September 26, 2015 – Central Park, New York City, NY, USA

Show at a Glance

  • Number of Songs: 12
  • Show Length: 1:05


Main Set: Mind Your Manners, Do The Evolution, Given To Fly, Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town, Lightning Bolt, Daughter/(Blitzkrieg Bop), Unthought Known, Better Man, Alive, Redemption Song, Rockin’ In The Free World

Pearl Jam Show Notes 9/26/2015:

Ed greets the crowd with a “Good evening…I think a toast is in order, here’s to New York City, here’s to Central Park, here’s to you,” before hitting the ground running with Mind Your Manners and Do The Evolution. Before launching into Given to Fly, Ed says, “Hey, this one’s for Malala” (referencing Malala Yousafzai who had been on stage just prior to Pearl Jam). Before a beautiful Unthought Known, Ed tells the story of how the song was written:

Just so happens that four or five years back, between about 4 or 5 in the morning, overlooking Central Park right over there in that corner…I was still awake at four in the morning and I saw the most beautiful evening sky over Central Park, the streets were empty, the stars were out which was very rare, I’d never seen it. and then, and then, I should have been gettin’ some sleep but I started scribbling lyrics and it felt like you couldn’t walk out of there, I couldn’t go to sleep because there was magic happening in front of me…and um…and then I got to see the sun rise over this beautiful part of this great city. And when I woke up in the morning, I thought it was just going to be a bunch of scribble and uh, which it was, but I was actually able to record a bit of it and and it was kind of nice to play it back and it wasn’t the worst thing I’d ever done…it could never capture what I saw that night but to have the opportunity to play it in the middle of the thing that inspired it is something I would have never anticipated.  

Stone starts to play the opening lick to Alive, and then Ed promptly stops him, saying:

I just wanted to say something before he played that song. You know this is really an incredible experience, because you’re surrounded by all these incredible activists on stage, in the back, world leaders, heads of business, people who have chosen to become resolved and decide to make change, but never before have we played for an audience full, 100% full of activists, and it’s an incredible feeling and we just want to thank you for making this wave of hope that can ride and it can grow and I hope it smashes on the shore of cynicism and apathy and we make global poverty…that in the near future, we make global poverty a thing of the past…so, uh, thanks for having us here, it’s been a blast…

Ed unsuccessfully tries to lead the crowd in the “yeah” (fist pumping) chant during what was an incredible solo by Mike, perhaps due to their inexperience (by PJ standards). After a short break, Ed comes out with an acoustic guitar and gives a very heartfelt tribute to John Lennon before playing Imagine. Beyoncé is introduced as the crowd erupts, and they play Redemption Song, its first appearance at a PJ show since 1995! During the bridge, Ed continues strumming while Beyoncé does some improvisational scatting and a video of Nelson Mandela’s famous “Make Poverty History” speech plays in the background. Ed thanks Hugh Evans, the organizer of the festival, and invites “everybody that wants to come play, come play, good night, this is it!” and as the band launches into Rockin’ in the Free World, the stage fills up with people, including Sir Richard Branson, Kerry Washington, Olivia Wilde and so many more, with Stone getting a real kick out of one-time Seattle resident Bill Nye fanning his fingers during the solo. 

Sheehan Perera

Writer & Contributor

Been listening to Pearl Jam since 8th grade (mid-90s). Over the years, Pearl Jam's catalog has been my safe place and my guide as I dove deep into other artists like Jimi Hendrix, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and Pink Floyd. Been going to PJ shows since 1998 and love how the experience has become so much more than just the actual concert. It's the music, it's the community, it's a way of life.

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