Unbelievably this was my first time seeing Pearl Jam. I don’t quite understand why I have managed to avoid them over the last twenty years but manage it I have.
Unfortunately I have no ticket as a memento as the pesky arena staff took them off us as we entered the standing area. Bastards. I love to keep all my tickets and am only missing a few. It is always frustrating when I don’t get to keep them…eBay can occasionally help but not many people put their ticket stubs up there. On one occasion I did successfully find and purchase a missing one. My delight when I found that was rather sad really…..but hey I am rather sad.
I have always found the M.E.N, to be an impressive venue. It is one of the largest indoor arenas in the world being able to hold up to 21,000 people. The place was jammed to capacity tonight which meant that the already stuffy atmosphere got stuffier. Now regular readers will be wondering whether my partner was with me. Yes she was; and as those regular readers will know she has a tendency to faint at concerts….especially when hot. Well I can say that she didn’t topple over on this occasion but the unbearable heat in the arena meant that a few fans at the front succumbed to the fainting disease. 21,000 crammed inside an arena in August didn’t make for a comfortable environment.
We had gone to the gig with a couple friends who in turn had brought a few of their friends (hangers on) with them. For some reason said hangers on decided that they would smoke all the way through the gig. Now obviously they were not supposed to do that as it is against the law in the UK to smoke indoors. Normally this wouldn’t bother me too much though but when added to the heat in the arena….well suffice to say the colour of Lorraine was a little green. We, not very subtly, moved away from the smokers when the lights dimmed and Gomez came on stage.
Gomez are a band that I didn’t know too much about before the gig but during their nine song set they won me over with great banter and fab tunes. This was a surprising and unexpectedly great start to the show. Support bands…yes or no? Do you give them your time or don’t bother with them at all? I certainly don’t give them my time which is silly as I have seen many a great one.
The main event tonight of course was seeing the mighty Pearl Jam. Along with Springsteen they are one of the few artists that have a continually changing set list. Let’s face it whatever Eddie Vedder sings will be good. His voice is one of the finest rock voices there is; in fact he possesses one of the finest voices of any kind. He has to be in the top five male singing voices of all time. There really aren’t many better.
Tonight the band play a set covering periods from across their career from debut album Ten including the classic Alive, Black and Even Flow (but no Jeremy) right up to the present day and the fabulous lead single The Fixer from new album Backspacer. Got Some, Given To Fly, Rearviewmirror are a great way to close the main set. A frankly ridiculously good encore of Go, Daughter, Do The Evolution and Alive is next followed by a second encore which includes the song Smile (which was played for a female fan who was attending her 70th Pearl Jam concert!) and then comes regular live cover of The Who song Real Me. Last song of the evening was a stunning Indifference and that was that.
A great gig from a band who have weathered many a storm over their twenty year career; they are a band who have kept their dignity and above all else have kept their principles. I was delighted to see them tonight and will see them again and again to try to catch up on the many missed gigs over the years.
Ticket: No ticket alas. Taken from me when entering the standing area.
Ticket Price: £53.00