Pearl Jam sell out South Carolina shows, plays Vs. in full at Greenville
In a surprise move at the latest show on their sold-out tour, this time at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, SC, Pearl Jam for the first time played the entire Vs. album live from beginning to end. Opening with “Corduroy” from their third album, 1994’s Vitalogy, the next song up (“Go”) brought little particular fanfare, but after “Animal” and with the first notes of “Daughter,” people knew.
Playing without an opener on any show this tour, the band delivered a searing 33-song 3 hour and 4 minute set to the sold-out arena. As is typical for a Pearl Jam show, lead singer Eddie Vedder spent a considerable amount of time (more than most bands) talking to the audience, dedicating songs to specific fans, and singling out kids in attendance upon whom he showered many tambourines. Bringing a thunderous cheer from the crowd was an exchange with the audience asking if they knew the first band to ever play in the venue, back when it was known as Bi-Lo Center: “You are right, Janet Jackson [was the first act]. Or Miss Jackson if I’m nasty. So no disrespect to Miss Jackson but WE were the first band.”
“I stand in front of Matt Cameron all night so I can’t hear a goddamn thing … I can’t hear a fucking’ thing. And neither will you after tonight.” –Vedder
In another ironic and sad moment of nostalgia, Vedder mentioned that April 16 was the 25th anniversary of the release of Temple of the Dog’s first and only self-titled album. TotG was a musical tribute to former Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood who died of a heroin overdose in 1990; the band consisted of Soundgarden lead Chris Cornell, plus the five others who were developing the new project that would become Pearl Jam: Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament, both of whom had also been in MLB, plus Mike McCready, Matt Cameron (also Soundgarden’s drummer), and a 26-year-old surfer from San Diego named Eddie Vedder on backup vocals.
Vs. was released on Epic in 1993 and set a five-year record for most albums sold in the first week – an honor it held until 1998’s Double Live by Garth Brooks – but the accounting for album sales had changed by that time to the “first week sales” being calculated as seven days and not five as had been done at the time Vs. came out. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, where it remained for five weeks, and has since sold more than 6 million copies in the US. Six charting singles came from it as well, plus three Grammy nominations (“Daughter” for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal; “Go” for Best Hard Rock Performance; and the album itself for Best Rock Album).
UPDATE 4/30: Another surprise at Philadelphia’s second-night show on 4/29: band plays 1991 multiplatinum debut album Ten in full. -Ed.
Greenville photo gallery below.
On April 21 and playing again to a sold out Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, Pearl Jam once again tore the roof off with another 3+ hour set. Hopes were high that they’d play another album in full, but it was not to be. Still, a setlist of 31 songs, including never-before-played “Rise” off the Into the Wild soundtrack (a Vedder solo performance) and Mother Love Bone’s “Chloe Dancer / Crown of Thorns” didn’t disappoint. Between songs, Vedder spoke to the audience about how they were all affected by Prince’s passing, and how his mother had pawned her wedding ring in order to buy him his first guitar, which he paid back by working at a drugstore; the clip-on tie he was made to wear was alluded to in a line in the 18th song of the night, “Sleight of Hand.”
Columbia photo gallery below.
lost on a road he knew by heart. it was like a book he read in his sleep, endlessly … sometimes he hid in his radio, watching others pull into their homes while he was drifting … on a line, of his own, off the line, on the side, by the by, as dirt turned to sand, as if moved by sleight of hand when he reached the shore of his clip-on world –Pearl Jam, “Sleight of Hand”
Drawing an equal number of cheers and disgruntled boos from the crowd was Vedder’s statement on why they had cancelled the show scheduled for Raleigh due to the conviction that they could not play in North Carolina after the passage of HB2, “the bathroom bill.”
“And Raleigh, we didn’t get to play there. And that was tough, that was really tough. And if you’re bummed out at us for having to make that decision and choose it, that was a thing we had to do. All we can tell you is it wasn’t taken lightly. … You’ve got a similar thing happening here … it could happen to you, it could happen to me, and we need to protect each other.”
The most sobering moment was Vedder’s words following the shocking announcement of Prince’s death that morning. He described the admiration they had all held for him, saying he was “probably the greatest guitar player we ever saw”:
“The shocking news of the day was losing an incredible musician. All of us on this stage can tell you. That guy loved music so damn much. He never stopped playing, never stopped writing, never stopped recording, never stopped creating. He was dripping with songs. They’d go into the shower after he took a shower and there’d be three songs laying there. And of course, I’m talking about Prince. All of us up here were incredibly fortunate to see him a number of times over the years. Some of us got to meet him a bit. He was an intense cat. If there was anyone I thought would still be playing when he was 80, 85, it would be him. So today was a real shock.”
The band closed out the show with a half minute from “Purple Rain” woven into McCready’s guitar solo on “Yellow Ledbetter,” followed by a bow and a wave goodbye to the house. Pearl Jam plays Lexington, KY, next on 4/26. See full tour info at http://pearljam.com/tour.
Photos and article for 10 Wire Up. © 2016 Maryelle St. Clare, all rights reserved.
A chance front-row ticket to see The Pogues in 2008 led me to curiously wonder who the photographer was in the aisle, who obviously had permission to be there with her pro camera. Those few minutes of seeing this person doing a job I hadn’t really noticed before opened a picture window for me and I immediately knew, “I want to do THAT.” And that was the start. When I’m not shooting bands, I’m probably still seeing them. Rail, baby, rail. It’s an addiction. See my photography, design, and retouching at maryelle-stclare.com.