September 5, 2023 – United Center, Chicago, IL, USA

Show at a Glance

  • Number of Songs: 24
  • Show Length: 02:33


Main Set: Release, Low Light, Just Breathe, Retrograde, Who Ever Said, Corduroy, Gods' Dice, Faithfull, Quick Escape, Animal, Light Years, Even Flow, Dance Of The Clairvoyants, In My Tree, Comatose, Down, Rearviewmirror

Encore 1: Throw Your Arms Around Me, Inside Job, Wishlist, Not For You, Better Man/(Save It For Later), Alive, Surrender

Pearl Jam Show Notes 9/5/2023:

Release opens the first show at the United Center since 2009. After Low Light, Ed says they’re “so blessed to be back in Chicago…we have a lot of family and friends in the audience tonight,” joking that the “people in the front row I see more than my family, so I guess you qualify…” He says they hope to “get back outside someday,” referring to Wrigley, which elicits a cheer from the crowd. The band exits and Ed plays Just Breathe solo. Retrograde is the kick-down-the-chairs song tonight, the ending is thunderous, Mike putting on a show early creating a cacophony of sound. Corduroy gets the crowd going with a call-and-response and Ed holding the first note of “Everything has chains…” for a long time. After, he says “we’re gonna start this one together…I’m thinking we might fuck it up…it’s gonna be my fault, I’m telling you right now…at least I got the balls to fuckin’ try it…” leading into Gods’ Dice, the first performance since 2018. After the first line Ed exclaims “…got it!” and they get through it, Jeff with a huge smile on his face the whole song. Quick Escape is introduced as:

“a bit of a science-fiction tale about a species that…there were signs every day that they were destroying their own planet, but they didn’t listen, and next thing you know they’re on another planet…it was a shit fuckin’ planet…no other planet was like the one that they had…it’s just science fiction, that’s all…”

Ed recognizes Jeff as the one who turned them on to the TV show The Bear, which is set in Chicago, and Ed talks about working at restaurants and says:

“…I still wake up with waiter nightmares, 30-plus years later…and then I wake up and I think ‘oh my god, thank god I’m in a band'”

Animal, used twice on the show, follows. Before a beautiful Light Years, a touching moment as Ed talks about a very recent loss in his family, his great-aunt Sandy, saying they were just up north for her services yesterday, and her picture is shown on the screens. Mike has a long behind-the-back section of the Even Flow solo. Chris Chelios makes a cameo on stage after Dance of the Clairvoyants, and Ed gives a shoutout to opening band Inhaler. Josh impresses on In My Tree, helping out on percussion. Ed throws in a quick “Detroit!” after the “pistons” line in Comatose. Ed gets choked up a little before RVM:

“Yesterday we received a very respectful and dignified and heartfelt petition to play a certain song for a certain individual, and I recognized his face, and he meant so much to this community of people who sometimes travel together…and share their friendships and energies, and use us as an excuse to have a good life and see the world…they described this gentleman, who hailed from the Netherlands…the most bright light, a great man, and a friend to all, and it was very moving because when he lost his battle with cancer, he didn’t have a lot of family, and some of the community we’re connected to were able to cross swords and make it nice for his services and his funeral and take care of it properly…it’s a beautiful story so we’re honored to honor him. This is what he wanted to hear.”

After the first verse Ed shouts “…this is for you, Frans!” After the break, he tells a long story about going to visit his grandmother’s old house and meeting the people who live there now, saying he wished he had bought it back in the day to preserve it, but then he met the person who lives in his grandmother’s old room and they raised 5 kids there, and his pictures with them are shown on screen. The family is at the show and are shown on screen as well, very emotional, and Ed plays Throw Your Arms Around Me solo. Jeff has a Bulls jersey on. Ed runs off stage as Inside Job starts, only making it back just in time to sing. Mike has his head back and eyes closed for the whole intro. A Cubs “W” flag is shown afterwards, and Ed says if he got another tattoo he would get that on his forehead. Wishlist is played for the back, and there’s a huge crowd roar as a sign is shown that says “9th Bday, first show.” Not For You has the original album outro for the first time in a long time, no Modern Girl tag. The phone fireflies are out for Better Man, leading Ed to comment “…fuckin’ beautiful, man” during the song. Boom and Josh are mentioned afterwards, but Josh isn’t on stage, he’s down in the sound booth and has to come up and make an appearance. Mike goes out into the front row for the Alive solo. For the last song, Ed says “…let’s see what happens” and Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” returns for the first time since Wrigley 2016. As the song is closing, Ed shouts “Mikey’s alright! Jeff is alright! Matt is alright! Josh is alright! Stone is alright! Boom is alright! You are alright! Chicago’s alright! Chicago’s alright!”

John Farrar

Content Editor & LO4L Host

I was obsessed with Pearl Jam in the early 90's, and then became a collector of their live bootlegs in the 2000's. I’ve seen them 12 times in 8 different states. I’m continuously blown away by their ability to create transcendent moments in concert. I owe them for my love of vinyl, live music, and so much more. I’m happy to have the podcast and this website as an outlet for that obsession.

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