Episode 156: Oakland, CA – 11/14/1997
About the Episode
1997 was somewhat of a quiet year for Pearl Jam, at least on the touring side of things. Busy recording their fifth studio album, Yield, they kept a low profile and took a break from having to deal with their continued Ticketmaster boycott. It wasn’t until November that Pearl Jam would play a 4-night stint of shows in the Bay Area as the opening act for The Rolling Stones. In this episode we’ll discuss the first night of the four show run and take a glimpse into the transitional time period for them.
This show is interesting mainly because Pearl Jam is not quite the focal point. While a big stage is built for the Stones’ elaborate set-up, Pearl Jam was confined to a smaller section of the stage which crammed up their space and didn’t allow them to build a connection with the large stadium crowd. If you watch the YouTube video, you would never be able to tell that the band was playing in a football stadium. But the Stones invited them along for these shows in order to entice a younger crowd and sell tickets. This was originally set for a two night stay, but since these shows were in such high demand they continued to tack on dates. Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews and Sheryl Crow only play for two nights a piece on this tour, and Pearl Jam’s set lasted 20 minutes longer. That’s being in high demand right there!
After debuting some of the Yield songs at a fan club show in Santa Cruz two nights prior (billed as The Honking Seals), the first night of this run featured three key album tracks being played for the second time. Given To Fly displayed it’s ability to soar in an outdoor venue and benefited from the Jack beat that is routinely identified with the song, Wishlist showed a bit of trepidation as Ed busts out the e-bow for the first time in front of a large crowd, and Do The Evolution was an early indication that the fans were in for something fresh and raw on the new album. But as their stage time was held to only an hour due to being the opener, most of this set has your standard, mid-90’s Pearl Jam fare.