In all the years I’ve been doing this blog this is the first time I haven’t written about a birthday right when it happened. When last I checked in we’d just finished a fun week of spring break including Easter. And here we are now with all of April to catch up on. April is one of my favorite months simply because it includes my birthday. Paul always jokes that my birthday ends up lasting at least a week, and I guess that’s a little true. There was my real birthday, which, since it was a work day, we celebrated by going out to eat at a casual place that is always too crowded on weekends. We had amazing cake at home. And trampolining//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
And wonderful presents! This year most of my gifts were games, and we had a great time playing a new one called Dixit and another one called Pick a Pig, and a nostalgic-to-me, Rummikub (my best friend and I used to play it a lot at sleepovers). Also, one we haven’t even tried yet. We’ve had a big influx of new games in the household lately, which I love, though I wish we played them more often. Another night we had a special dinner at my mom’s house and my aunt joined us, which was lovely. //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsAnd finally, there was the dinner out with my girlfriends, which is always marvelous. All in all, a great celebration!
April 28 was a huge day and much circled on the calendar. First, it was Take Your Child to Work Day. When Clark was in kindergarten he got to go with Paul because Paul was at a public library. Since then there really hasn’t been an opportunity for either of our kids to participate in this, but now that I’m working and at a place that is ok with people participating, Tabby got to come with me. (Since I am a school librarian at Clark’s school he already comes to work with me every day.) She had a great time, especially since it gave her a nice preview of where she’ll be going to school in a couple of years. Crazily, the same day I also had two big work things going on-my first formal observation and a presentation I gave to teachers. Both went great! But all of that was just filling time until the big reason for all the excitement… Pearl Jam.
You may recall me mentioning in the past that there were 3 bands I wanted to see before I (or they) die-Neil Young, The Decemberists, and Pearl Jam. Last April we saw the Decemberists, and have now twice seen Neil Young. When PJ announced a new tour and tickets going on sale in January, we were wildly excited and made plans to get tickets no matter what the cost. After a very tense process we managed to procure two seats for the 28th. No choice of seats-you get what you get. And we got seats described as “obstructed view, behind the stage.” That did not sound promising, but I didn’t care because we’d be there and hearing the music live and that’s what counted.
So we got to Wells Fargo Center, parked no problem, and stood on a long line just to get inside. We found our way to our seats and guess what? They were great! Behind the stage, yes, but there was nothing obstructing the view-the stage was fully open. And we were really really close! And could see the band when they walked off the stage. I’m just going to paste here now the lengthy email I sent my friends the following morning:
….There were the big screens so if the cameras were showing the guys faces and you wanted to see that you could look there. Eddie was really mindful of his fans behind him and to the sides, though, and often turned around. And then (the guy in our row tipped us off this would happen) near the end of the show they uncovered a small drum set facing us, and they completely turned around and played a whole song just facing us–Elderly Lady Behind A Counter, amazing. Unexpectedly it was also really cool to have the same view as the band-we could clearly see at least half of the people on the floor, and really clearly see all the front row folks and thus any of Eddies’ interactions with them (sharing his bottle of wine, standing amongst them, etc.)
Second, the music. You know how before a show you make a mental list of what songs you most hope to hear? and then you think about realistically which ones they might play? they played almost every song on my mental list. And they were INCREDIBLE. They sounded fantastic and the set list was just beyond. They exploded out with Once as their opener. And then I think the third song was one I really wanted to hear (and was pretty confident they would play) called Mind Your Manners, and it was so hard rocking that I just went berserk. Then a couple songs later they played Wishlist, which was my #1 hope and I didn’t think they’d play and it was so overhwelming that I basically kept crying. For real. I felt like I was in the song. They played for about 3 hours, maybe a little more. They took a couple little breaks and, much like Neil Young, sometimes you’d think, wow that must be the end and then they’d take a song and jam for 10 minutes with it. Which they did with the last song I was holding out hope they’d play, Rearview Mirror, and it was just amazing. So, the music was phenomenal. they played a bunch of stuff from 10.
Third, the feeling. They were playing at the arena in Philly (wells fargo center, formerly the Spectrum) so that’s a big venue, but it felt like they were playing in a club. Interacting with the audience,and you could tell that 25 years in it they still love playing together. Eddie seems like not just an amazing musician, but also a pretty nice guy–acknowledging people who were holding up things, saying “Happy Birthday” and pointing at a kid with his dad holding up a sign that said “13th birthday” right in the middle of a song, doing a special thing for a make a wish type kid that they put up on the screen and he sang a song for (who didn’t have a tear in their eye when they saw that kid and his mom?); tossing out tambourines to the crowd; and the last few songs the lights were up so you could really see everyone and it felt like a giant party.
Fourth, a bit more on #3, with regard to the wedding. Wedding? Yes, after the first break Eddie came out and said he’d just found out that a couple had come to the show and gotten married during it. He looked around for their suite and it was right above us way up high, in a box. the camera viewed it on the screen. You could tell the people in there didn’t know they were going to be acknowledged. the bridge and groom came to the edge and Eddie said nice things to them and that he was going to play a romantic song just for them. Then he sat on a stool and played acoustic a Tom Waits song that was beautiful. Eddie Vedder sang their wedding song. I mean, really. The bridge and groom cried and were beside themselves. It was fantastic.
Odds n’ ends: we were talking the other day about who still smokes? Pearl Jam fans, that’s who. SO SMOKY outside the arena. I haven’t seen that many people smoking since I don’t know when.
Saw an elderly lady (white hair) wearing a sleeveless Social Distortion/Pearl Jam concert t with autographs, and her old lady bare arms were fully covered in tattoos.
When we got to our seat we made friends with a guy who admired my Neil Young concert shirt and talked to him. He is seeing PJ 4x on this tour and had already seen them twice. Then the next people who showed up were a guy who was bringing his son with him, and it was his son’s first concert. They were adorable and both wearing t-shirts that said “It doesn’t get Eddie Vedder than this”. The crowd was, overall, really great.
To sum up: it was the best concert of my life and all I could have hoped for and more.
And here’s Paul’s report on it: https://ijustreadaboutthat.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/pearl-jam-wells-fargo-center-philadelphia-pa-april-28-2016/
What else has gone on in April? Well, nothing with regard to the garden. We’d better figure out our plan pretty fast. We are trying very hard to grow grass in all the bare patches in our yard, so at least we’re working on that. Everything is looking very lush and green and beautiful as the leaves are almost fully open on the maple, and the Japanese maple is fully opened.
It’s broody hen time and we’ve got the usual shenanigans of taking over nests. The one nest (with too many eggs in it) has been sat on steadily for 2 weeks, so we’re looking forward to hatching day next Friday.
It was a wonderful April!