Episode 266: Birmingham, AL – 4/9/2003

About the Episode

Episode Release Date: January 10th, 2024

Episode Guests: Javier Hervas

The coldest show in Pearl Jam history located in East Troy, Wisconsin was so cold that it was dubbed the nickname ‘The Ice Bowl’. When you think of cold weather areas, Wisconsin makes a lot of sense to have held the coldest show ever. But the second coldest show? If you had Birmingham, Alabama on your bingo card, I will assume you’ve cheated. Yes, you’ve heard correctly. On a cold night in April of 2003, Pearl Jam played in front of a smaller capacity crowd in 40 degree weather… in deep south Alabama. It’s kind of crazy to say aloud, but the storyline for this show is how both band and crowd react to the situation, and the put together a very good show despite all that transpired. Our Patron Tasker Hewitt will join us for the episode to talk about his experience of being in the crowd on that night.

The weather isn’t the complete story here, because had they of sold well for original venue Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Arena, they wouldn’t have had to worry about the rough temperatures. The original plan was for them to play in the same arena which they played in 1998, a larger capacity building than the amphitheater they’d end up moving to, but tickets were not in very high demand and that’s what forced the switch. This led to a great crowd full of hardcore fans that all filled up the GA ready to make it a memorable night. In ways it was. They have some great stretches of songs in which the band purposefully made sure that the crowd stay energetic, the best example being a stretch of Even Flow, Daughter and Better Man played as the 4th 5th and 6th songs of the night. There are some great moments in this set. We’ll spend a lot of time on songs such as Thumbing My Way and Animal, and Black will be a massive discussion point as well.

But if there is one thing to take away from this night, it’s the way they ended this show. After Yellow Ledbetter, the band still has their instruments strapped in. A tease of Sweet Home Alabama from McCready at the end of Ledbetter would potentially make this crowd think there was more ahead. Instead, it was one of the weirdest troll jobs in the history of this band. Matt clicks his sticks four times, the band strums one note, and everyone walks off as if everything was normal. We’ll get into this at full detail and try to figure out what the hell was going on.

Javier returns to the show this week for segments focusing on both Even Flow and Black!

Listen to the Episode

Join The Conversation

Share Your Memories

Add a comment

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


Latest Episodes