So here it was, the main event! The reason for the trip to Boston! You may recall that seeing Pearl Jam was a dream of mine in the concerts I most wanted to see list I kept in my head and that we got to see them in April and it was super incredible, and that Paul surprised us by getting tickets to see them in Boston. We were so excited! And boy did it live up to the hype in our heads. First of all, this was a big deal concert-it seemed like the whole city was excited about it. All weekend long-in the shuttle, the hotel, on the T, sightseeing-we’d see other people wearing PJ hats and shirts, and there was a general feeling of goodwill and “hey we’re all here to see this great band and we’re having a good time.” Saturday afternoon we all went over to Fenway Park to buy some merch and check it out, and that was lots of fun.
I believe we spent more on merch than on our tickets, but that’s ok. There was specialty merch for this show that was very cool and Fenway Park tied in. Paul had won tickets in the Ten Club lottery for a viewing party on Saturday night of Friday night’s show. We dithered about whether or not we really wanted to go-would it spoil Sunday’s actual show? Would it be weird? But ultimately decided to go because of the tiny chance we’d convinced ourselves of them and actually showing up to say hi. I’m glad we went because it was really fun. And though it wasn’t exactly like being at the actual concert, the sound was great, the fan experience was there, and if you think about footage they show on big screens at concerts, you could pretend that it was live. Plus, they played a couple of songs I was thrilled by, including an unusual Beatles cover. And since I love the Beatles and am never going to time travel to see a show by them, this was the next best thing. Anyway, it was fun, and like a good appetizer to rile us up even more for Sunday night. So, the main event. We got to the stadium around 6:45, knowing they weren’t going to go on until 7:30. It was fun to soak in the ambience of the stadium, which was really cool looking and felt so vintage and stylish.
We ate a Fenway Frank, took pictures, and the like.
The set up was that stage was in the way outfield. And the stage was huge. When we saw them in Philly we were behind the stage, so the whole thing was open. But in this case there was a backdrop and huge towers and presumably a huge sound system. I was worried the sound would all float away in the open like that, but it sounded incredible. Also, I have to assume that you could have just stood in the street the whole time and heard the show for free. There was some kind of flooring laid down and rows upon rows of chairs set up in the field.
We were in the stands to the far left of the stage. Lousy seats, but hey, we were there. The actual baseball diamond infield was off limits to everyone and looked so small compared to everything else.
Then the show started and it was awesome. Unlike our Philly show, which had a loud rocking start, they started this show fairly mellow (as we had seen the Friday show was.) That was ok (if a little odd feeling to me), because it sort of matched the fact that it was still light out. But things moved on, got loud, and it was awesome. We had expected a lot of this show-maybe some special songs? extra long? (they can’t due to noise curfew) and it did not disappoint.
We had seen some special guests on Friday and there were this time, too, though I couldn’t be too excited about the Red Sox player because I didn’t know who it was. But there were definitely fun baseball touches-the player gave Eddie a jersey to wear, Eddie played ball the crowd, etc. It was a long show, which just felt great. And special for us? Well, after the Philly show when we debriefed about which songs we would have liked to hear but they didn’t and made a list, guess what? They played the other songs I wanted to hear, and many off of Paul’s list. There were a few songs I was thrilled to hear again-Mind Your Manners, Wishlist, Lightning Bolt, Corduroy, Rearview Mirror. And the songs I was crazy excited to hear this time-In Hiding and Betterman. I was also psyched to hear Nothingman, Do the Evolution (which I don’t like on the album, but learned in Philly is amazing live) and Sirens (I was disappointed they didn’t play this last time.) And then, to finish–Pearl Jam ends their concerts amazingly well. The lights were up, they were rocking so hard, it just turns into a great scene. They have often ended with Rockin in the Free World, though they did not in Philly. But this time Paul turned to me and said, “I think they’re going to do it” and just like that, they did. So, a Neil Young song (which Neil did not play when we saw him) for me, and as a treat for Paul? They brought out J. Mascic, guitarist for Dinosaur Jr, who Paul really likes (and saw a few weeks ago.) Huge surprise! And oh, it was awesome!! And then they didn’t even stop there! They truly finished out with Yellow Ledbetter, which turned into Mike McCready playing a crazy Star Spangled Banner that made me feel like I was listening to Jimi Hendrix. Oh, the whole experience was phenomenal. I can’t wait to get the download of the show to hear it all over again.
For full set list and album distribution and Paul’s detailed take on the music, check out his post.
And not only that, even though thousands of fans were in the streets walking to the T and crowding the station, we managed to get right on to the first train and when we got to the stop for our hotel the shuttle was right there waiting for us. Good luck all around.
Thank you, Pearl Jam and Boston for an amazing experience and show that I will never ever forget!