In what is getting to be a welcome addition to their already stellar live shows, Pearl Jam once again brought a full-album performance to the stage at their first gig of a two-night stint at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.
The band opened with a quick intro of three songs from other albums before unobtrusively heading in to Binaural with “Breakerfall,” followed by “Insignificance”; and with the first notes of “Evacuation” it was clear at least to the hardcore fans what was happening. After having performed two other full albums on this tour (Vs. in Greenville, SC, and Ten in Philadelphia), rumors and wishes for more of the same had been flying so the diehards were on the lookout for a repeat of the same. Pearl Jam have on previous tours performed No Code, Yield, and Pearl Jam(aka Avocado), and played Ten (before Greenville) full through at a Munich show in March 1992.
Other highlights of this first night in Toronto were a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” and the encore finale of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” with Prince’s guitarist Donna Grantis positively smoking on guitar.
Binaural, released on Epic in May 2000, was the band’s first studio release to not hit number one on Billboard despite favorable reviews, and was ironically kept from the top spot by the antithesis for everything they represent, Britney Spears’ Oops! … I Did It Again..
Pearl Jam play a second night in Toronto on May 12. There may still be tickets due to the original date having been rescheduled because of the Toronto Raptors playoff game being held at the same venue. After that they will be off for a month until their headliner slot at Bonnaroo. See http://pearljam.com for info and ticket links.