fuck up to see them. Now, you have been warned. Want to keep reading? OK!
This was my first PJ experience, the most meaningful and one I will never forget. I remember when the first commercial on TV showed up. Forums were going crazy, it was going to happen this time. PJ had confirmed their first South American tour. The tickets lasted seconds, it was minutes before the system collapsed and a couple of hours later the second show was announced. I had to get online again. I had to have tickets for night two, because remember, you never know what are you going to get!
The night before the show, we went out way too late. We were excited and we had all kind of excuses to continue to celebrate the first show, setlist theories, what was the second song, what year was Mike’s strat, etc and the night ended around 4am. One of my friends had a dream, a “vision”. He woke everyone up and said we needed to get going. The dream was about way too many people camping and not having enough space in the front for everyone who was waiting for them early to get in. Needless to say, everybody was up and running and that was a very long ride to the stadium. We got there and we organized ourselves in groups based off of the time the group arrived, which was 7am in the front, 8am arrivals in the middle, and everyone after 9am in the back. The system seemed to work until some people were trying to be a little shady, but that didn’t fly very well. Security did their job and everyone kept their spots.
When the doors finally opened, the stage was right there. After waiting for a few hours, finally Mudhoney was on the stage. I will never forget that sound of Seattle on my ears, raw and powerful. The energy and the excitement was way too much. We were ready. Pearl Jam was going to play for the first time in South America.
The set opened with Release. The forecast predicted some rain, but it never predicted how perfect the rain was going to be. When Stone played the first D note of Release, the sky broke and it broke in the most beautiful way, filling up the atmosphere of that beautiful night that we always thought it was going to be. The band used only dim blue light while playing Release, and you could only make out their silhouettes. You can see them nervous, kind of testing the waters, not knowing what to expect, but when the first roar comes back from the crowd on the chorus of Release, you could feel the energy change. They finally give in, Eddie falls back on his amps trying to get his guitar, strap on and the first chords of Corduroy rumble through the stadium. Time to jump and dance and sing our hearts out. The lights are on, and after more than 20 years waiting, we can see our heroes. They’re smiling and jumping. The waiting drove us mad. Finally… FINALLY… Pearl Jam was here.
11/16/2011 – Unthought Known – Santiago, CHL
This is another special one for me. As an only child, I grew up surrounded by a very special group of close friends. Before I moved to the states for grad school, I was able to enjoy a final show before moving to the states with people I care so much about. It was a night full of emotion and an amazing rock show.
PJ had taken six years to get back to South America and the expectation for this show was crazy as always. Tickets sold out very quickly and the hype for the band was stronger than ever. All areas surrounding the stadium were hosting parties, and bars were getting big crowds for pre-game before the show. Again, the wait before the show was long. So many emotions were running through me because it had been so long since the last time we saw them live. It had been way too long.
X did an amazing job opening the night with great tunes, but after that it was show time. Eddie came up to the stage for one song and that was more than enough to get the entire stadium in the palm of his hand. Metamorphosis 2 came on and the lights went out. Long Road? Release? Why Go? Nope. None of them as an opener. Unthought Known was the chosen one to kick things off and that set up the optimistic mood surrounding that show. Why go, Animal, Do The Evolution continued the set. Scorching sound and the energy was out of this world in that stadium, especially when it was shaking during the intro to Why Go. Things got a little tense when people needed to take three steps back. Fortunately, the band was able to control the situation, and we still had a rock show going.
Amazing night and amazing memories from that show. Eddie definitely kept his promise from 2005.
“Next time, Next time won’t take us 20 years to come back, I promise you that.”
4/6/2013 – Amongst The Waves – Santiago, CHL
This was my first time going back home after moving to the states, and I couldn’t find a better excuse to stop in Santiago. Hanging out with familiar faces, catching up with old friends and enjoying the home land. This festival version had a pretty good lineup, people were super excited since PJ only took 2 years to come back.
I had an awesome day at the festival and I was enjoying every single minute of live music that I could absorb. Although, there was this rumor that some photographer who had this amazing project of taking fan portraits was going to be there. I mean, a portrait with your favorite lyrics from your favorite band? That’s a brilliant idea! Right, Tanya Kang? So part of my day was trying to find her, but there was no success on this quest. OK, back to the music.
Release, with an Hola Santiago! in between, Go, Even Flow. What an amazing trio of songs! People who were not familiar with the band were saying “These guys are fucking good!” and fans from multiple generations were absorbing all the music coming from the speakers. When Amongst the Waves started, something weird happened. It was kind of a generational change in the crowd. Young audiences not familiar with the band walked to the back and that opened a lot of space for long time fans to get closer to the front. It felt like it was a Pearl Jam show from that point forward. Why Go could not come in a better spot after that change in the audience. Dynamic, hard, powerful. Awesome version.
Another highlight of the night was the inclusion of Present Tense as part of the encore. People were very very grateful for this moment since I feel this was the first time PJ opened the door for that kind of song in a festival setting in South America. Birthday cake included! No major surprises until the end of the show. Juan Pablo, who played Last Kiss with them in 2011, nailed Sonic Reducer on his second time playing with them. Ed has a Chilean flag on his shoulders and again kept his promise one more time. Lights are up. Time to go home and we are looking forward to see them again. I guess they liked it, they came back two years after that.
10/17/2014 – In My Tree – Moline, IL
OK, let’s put this in perspective. PJ was going to play at Moline, IL? WTF?! OK. I guess I wasn’t complaining since this was so close to where I live.
There was something about the atmosphere of this show. I had a gut feeling they were going to put something special. Small town really did set up things for me, perfect start of a tailored set for this venue.
I’m checking the guys on stage, nothing strange. Strats for the first two songs on Mike’s side and Stone going back and forth in between acoustics and electric guitars. But wait, when Mike pulls out that Hamer checkered guitar, I knew something special was going on. Honestly, didn’t hit me first until In My Tree started. Coincidence? Maybe. Premeditated idea? Perhaps. I was just fighting the urge to lose my mind making that assumption.
Eddie: “END OF SIDE ONE”
That was it. Random hugs to people around and some tears of joy were shared here and there. It was happening. PJ was playing No Code live, track by track in Moline, Illinois. What a night! And don’t even get me started talking about what was left on the set that night!
“I swore I knew everything, oh yeah…
They say knowledge is a dream, yeah…”
9/18/2022 – Life Wasted – St. Louis, MO
This was my first show after the world stopped due to COVID, and needless to say, expectations and excitement were through the roof! I was very curious to see how the band was going to manage 3 shows in a row. Knowing their set length is a little longer than average, they didn’t disappoint. I have to say, sound wise, this is the best PJ show I’ve ever listened in my life.
The highlight of this show was the fact I was able to participate in the fundraiser organized by Anthony Krysiewicz and get to know wonderful people from the LO4L community. I was so grateful to enjoy the pre party with Randy Sobel and John Farrar. For the first time since I moved to the states, I felt I was part of something more important than the live experience itself.
OK, Back to the music. I didn’t know what to expect with the set starting with chairs on the stage, but man, that sit down opener didn’t disappoint! I think it was the perfect idea for the perfect night. And hands down, this set was the best set on the USA fall leg for 2022. Also, it was very nice to enjoy live music again. We lost so much and we changed so much after COVID, and I think a live show is the perfect opportunity for everyone, for just a moment, to get along and celebrate under the same cause. I guess, for me, this was the first step towards a “back to normal” if you can define what’s normal again.
“Having tasted, a life wasted.
I’m never going back again.”
PS: Did I mentioned how good this version is?