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Review Mon Aug 24 2009

Live Review: Pearl Jam @ United Center 8/23/09

pearl_jam 504.jpg

Photos by Jim Kopeny


"We've got a lot of emotion to get through tonight." Eddie Vedder started off the evening with that statement at last night's Pearl Jam concert at the United Center before launching into "Corduroy." It's hard not to be filled with emotion with songs so passionate and enduring, and of course, Vedder's deep, fervent vocals. He took the stage in shorts, a move not a lot of rockstars could get away with and still look like a rockstar, but if anyone can pull it off, it's Eddie Vedder.

As if there was any question as to where Vedder calls home, after the group finished the song "Why Go" he said, "Why go home? I am home," which was answered by wild cheers from the audience. He then pointed out, as any Chicagoan knows, that if you're born in Chicago you'll always be from Chicago, and that if you ever live here, Chicago will always be in you. It's with moments like that that Pearl Jam makes an arena full of people feel like a group in an intimate venue. They even got the whole place to sing Happy Birthday to friend Mike Richter who couldn't make it to the show.

Vedder.jpgThey didn't play much new material from their forthcoming album, Backspacer, saying that they'd "probably fuck it up," But many of the standards were there, including a few covers. Paying tribute to their roots and in thanks to Mr. Pete Townshend, they covered two different The Who songs--"Love, Reign O'er Me" and "The Real Me." Always one to make a statement, Vedder also acknowledged Michael Jackson's death by telling how he loved Motown when young, but then suggested that we really lost him a long time ago and played Neil Young's "The Needle and the Damage Done."

After thanking the crowd for coming and humbly asking "We did okay?" they ended the show in true rockstar style, playing one more song as the house lights came up inside the United Center, Vedder even lighting up a smoke as they closed out the night with a Hendrix-style rendition of our National Anthem.

Extra tickets were released for tonight's show, but one word of advice if you're picking up tickets at will call, get there early because lines were crazy long last night, and I'm sure you don't want to be standing in the parking lot when one of your favorite bands takes the stage.

To see more photos from last night's show, check out the rest of Tankboy's set on Chicagoist.

 
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Jennifer / August 24, 2009 4:22 PM

I'll never understand why giant venues like this (or giant festivals for that matter) have will call. It's always a mess.

BEC / August 25, 2009 8:16 AM

FYI, the Mike Richter who couldn't make it to the show was Jeff Ament's best friend. He was killed in Milwaukee this summer. He also graces the poster for the 8/23/09 show. He's in his college basketball jersey (he played for the College of Great Falls Argos). It's his body on Michael Jordan's legs. His initials (in reverse) are blacked out on the poster (RJM). Dozens of friends attended the show. Very powerful.

RVM / August 25, 2009 12:12 PM

I was part of the Richter group. It was a great tribute by Jeff (and the entire band) to a great friend of his. Tons of emotion. Very moving stuff.

Mike / August 27, 2009 1:50 PM

It was so great to see PJ in top form again, back home. It feels like it's been a long time coming. I went on Monday night and got much more than I expected - almost three hours long! Glad to hear them rock the old stuff and the new songs are sounding great live already.
Anyway, if you're interested, I posted a review of Monday's Pearl Jam concert with video.

Jay / September 30, 2009 10:57 AM

Was Mike Richter from the long ago band "Kid Wicked"?

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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