Hello everyone! My dear friend Carolyn is here today with October’s Guest Blog. You may remember Carolyn from some previous guest blogs and the fact that she has her own tag. She’s written a beautiful piece that really grasps the excitement of live shows of a band you absolutely Love. I’ll leave it to her
Hello Hannah’s Blog! How are you guys doing? Me? Oh, I am doing pretty well. Life keeps on rolling.
Today I have been listening to Pearl Jam’s New Album Lightening Bolt, I haven’t made up my mind 100% about how I feel about it yet but at least it is better than their last album Backspacer. Anyway, I thought that it would be fun to tell the loyal readers of this blog the story of my first ever Pearl Jam show.
My brother John was/still is a member of Pearl Jam’s 10 Club and one of the perks is that you get to take part in the pre-sale for tickets. You only get two tickets, but you get the best seats. Back in 2005 during my second year of University John asked me if I wanted the second ticket from his 10 Club purchase and I said yes. I had been a Pearl Jam fan since Grade 11 and was excited at the prospect of finally getting the chance to them live.
I remember having such a great time the day of the concert. Before the show John and I got dinner with John’s best friend and my “Other Brother” Kyle. We all talked excitedly about what song Pearl Jam would open with and John and Kyle told me about the other PJ shows they had attended and what I could expect that night.
Once we got in line to get into the ACC I remember John laughing and saying “I wondering if Bono will show up tonight”. This might not makes sense but three days before the Pearl Jam show John, Kyle and I went to see U2 and they weren’t playing another show for a few days so we thought maybe U2 had hung around Toronto to see Pearl Jam. It was fun to theorize about if Bono would come out and if he did what song he would sing with Pearl Jam. By the time we were in our seats we had pretty much decided that we shouldn’t get our hopes up.
First up was a band called Sleater-Kinney. I didn’t know anything about Sleater-Kinney before I found out they were opening for Pearl Jam and I had bought their latest album The Woods to introduce myself to them. Once their set was done I looked at John and we both starting to talk about Sleater-Kinney and how amazing they were. To this day Sleater-Kinney is one of my favourite bands and that was the only time that I ever got to see them live because they broke up not long after that tour.
This was when the anticipation set in. I could hardly sit still I was so excited, and finally the lights went out and the crowd went wild. The opening riff to Release began to play through the arena and I freaked out in the only way that you can at concert, by jumping out my seat and screaming. I sang all the words to every song they played that night, and the set list was awesome, every song I could have wanted Pearl Jam to play was played including a few covers.
My favourite memory from the show happened during the second last song. The lights came up as Pearl Jam started to play Neil Young’s Keep on Rocking in the Free World and suddenly the crowd exploded. There. Was. Bono. John yelled and grabbed onto my arms as I jumped up and down. In the end I was somehow in John’s seat and he was in mine. I couldn’t believe that it actually happened. We had decided that it wasn’t going to and then there he was, Bono, in the flesh. It was so cool and one of best moments from any concerts that I have ever been to.
Pearl Jam ended the show with the usual Yellow Ledbetter and I remember closing my eyes and feeling like this was a moment that I would never forget for the rest of my life. I was so happy to be there at that moment and I was to glad that I was able to share that moment with my brother. Even now when I listen to the bootlegged copy of that song I get excited and can’t help but smile.
Well folks, that is all for me this time. I hope that you enjoyed my story. There is nothing like live music! Until next time, in the words of Uncle Neil, Keep on Rocking in the Free World.
Here is the Pearl Jam Bono Keep on Rocking in the Free World live version that I saw. Listen for the crowd during the second verse, this is when Bono came out on stage.