Wednesday, 31 May 2017

On Stage: Eddie Vedder @ AFAS Live

Photo by Ben Houdijk


Last Saturday Eddie Vedder started the European leg of his solo tour. It should have been a cheerful event for the Pearl Jam front man, but instead it got very emotional for him. The day before, his close friend Chris Cornell was laid to rest and I'm sure he would have been at the funeral if that would have been possible. Instead he's mourning this loss far away from home and judging from the live reviews it was obvious the singer was grieving. I was wondering how the second night would turn out.

Eddie Vedder at AFAS Live Amsterdam, May 29 2017



Tickets for this tour are really expensive and I passed on them at first. Fortunately I was able to get them a lot cheaper on Ticketswap and was still able to see one of my musical heroes. Vedder is one of my favourite singers and with Chris Cornell gone, another one of my musical heroes, it's good to see him again. We make it early into the venue and find our seat halfway the hall and all the way at the right. Glen Hansard has just started his support show and is doing a wonderful job, Apparently he has throat problems and even went to the hospital today. It doesn't seem to affect his power much and his songs don't miss their impact. We're more than ready for Vedder now.



He opens the night with one of Into The Wild's fine songs 'Tuolumne'. It's a good start of a night that will turn out to be great. Vedder's voice sounds powerful, clear and full of emotion as we're used of him. The intimate and modest stage setup turns the large venue into a camp fire performance where the singer is only playing for a few people.

Photo by Ben Houdijk


The setlist is well chosen with songs that are very suitable for acoustic versions. Of course his Ukulele Songs and the ones from Into The Wild don't need much work for that. Pearl Jam songs like 'Unthought Known' and 'Just Breath' are simply perfect for acoustic arrangements. The nice thing about any Pearl Jam concert is that every night you're treated to a unique set list and Vedder's solo shows are no different. It allows him to make some deep cuts into his vast and still growing catalog, where we can hear 'Man Of The Hour' and 'Thumbing My Way'.



Of course some covers make their way onto the setlist as well like Daniel Johnston's 'Walking The Cow'. The stage crew, dressed in white lab coats reminded a friend of doctors coming for an insane person, according to the singer, where he adds it would probably be him after. He follows the funny anecdote appropriately with part of Pink Floyd's 'Brain Damage'. After about one and a half hour Vedder leaves the stage for a short while before he continues with another Pink Floyd song 'Comfortably Numb' that he messes up with a loud "fuck". It happens a few times more tonight but it doesn't matter. Eddie Vedder is only a mortal like all of us of course, although some may see him as a god.



It is also typical for today's show that seems to be less emotional and more relaxed, where Vedder is reacting to people's shouting and is cracking a few jokes. Glen Hansard and Red Limo String Quartet join Vedder on stage for a few songs, including one of Hansard's own 'Song Of Good Hope'. All of them return for the final encore, a cheerful version of 'Hard Sun'. I'm really glad I got to see Eddie Vedder play after all and hope he will stay with us for many years to come so we can enjoy him with Pearl Jam, as a solo artist and as a musical hero.

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Setlist:
01. Tuolumne
02. Walking the Cow (Daniel Johnston cover)
03. Thumbing My Way (Pearl Jam song)
04. Brain Damage (Pink Floyd cover)
05. Wishlist (Pearl Jam song)
06. Can't Keep (Pearl Jam song)
07. Soon Forget (Pearl Jam song)
08. Light Today
09. Driftin' (Pearl Jam song)
10. Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town (Pearl Jam song)
11. Setting Forth
12. Far Behind
13. Guaranteed
14. Rise
15. Man of the Hour (Pearl Jam song)
16. Unthought Known (Pearl Jam song)
17. Parting Ways (Pearl Jam song)
18. Off He Goes (Pearl Jam song)
19. Last Kiss (Wayne Cochran cover)
20. Porch (Pearl Jam song)
Encore:
21. Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd cover)
22. Heroes (David Bowie cover) (with Red Limo String Quartet)
23. Just Breathe (Pearl Jam song) (with Red Limo String Quartet)
24. Come Back (Pearl Jam song) (with Red Limo String Quartet)
25. Sleepless Nights (The Everly Brothers cover) (with Glen Hansard and Red Limo String Quartet)
26. Society (Jerry Hannan cover) (with Glen Hansard)
27. Song of Good Hope (Glen Hansard cover) (with Glen Hansard)
28. Arc (Pearl Jam song)
Encore 2:
29. Hard Sun (Indio cover) (with Glen Hansard and Red Limo String Quartet)


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