Seattle's plaid rock sextet Pearl Jam closed its Home Shows at Safeco Field friday night, blazing another multi-faceted performance and thrilling fans from around the globe. Our Ten Club seat neighbors were from Spokane, Shoshone Bay, Vancouver BC, Santiago Chile, and London UK. Show was a sell out at 50,000, Noah's Ark style with patrons limited to two "phone only" tickets. Add another 50,000 for Wednesday's show, and this makes the #HomeShows Seattle's largest concert event since The Rolling Stones' 1981 shows at the Kingdome (Michelobs for everyone!) Indeed, Eddie Vedder is the American Mick Jagger (without the mid-show costume changes): smooth, lithe and alive.
Pearl Jam's Vitalogy Foundation is funneling proceeds of the show in a noble attempt to end the intractable problem of homelessness. But can homelessness be "solved"? "Housing first" sounds fine until you have new college graduates with sub-zero net worths and entry level tech jobs asking for their free houses: "Hey Siri, where's my free house?"
So, will Pearl Jam's good deeds fix anything? Or will the donated money be wasted on someone who wasted their own opportunity to get wasted without wasting your family's getting wasted money? Some wasted people work hard to earn their getting wasted money and want to protect it behind their fortified abodes.
Santa Ana tried moving homeless into hotels, with the government paying the hotel bills. But the government paying $300 per month EXTRA for each pet accompanying a homeless person makes no sense when that $300 could buy school lunches or books for the library. Seattle's parks department is overwhelmed with rough sleepers chopping down trees and clearing land for their illegal encampments. But maybe the $11,500,000+ earned for the cause by Pearl Jam will make a difference -- or at least buy 11 starter homes in Ballard for the rubbydub masses who've plopped into that district, but without an address or plumbing, turning that desirable neighborhood upside down.
Maybe more than $11,500,000 could have been raised if some of the $50 t-shirt or $60 parking money went to the cause.
Sociology aside, Friday's show was masterful. Pearl Jam remains Boom Gaspar, flyin' hawaiian on the keys.
San Diego native Matt Cameron pounding it out on a drum kit more simple than that used by Jon Fishman.
Big Sandy, Montana native Jeff Ament slapping on bass.
Capitol Hill native Stone Gossard on rhythm guitar.
Laurelhurst native Mike McCready on lead guitar.
Chicago native Eddie Vedder is the speaking spokesperson for the band, leading the choir and assisting on guitar.
Oceans: "Glide me toward you..." Slow, bass driven, steady. Jeff is the song MVP.
Footsteps: "If there was a reason, the reason was you..." Slow and lyrical. Mike is the song MVP for his pure tone.
Nothingman: "Caught a bolt of lightning..." Blusey and soulful. Mr. Vedder is the song MVP for his phrasing.
Why Go: "She's been diagnosed..." Some expected this as the opener. Mike is scorching on the strat, but Jeff is the song MVP for his pacing. Mr. Vedder leads the first of many sing alongs "hey hey hey hey.."
Brain of J: "The whole world will be different soon..." Yielding, buzzcocky. Mr. Vedder is the song MVP for his ability to quickly recite memorized lyrics. Punk foreshadowing for what is to come.
Interstellar Overdrive: Floydian instrumental. Mike is the song MVP.
Corduroy: "I don't wanna take what you can give, I would rather starve than eat your bread..." Ronald Reagan suggested homeless people choose their lifestyle. Others say no one chooses to become homeless, they choose to stay homeless. Matt is the song MVP, shaking the stadium. Mr. Vedder leads the sing along "yah yah yah yah..."
Stage banter: Mr. Vedder thanks his family and friends, invoking the first amendment and the right of peaceful assembly.
Rats: "They don't scurry when something bigger comes their way..." Dedicated to old Seattleites, thousands of whom are in attendance. Mr. Vedder is the song MVP for his raspiness.
In Hiding: "They were upside down..." Soulful, lyrical, Beatlesesque. Stone is the song MVP.
Whipping: "Don't need a raincoat, I'm already wet..." Punky, frazzy, Seattle sound. Mr. Vedder is the song MVP for his multi-tasking.
Stage banter: Mr. Vedder makes some predictions, including that Mike will be the MVP of the next song because he plays better when he's "pissed off." Mr. Vedder explains that the venerable Showbox theater is planned to be demolished to supply more housing to the Seattle market.
Even Flow: "Thoughts arrive like butterflies..." Indeed they do - depositing lingering earworms among the thousands. Mr. Vedder is strong on the Sandlerian yabba dabba do gibberish and leading the "Save the Showbox" chant, but Mike is the song MVP, as predicted.
Missing: "Here come the signs of early warning misery..." Soundgardeny. Jeff is the song MVP for his strong groovy plucking.
Daughter: "Breakfast table in an otherwise empty room..." 50,000 moving and singing in unison. "Daughter" is Pearl Jam's most understandable single word throughout its broad repertoire. Stone is the song MVP for his rhythm.
Immortality: "A truant finds home..." Prettiest girl in Section 143 gets her call. Phish-like outro. Mr. Vedder is strong with the which-way-is-up strumming, but Matt is the MVP.
Stage banter: Mr. Vedder tells a story about his first appearance in Rolling Stone and how his "cool Asian dude" shopkeeper friend thought it was a fishing magazine. Then he shows Stone Gossard's picture on the cover of the current Rolling Stone.
I'm Open: "So this is what's it's like to be an adult..." No codian. Mike is the song MVP.
Unthought Known: "Fill the air up with love..." Ungrungy. Lucky man in Section 143 gets his call. Mr. Vedder is strong on his rhythmic strumming, but Boom is the song MVP for his tinkling.
Can't Deny Me: "Got nothing, got nothing but the will to survive..." Fun new song. Matt is the song MVP.
Do the Evolution: "It's evolution, baby..." Hallelujahish. Vince Vaughn gets his call. Stone is the song MVP.
Lukin: "Open the fridge. Now I know what life is worth..." Fast scat. Mr. Vedder is the song MVP for matching his singing with his playing.
Porch: "Hold my hand, walk beside me..." Pearl Jam's Character Zero. Screens Wizard of Oz from black and white to color. Mr. Vedder goes into the audience, touching peoples' hands, Jesus-style. Jeff is the song MVP.
I Won't Back Down: "Hey baby, there is no easy way out..." Mr. Vedder remembers seeing Tom Petty at Safeco Field and dedicates this solo performance to his memory.
Thin Air: "She reached my heart in thin air..." Orange tinged, Kinks like. Stone is the song MVP.
All Or None: "This hopeless situation is what I'm trying to achieve..." Mr. Vedder is the song MVP for channeling his inner Chicago blues artist.
Better Man: "It's 4 o'clock, it's got to stop..." Everyone sings the intro. Matt keeps the song from running away with his English beat, but Mr. Vedder is the song MVP for his strumming lead and Townshendian windmilling.
Crown of Thorns: "You ever hear the story of Mr. Faded glory..." Prettiest girl in Section 143 gets her second call. Beautiful with more shout outs to local educators. Mr. Vedder is the song MVP for his sincere intensity.
Kick Out The Jams: "Yes I'm starting to sweat, my shirt's all wet..." Kim Thayil of Soundgarden joins the jam kicking. Matt is the MVP for pounding it out while Mr. Vedder traverses the stage.
Spin the Black Circle: "A paper sleeve, oh my joy..." Dedicated to Sub Pop Records. Jeff is the heavy MVP.
Rearview Mirror: "Saw things so much clearer, once you were in my rearview mirror..." Aborted by Mr. Vedder after conferring with Jeff. Slide into Abba's Fernando before re-stating. Strong set closer, Rearview Mirror is Pearl Jam's Cavern. Mike ends the song playing on the ground, but Jeff is the song MVP for his smiling.
Stage banter: Mr. Vedder introduces the band by their home neighborhoods, and also his butler Simon.
Crazy Mary: "Take a bottle down, pass it around..." Soulful. Stone is a strong strummer, but Boom is the song MVP for his Hammond hammering.
Jeremy: "Lemon yellow sun..." 50,000 singing along to another educator shout out. Jeff is the song MVP for his lead guitar on bass.
Leash: "Cut the leash, cut the leash..." Discordant, mudhonian. Mr. Vedder is the song MVP for his yelling.
Search and Destroy: "Looking for something to destroy..." More Seattle punk vets join the lights up melee of yelling.
Sonic Reducer: "Sonic reducer, ain't no loser..." More lights up melee, ending the group grope.
Alive: "Son, she said, have I got a little story for you..." Even better than the Israeli school children version. Mr. Vedder is the song MVP for engaging the 50,000 in the stadium and the 50,000 in the surrounding neighborhood.
Baba O'Riley: "Out here in the fields, I fought for my meals..." Everyone knows the teenage wasteland lyric. People in the quiet suite sections are finally standing up.
Yellow Ledbetter: "I don't know whether I'm the boxer or the bag..." Lights up closer ending at the stroke of midnight. Mr. Vedder thanks the community and reminds everyone of the cause.
See you in Missoula for Pearl Jam!