As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. 

TODAY

Wednesday, December 13

Gapers Block
Search

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


Transmission
« Pitchfork Music Festival 2013: Saturday Conversations at Pitchfork Festival: White Lung »

Concert Mon Jul 22 2013

Pearl Jam Rocks Wrigley Despite Rain Delay

PJMarquee.jpg

The wind was blowing out on a hot and humid Friday afternoon at the corner of Clark and Addison, which always is a perfect recipe for a lot of hits. With the Cubs in Colorado, playing the Rockies, the hits came from grunge-era rockers Pearl Jam, who made their debut in the Friendly Confines.

The iconic band, which has played together for the past 20-plus years, has seen it all, playing in legendary venues from The Offramp in Seattle to Soldier Field. It only was a matter of time before they rocked it out in front of the ivy.

Though hailing from Seattle, front man Eddie Vedder was born and raised in Evanston, and grew up rooting on the northsiders back when "Mr. Cub," Ron Santo and Billy Williams were gracing the covers of programs. So needless to say, the anticipation of hearing classic 90s hits such as "Alive," "Even Flow," and "Spin The Black Circle;" Mr. Vedder's homecoming; a beautiful sunset in a gem of a ballpark made for a perfect storm in what was to be a night to remember. That's right when the wind began to shift from the west and cloud cover began to set in.

The show kicked off a little before 8:30pm with the familiar tear-jerking ballad "Release," off of the band's debut album Ten. As each song began, more and more clouds began to form overhead, which appeared to turn darker in color with flashes of lightning in the distance.

PearlJamRain.jpg.jpgThe band played on, ripping through slower jams which included "Nothingman," "Low Light," and "Come Back." After the band finished its seventh song of the early evening, the catchy sing-along "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town," Mr. Vedder did his best Tom Skilling impression and announced the band and crew were going to pack it up and head for cover for a little while, due to the impending storm, but promised they'd be back to finish out the evening.

And just like that, those who waited in line earlier in the afternoon to make their way to the front of the stage, were now being asked to head to the tunnels in order to avoid injury from a storm that promised to pack a punch. No one seemed to mind, however, especially with memories of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse in 2011, due to a storm ripping through the Midwest.

With the crowd heading for cover on the infield, the crowds tucked away under the grandstands made its way to beer lines and bathrooms, all in a friendly, casual manner. Where something of this magnitude might not have gone so graciously 20 years ago with single, early 20-somethings, when grunge rock swept the world with angry lyrics and cynicism, a more patient and understanding 40-something crowd made friends and exchanged pictures on smart phones, comparing Pearl Jam baby onsies and stories of their respective concert-going experiences in days past.

It's funny how time manages to heal all wounds and calm the soul from youthful aggression. There once was a time when Mr. Vedder himself would scowl at a flashing camera or appear short in conversation with a cheering crowd at a show, in an attempt to be private, perhaps in fear of losing some sort of innocence that comes with being an artist. Then, somewhere along the way, perhaps after fathering his first child, he appeared more playful at shows and more approachable to the public.

Nevertheless, Mr. Vedder, and the band in general, have remained just as popular as ever — perhaps even more so — and managed to keep every single patron inside the halls of Wrigley and wait out the two-and-one-half hour delay.

PearlJamCrowdGone.jpgAs Friday slowly drifted into Saturday morning, the clouds cleared, the temperature dropped, if only a few degrees, and the crowds began to make their way back onto the field for the remainder of the show. The crew peeled away tarps over equipment and tested strobe lights and spot lights, as well as the two giant jumbotrons on either side of the stage.

The questions remaining were how much longer the band would play and what would they start with after the long delay. It would have been easy to send the crowd into a frenzy with such heavy jolts as "Spin The Black Circle," or "Evolution," but Mr. Vedder strolled out with his acoustic guitar, thanked everyone for their patience, promised the rain-soaked crowd the curfew had been extended and introduced his buddy, Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub himself, to help him along with his love song to his favorite team, "Someday We'll Go All The Way."

From there, the band cranked through a set list of heavier tunes that included "All Night," "State of Love and Trust," and "Rearviewmirror." The band also jumped into three brand new songs, which will appear on its upcoming album, Lightning Bolt, available on October 15. The first was the the band's current single, "Mind Your Manners," a high-tempo track with aggressive guitar rips from Mike McCready. The next was the album title track "Lightning Bolt," and the third, a beautiful ballad, "Future Days," which opens with longtime producer Brendan O'Brien on the piano and started right after the encore break.

In between, the crowd was treated to what now has become Pearl Jam staples, or even clich├ęs, such as McCready playing the guitar behind his head; the heart-stopping finish to "Rearviewmirror;" the band closing with Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World." And while all of these predictable moves are always satisfying and nailed with perfection, it was refreshing to see something rare, like Vedder strolling out with an accordion to play the very paranoid-sounding "Bugs," or the old Mother Love Bone track "Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns."

As the night wound down/morning drew near, the band kept everyone engaged and awake. On this night, there weren't any complaints from Wrigleyville rooftop owners about any jumbotrons or noise ordinance orders from within the town charter. There wasn't any bickering between Alderman Tom Tunney, the city council and Beth Murphy, owner of Murphy's Bleachers and spokesperson for the Wrigleyville Rooftops. There only was good music, a double-header of a show and a more matured crowd, cheering on its band they grew up with lo these many years.

 
GB store
GB store

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.

Read this feature »

Blogroll

  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
BackStage
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
ChicagoMusic.org
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
CHIRP
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
Daytrotter
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Do312
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
Gridface
The Hood Internet
Innerview
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pitchfork
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Songs:Illinois
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock

  Venues:

Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
B.L.U.E.S
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Constellation
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
FitzGerald's
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Martyrs'
Mayne Stage
Metro
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Rosa's
Schubas
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Smartbar
Subterranean
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Township
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Atavistic
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Hozac
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

GB store

Events

Featured Series














 

Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.


About Transmission

Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks, sarah@gapersblock.com
Transmission staff inbox: transmission@gapersblock.com

Archives

 

Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15