June 23, 2012 – Isle of Wight Festival, Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight, ENG

Show at a Glance

  • Number of Songs: 24
  • Show Length: 1:44


Main Set: Unthought Known, Last Exit, Hail, Hail, The Fixer, Rain, Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town, Supersonic, Given To Fly, Untitled, MFC, Even Flow, Setting Forth, Corduroy, Arms Aloft, Jeremy, Why Go

Encore 1: Got Some, Daughter/(Blitzkrieg Bop), Just Breathe, Better Man/(Save It For Later), Porch

Encore 2: Blood, Alive, Yellow Ledbetter/(Little Wing)

Pearl Jam Show Notes 6/23/2012:

Isle of Wight Festival organizer John Giddings referred to this weekend as his “American Trilogy” with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Bruce Springsteen, and PJ headlining the 3 respective nights. The set begins with an uplifting Unthought Known, the last time (to date) it has opened a show. The vibe is contrasted abruptly with a smash and grab version of Last Exit, and a muscular Hail, Hail follows, with the crowd enthusiastically taking the clapping section. Ed then checks on the crowd, asking “Good evening, everybody got their boots on?” referencing the muddy festival grounds. A full cover of the Beatles’ “Rain” is debuted as a nod to the wet English festival weather, with Ed’s vocals here more laid back than future versions. Jeff really stands out here with his take on the McCartney bassline flowing rich and steady. A heavy and tight Supersonic is introduced by Ed as “this one is about live music being your favorite drug.”  Untitled sees Ed weaving the weather into the lyrics:

“Got a car, got some gas…

let’s go camping in the rain and the mud,

and get out of here fast.

We don’t need no things…

I got pounds and friends and guys that give us free beer.

I want to go but I don’t want to go alone.”

He mentions Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros after Corduroy, saying “…you know who would’ve loved this? Joe Strummer, he would have loved this fucking place…this is a song he wrote years ago after going to a few festivals himself,” before cranking into Arms Aloft. The crowd may not have been familiar with it but the band wins them over by the end with a fierce performance, and they close the main set with a double dose of Ten in Jeremy and Why Go to get everyone singing along again. In the encore, Ed talks about hearing Willie Nelson’s version of Just Breathe and what an honor it was, and says he can only hear Willie’s voice singing the song now, even doing a short impression of the country legend, adding “…he sings it better than me.” He uses his own voice during the song, however, which is dedicated to “Rebecca and her boyfriend…I hope they made it, and thanks for my guitar.” Ed improvs a little on the Save it for Later tag:

“Wherever you go, take me with you…wherever I go, I need you here,

wherever you go, please take me with you…wherever I go, I need you near”

Encore two opens with Ed mentioning some of the other bands at the festival and asks the crowd to say hello to ‘Uncle Bruce’ for them. He continues:

“I don’t know how this applies, something that Jeff said to me that bears repeating, ‘give a man a gun and he’ll rob a bank. Give a man a bank and he’ll rob the world.’ We gotta keep an eye on them. Justice for some of these people that are making a lot of other people suffer and they just don’t care at all. This song is called Blood.” 

Blood scorches loud and hot before leading into a big singalong for Alive, and for the second show in a row, Mike adds a tease of “Little Wing” into the Ledbetter solo.

Tom Gregory

Horizon Leg Patron

Ed was once asked why he sings about such dark subject matter and his response, which I'm paraphrasing, was something like that if you give yourself a way to express these emotions, maybe you can make some sense of them. By giving them a name and a shape and a rhythm you can maybe even gain some perspective or even mastery over them. Or maybe at least you won't feel quite as alone. That's was this music does for us. And beyond that internal relationship to the music, you discover this giant, wonderful community of people that somehow loves them just as deeply as you do. First you connect with the songs, the heart, the musicianship, and then you connect with everyone else who feels that same way too. As Ed sang at Pinkpop while scanning that vast, mud soaked crowd during Porch "it's a beautiful thing".

Share your Memories

Share Your Memories

Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *