Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Drop The Leash!

The good news is that Pearl Jam sounds better than ever. The bad news is that unless you've got incredible seats (no small feat for such a popular act) you might not actually get to see them.

Ok, so before I begin my gripe (and dear reader, you'll soon find out that I am quite the griper), here's a quick review of Pearl Jam's July 10th concert held at The Fabulous Forum in Inglewood California.

Simply said, the kids are alright.

One of the things that always plays a huge role in any concert you attend is how the audience feels and reacts to the band. Are they hyped? Mellow? Indifferent? This holds especially true for LA audiences. Typically filled with "industry types," LA audiences can be quite dull and nonresponsive. They've seen it all and nothing surprises them. Now mind you, these are the same people who arrive at Dodger games in the third inning and leave in the seventh (to beat the traffic).

I saw Eddie and the gang play at the Greek Theater years ago and was kinda disappointed by the show. See, the audience just wasn't into it. Perhaps the People's Choice Awards were being held that week and they were more concerned with what to wear. It wasn't really the bands fault, it was ours. I'll tell you why. Pearl Jam released all of their shows from that tour on CD. I bought the show at the Greek and love it. They sound great through my headphones and almost erase my memories of some duder on a cell phone calling his buddies during "Hail, Hail."

"Yeah, bro we'll hook up this weekend!" he repeated like 40 times, each time louder than the last. No wonder the rest of the country hates us.

Anyway, back to the show at the Forum. (Don't worry, I didn't forget, the rant is coming.) The audience was into it from minute one. I've never been to an LA show that could even compare to one of those European audiences, those audiences go friggin nuts (soccer hooligan nuts) but this one came pretty close. The more our crowd got into it, the more Pearl Jam got into it. Just listen (It's the link at the bottom of the post) to the audience sing along to Better Man. Awesome. Exhilarating and inspiring. Communal? You bet.

Now the gripe. We all know that certain items are not allowed into shows. Outside food, bottled water, alcohol and drugs are just a few items typically not allowed into a show. (We sneak them in anyway, right?) But since 9/11, the yellow jackets have taken it upon themselves to search every nook and cranny for any contraband. It's as if the "Event Staff" had read a press release stating that Osama thought "No Code" was indeed an underrated album, but doesn't compare to their earlier stuff. Let's face it, it's getting harder to bring anything into a concert these days. You think Rerun from "What's Happenin" could still sneak that big-ass tape recorder into a Doobies show anymore? Nope. They'd clamp down on him pronto.

Now as I said earlier, Pearl Jam sounds great, but if you don't have awesome seats, you can't really see them. You're thinking, binoculars, right? Well guess what? BINOCULARS ARE NOT ALLOWED. I'm not kidding. I walked from the parking lot to the gate, and waited at least 10 minutes in line only to be told by a smirking security guard that I could not bring them in. Binoculars. No, not a digital camera with a telephoto lens. A pair of binoculars! I was shocked... and awed. To add to the amusement of the security guard's job, he unfolded a list given to everyone on duty that contained items that are not allowed into the show. Beach balls. Recording devices. You know the list. It was a page long, and at about three quarters down it read "No binoculars." And here's the most startling part of the whole thing. It read like this:


You read that right.

It was not the Forum that didn't want us to see Pearl Jam up close from the cheap seats, it was Pearl Jam themselves! Could somebody please explain to me why Eddie Vedder doesn't want me looking at Stone and Mike play off each other or Matt bang the skins to oblivion?

Look's like we can keep rocking in the free world, but just not too close, ok? I'm just sayin...

Here's the set list for the show:

Walking The Cow

Set 1:
World Wide Suicide, Brain Of J., Animal, Marker In The Sand, Severed Hand, Even Flow, MFC, I Got Id, Corduroy, Daughter/(It's Ok)/(I Believe In Miracles)/(Blitzkrieg Bop), Sad, Garden, Down, Go, Better Man/(Save it for Later), I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts, Porch

Encore 1:
Man Of The Hour, Off He Goes, Footsteps, Once, Alive

Encore 2:
Big Wave, Comatose, State Of Love And Trust, Leash, Rockin' In The Free World

For your consideration:
Better Man - Peal Jam 7/10/06 MP3

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