Wednesday 12 June 2019

On Stage: Eddie Vedder @ AFAS Live

Photo by Ferdy Damman

About two years ago Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder was doing a solo tour. I love Pearl Jam and I love Eddie, but prices for tickets were steep. Of course it sold out in no time, so I had to get tickets on Ticketswap when I decided I wanted to go after all, despite the high price. After the show I was really happy that I got to see him, since it was a wonderful show. This year Vedder was visiting again and prices were even higher (probably because of Dutch VAT changes), but this time I wasn't going to pass on them, since I knew it was going to be worth it.

Eddie Vedder at AFAS Live Amsterdam, June 9 2019

I didn't get the most expensive tickets, for the so called Blackbox, but slightly cheaper ones and we find ourselves sitting on the stands all the way at the back. These are not great seats, but I hope we can see it properly anyway. The setting is pretty much the same as last time and Glen Hansard is opening the night. I liked the Irish musician last time and again I'm impressed with his sincere songs and heartful performance. I really need to properly check out his music this time. It turns out the seats are really quite far off though and it is hard to see the singer's face clearly.

Photo by Ferdy Damman

Fortunately this time there's a big screen hanging at the back, and after Eddie Vedder himself has walked on the stage and played a few songs, the screen switches on and we can finally see him properly. Sometimes the screen shows some kind of monitor with the live images, or just some visuals supporting the music. But it's good to see the charismatic Vedder's expressions when he's playing. Like expected he's playing many covers, songs by Neil Young, Pink Floyd, and an emotional salute to Tom Petty. Many Pearl Jam songs get the acoustic treatment, big ones like 'Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town' and 'Porch', but also some more rare ones like 'Wishlist' and 'Lukin'.

The Dutch Red Limo String Quartet has been invited again after joining him on his last European tour and play a lot more songs this time. The arrangements are beautiful and the Quartet give the songs a completely different twist that is perfect for this night. When Vedder leaves the stage for the first time, the Quartet return by themselves and play a lovely version of 'Alive'. You know Vedder isn't finished of course, far from it. During the stunning version of 'Better Man', E-Street sax player Jake Clemons joins him, taking the song to new dimensions. Glen Hansard joins for a few songs, and since Vedder, Hansard and Clemons recorded some Springsteen songs in the past, it is a perfect moment to play a few live. 'Drive All Night' and 'Open All Night' are good choices and I'm sure The Boss would love them.

Vedder's biggest solo hit 'Hard Sun' closes the first encore and you know there's still one song missing. So yes, he returns for 'Rockin' in the Free World', a familiar closer of his solo and Pearl Jam shows. He invites all his guests on stage. Even the two lucky ladies from the audience, Glen Hansard did a song with during his support show, rock along with Vedder for this cheerful ending. You just got to love Vedder for the way he plays music, with or without Pearl Jam. Of course he also talks about politics for a short while and shares his view of the world. It is always brief and it never takes away the focus from the music that always comes first. For the rest he just shares short stories, like about the time in 1992 in Utrecht, when a young woman gave him a lift on the back of her bike to his hotel. Nick Cave told us a few weeks back during his 'Conversations With...' show, he always tries to stay authentic as an artist. I think Eddie Vedder has always stayed authentic too and his music and personality are very inspiring. Despite the high ticket prices it was totally worth again.

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01. Keep Me in Your Heart (Warren Zevon cover)
02. The Needle and the Damage Done (Neil Young cover)
03. I Am Mine (Pearl Jam song)
04. Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town (Pearl Jam song)
05. Indifference (Pearl Jam song)
06. Brain Damage (Pink Floyd cover)
07. Sometimes (Pearl Jam song)
08. Wishlist (Pearl Jam song)
09. Without You
10. Can't Keep (Pearl Jam song) (with Red Limo String Quartet)
11. Sleeping by Myself (with Red Limo String Quartet)
12. Guaranteed (with Red Limo String Quartet)
13. Far Behind
14. Rise
15. Wildflowers (Tom Petty cover)
16. Man of the Hour (Pearl Jam song)
17. Lukin (Pearl Jam song)
18. Porch (Pearl Jam song)
19. Alive (Pearl Jam song) (with Red Limo String Quartet only)
20. Just Breathe (Pearl Jam song) (with Red Limo String Quartet)
21. The End (Pearl Jam song) (with Red Limo String Quartet)
22. Better Man (Pearl Jam song) (with Jake Clemons)
23. Song of Good Hope (Glen Hansard cover) (with Glen Hansard)
24. Sleepless Nights (The Everly Brothers cover) (with Glen Hansard)
25. Society (Jerry Hannan cover)
26. Drive All Night (Bruce Springsteen cover) (with Jake Clemons)
27. Open All Night (Bruce Springsteen cover)
28. Hard Sun (Indio cover)
29. Rockin' in the Free World (Neil Young cover)

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