Pearl Jam rocks the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival


Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready and singer Eddie Vedder on stage in New Orleans

I’m not too much on big festivals, especially when it’s that humid.  The idea of being in such a big, sweaty, nasty crowd, constantly getting elbowed while trying to slowly navigate your way around under the hot southern sun with the smell of beer and marijuana flowing through the air is something I don’t find too appealing.  But this was different, this was Pearl Jam.  I made my way to the New Orlean’s Jazz and Heritage festival on May 1, 2010.  I’d never seen Pearl Jam before and was so excited after buying my ticket from ticketmaster only a few weeks before.  It’d been a dream to see this band play for almost 10 years.  I’d first purchased the album “Ten” from a Wal-mart when I was on vacation in Hawaii about 10 years ago.  And from then on i’d been a big fan.

I arrived about an hour and a half early, so we had plenty of time to make our way to a decent spot in front of the stage.  Parking had been bad as festival organizers were charging 50 dollars for official festival parking.  Thanks to the great people of New Orleans who opened up their driveways and yards to the many visitors, we were able to find parking for 15 dollars.

The band came out and burst suddenly into a cover of the Byrd’s “So You Want to be a rock n’ roll star”.  This was a fantastic way to begin the show as the essence of rock n’ roll filled the air with Eddie groaning, “Don’t forget what you are, You’re a rock ‘n’ roll star”.

We can’t come closer, but we can play louder”, the longtime Pearl Jam frontman shouted to the people in the back.  Then band went on to play songs like the trashing “Lukin”, their classic from Vs, “Corduroy”.  It’s interesting because with Pearl Jam you never no what you’ll get, you’re always in for a surprise.  You see how the set list changes for show to show, so no Pearl Jam experience is quite the same as the last one or the next.

We can’t come closer, but we can play louder -Eddie Vedder

Even troops stationed in Afhganistan were in for a great show.  The concert was making history as the first to be directly telecast live via satellite to troops watching abroad.  Memories of the old Pearl Jam came to mind, they still played with the same passion and vibrance as they had during the early 90’s grunge era, if not more.  Gossard’s hair had grown back out and Eddie was content jumping around, taking a sip from a bottle of red wine occasionally.  Songs from the new album were played, like “unthought unknown”, “supersonic”, “the fixer”, “just breathe”.  Classic from ten like “alive” and “even flow were played as well.  Overall, it was a good mix of old, new, and all that existed between.  Minus anything off Binaural.

The band, known for it’s occasional political stances kind of kept itself quiet about things throughout the concert until Eddie blasted into the BP oil spill mess, criticizing BP for letting their regulations slide in recent years.  “BP, send your own sons and daughters to clean up your own mess” Eddie blasted into the microphone before the band played “Daughter”.  After the second encore was played Pearl Jam ended with a fast paced “Kick Out the Jams”.  The band said night and left the stage.  The crowd, very pleased, wanting more but Pearl Jam had left the building.  Overall, the crowd was pleased with a great experience and a great night to remember.

Set list:

Encore 1

Notes: Set list taken from PearlJam.com

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