It’s the 30th anniversary of Pearl Jam’s debut, and most important album, Ten. So we’re celebrating by taking a look back at one of the most treasured shows of the past decade, the night where they played the entire album in front of a frenzied Philadelphia crowd. It was the fourth of five full album shows in a two-year span that was fueled by a banner raised to the rafters of the Wells Fargo Center honoring the band’s 10 consecutive sellout shows in South Philly. From the time that you hear the iconic opening riff of Alive as the third song in the set, you can tell that the crowd was astounded that they were there to witness history. We’ll go in full depth on the entire album’s recreation from this night and some oddities that came with it that made the setlist flow so unique in itself. Moments such as getting songs like Even Flow, Alive, Porch and Release all happening outside of their positioning’s that we’ve grown so accustomed to. Oh, and we’ll also talk about the consolation prize set, which wasn’t so bad itself, but could never reach the same height that the album’s presence provided.
We’re back to a more recent era in this episode as we look back at a show from the 2016 tour from Hampton, Virginia. While a great show with many moments to take out from it, this show may be remembered most for happening on the day where the band had to cancel their Raleigh, NC show due to the state’s LGBTQ discriminatory HB2 law. We’ll go into full detail about the band’s decision to cancel the show as well as John’s original plans for that week and how he almost tried for Hampton. However, thinking that the Raleigh and subsequent Columbia shows would be enough, there is a certain song that John missed on this night that we’ll discuss at length. This show has a very unique setlist with some throwbacks to past Virginia shows. For those who remember the Virginia Beach show from 2000, it was their first show since the Roskilde tragedy. Two major moments that came out of this show were the It’s OK tag off of Daughter and opening with Long Road. Both moments were called back to in this show, including a version of Long Road in the middle of the set that is almost unprecedented. We’d also hear songs that are less common in the modern day era of Pearl Jam including Brain Of J, Habit, Sad, Breath and Inside Job.
This episode takes us down to Jacksonville, Florida where the band kicked off their 2016 tour playing four dates in a state that they hadn’t played four years prior, but outside of festival shows hadn’t played since 2008. Joining us to help tell the stories from this show is Horizon Leg Patron Chris Everett! As the tour was happening 3 years after the initial Lightning Bolt touring leg, the band was at liberty to utilize pretty much anything in their catalog without the necessity of promoting an album. All 10 studio albums are accounted for at this show, this is including some of the more obscure in their catalog. Representing Binaural is the seldom played deep cut Rival, Army Reserve made an appearance as a dedication to veterans down in Jacksonville and Riot Act’s contribution was the rarely heard song Ghost dedicated to well known super fan Dimitri. But potentially the best of the rare cuts that night has to come from a version of Of The Earth because any time that that song graces our presence live its a special moment. A booming performance in the middle of the set plopped directly after Even Flow was absolutely a highlight of this night. There’s also the appearance of Glorified G which, if you’re looking at the date of this show, is only 3 days prior to the Greenville show where Vs. was performed in full. The band probably knew what they were doing for Record Store Day and used the song as practice. Speaking of RSD, we also get the lethal combo of Let The Records Play and Spin The Black Circle which was also brought back in Greenville.
Our final stop of the 2020 Around The World Series leaves us in Canada to talk about a show from Toronto where they did they inconceivable and played the Binaural record in full. The band at this point is coming off two full album shows in 2014 as well as two earlier in 2016 with Vs. in Greenville and Ten in Philadelphia. Since Toronto was the last spot on the tour and a city that the band has such rich history in, they busted out the album with possibly the rarest songs they’ve ever played live. While this is such a huge treat to all the Pearl Jam lifers, Binaural isn’t an album that resonates that well with the casual crowd. So 13 songs in a row that they almost never play live will leave you a mixed reaction no matter how you slice it. But the situation was of course unique and a service to the many late era fans who probably checked off a lot of serious collector boxes this night. God’s Dice, Evacuation, Rival, Sleight of Hand and Parting Ways are songs that were barely consistent in their set when the album came out in 2000 so to get them here, and as a podcast we don’t get to cover these songs too often, it’s a treat break these songs out of the back catalog. Along with the entire album we’ll discuss the rest of the set, the hits and misses and what made this show so hard to construct a set for.
Could this be the best of the five shows played at Wrigley Field? It’s a question worth asking. With all that’s gone down in Wrigleyville between rain delays to dedications, special and uninvited guests, this can easily be argued as the best of the bunch. Joining the show is our old friend Matt Helbig to help put this massive night into perspective. Both John and Matt were in attendance for this show and right off the bat, you’ll notice that they were absolutely stunned by some of the songs they came firing out with. Oceans to open, Footsteps as a #2, Better Man #4 and an old tribute to Jane’s Addiction to lead into Corduroy. This set would have Andre Dawson asking what year is this? Because the first 13 songs could’ve easily been selected from a 1998 setlist and no one would notice. The band went back to their roots for this show and the crowd was rewarded with old favorites like Sonic Reducer and Blood that you wouldn’t expect to get busted out on the big stage. As much as this was a night for old cuts, it was also a night for deep cuts as well. The band went into their back catalog to bust out some cherished fan favorites including Black, Red, Yellow that brought Dennis Rodman up on stage. The unreleased crowd-pleaser Of The Earth also made its way onto the set and managed to be one of the top moments of the night. Add those two in with Stone Gossard taking the mic for a little Don’t Gimme No Lip and you have a crowd of collectors left satisfied. Overall, this 36-song monster of a setlist that’s only had 4 years of life is already considered an all-timer by many hardcore fans. And consider that the Cubs went on a magical run that broke the curse of the Billy Goat that fall, it’s safe to say that Pearl Jam spread some magic and left it out on that field to be shared by all.
We’re now 4 episodes into our Wrigley Series and in this one we’ll talk about some of the best moments from the first night in 2016. The band returned to the friendly confines, this time under better weather conditions, and put on a show with so many special moments befitting of the ballpark atmosphere. One of the first biggest moments we discussed in full detail with the man himself, Dr. John Evans, on the previous episode about his well documented journey as he spent 4 days camped out in front to be on the rail while they played Release. The band dedicated the song to him in an emotional tribute. But it wasn’t the only emotional moment of the night. There was also a marriage proposal on stage, a final goodbye to the Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie and an inspirational appearance from Steve Gleason speaking to the crowd before an incredible version of Inside Job. As usual with the ballpark shows, there was also a heavy array of cover songs that we’ll talk about in full detail. The big ones from this show are without a doubt Masters of War and I Believe In Miracles played acoustically. Near the end of the show Ed would show his love for the Cubs bringing out family members of former 3B Ron Santo and his all-time favorite player, Jose Cardenal, to join him for a special rendition of Cubs anthem All The Way.
On the last episode we spoke with WWE Hall of Famer Edge about his massive Pearl Jam fandom and one of the many shows he was honored to attend happened to be in Greenville in 2016, the same show where the band performed Vs. in its entirety. As he made mention in our conversation, his reaction to the fans sitting next to him says it all… “you don’t know the SIGNIFICANCE of this!!!” We’ll hear from Edge more in this episode, but just as importantly one of our hosts was right on the rail for this show. John reminisces about the entire experience, but mainly the moments that made it feel real. After Daughter was played without a tag, something was up. Daughter as the 4th song in was a little funky as is, but as a follow up to Go and Animal, especially after the Moline and Milwaukee shows, people were hopeful that they were getting an unforgettable performance, which they did. The reasoning behind performing the album was that the show happened to fall on Record Store Day, so when Ed opened the show by declaring “let’s play some records” he wasn’t joking. Versions of Glorified G and Rearviewmirror tore the house down and Indifference mid-set without the lights on made for a memorable moment. They’d also honor the day by playing their two record related songs – Let The Records Play and Spin The Black Circle – as well as dedicated Comfortably Numb to one of Ed’s favorite records growing up.
We’ve made it to the end of our 10-part MSG series and in this episode, Randy and Chris break down the latest Garden show to date from 2016. As both were in attendance on both nights, it was kind of impossible to judge this show without putting it up head to head with the first night, and when doing so, some of what you got from this night might be considered disappointing. A huge list of songs from this night were doubled up from night 1 including many in the exact same spots and that led to some points of criticism. With this being the Garden, expectations were fairly high and repeating some of the first night’s set left a little bit of a lackluster feel. However, it didn’t disrupt it from being a good show with a lot of Ten-era heavy tracks, including the more uncommon Garden and Deep. There were two big highlights from this night everyone remembers and they come from the special guests that joined them on stage. Cheap Trick accompanied them early in the set for Surrender and none other than Sting joined the band to sing Driven To Tears. These were the big time Garden moments that the first night might have been missing.
In this episode, we’ll discuss Night 1 from Madison Square Garden in 2016, a show that came with a lot of hype and anticipation off the heels of “Tenadelphia” surely you would think the band would bring their best set to the World’s Most Famous Arena. With both Randy and Buckley in attendance this night, they have very different perspectives of this show. Randy will talk about the disappointment in being a serious collector and not getting anything new for the first time seeing the band live. The overall discussion in this episode is although this was a very solid set, did it really have that MSG magic that shows in 98, 03 and 2010 all had? The album intro to Go is a great discussion, Release in the middle of the set, a unique rendition of Future Days and a random Doobie Brothers cover will dominate conversation, but this wasn’t anywhere near the type of set that Philly or Greenville received earlier that tour.
This episode takes a look into the Fenway Park Night 2 show from 2016, but if you’re looking for set breakdown and song analysis you won’t find it in this episode. For this show I’m joined by my wife Jillian who I was lucky to attend this show alongside. As Jillian and I prepared to wed on the weekend of this recording, we talk about how this show bonded us closer as a couple. She knew what she was walking into – a baseball park full of diehards who made a weekend event of the show. As it was her first Pearl Jam live experience, she was able to witness first hand this crazy lifestyle that I was living as a massive fan. A lot of what we talk about in this show is her intake at the time and how much she has grown to love and appreciate the band since that night. Most of us who live and die with the band have friends, relatives and significant others who don’t quite understand this universe, but when you expose them to the live atmosphere their perception changes. One thing that we bring up is how this show helped her understand why and how this band and this community have made such an impact on my life, and knowing this grew us even closer together. Also, we usually have rabid fans on this show, so this episode brings in a unique experience from someone who was once on the outside and is still learning new things to love about this band every day.
Our episode is from where? Tampa. You got it. And although we lose Matt to the injured list, we’re able to get an excellent fill in at the hands of Patreon donor Eddie Quintana who joined us to discuss his first show. First shows are interesting, what do you want and what do you expect out of them? Well, for one you want the hits. Check mark on that because the band didn’t just bust out the hits, nearly all of them were home runs. Secondly, it would be nice to see something that might be a little rare at your first show. In The Moonlight, Getaway, Love Boat Captain – those are all pretty nice gets. Top it off with a few covers like Imagine, Sonic Reducer and Baba O’Riley and you’ll be begging for the next tour to come around so you can get your next dose of all that awesomeness. The best thing to come out of this show happens to be an incredible story that happened to a fan named Bill Castrovince. Bill went on the Pearl Jam pages and requested the band to play Hard To Imagine that night. Anyone who knows the band knows that they only take requests when those requests are incredibly meaningful and this was precisely that. We’re proud to share Bill’s story of perseverance and inspiration on this episode and it’s a story that you won’t want to miss.