Wednesday, October 3, 2012

No. 610 – Brain of J

Performer: Pearl Jam
Songwriters: Mike McCready, Eddie Vedder
Original Release: Yield
Year: 1998
Definitive Version: None

For a while, it seemed as though seeing Pearl Jam was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Almost as soon as they were done with the tour I saw them on in March 1994, they went to war with Ticketbastard.

Of course, I supported Pearl Jam in their noble cause—too bad few other artists did. But from a practical standpoint, it made seeing them a real chore. When they toured in 1995 and 1996 at only non-TB venues, they came to only a single nearby location—and those tickets disappeared immediately. Ticketbastard owned everything.

Finally, in 1998, Pearl Jam relented a bit and began to play more-regular venues, one of which was Eagle Creek amphitheater in the suburbs of Indianapolis. That was close enough for me.

Scott took care of the tickets, but he had to max out at four, and because they were his tickets, he called the shots: It would be him and Shani, John and me. Debbie, unfortunately, couldn’t go, but she was OK with that. I’d just make a windsprint overnight trip.

I can’t remember whether I drove to Cincinnati and went up with Scott and Shani or just met up with everyone in Indy, although I think it was the former. That’s not really important. What’s important is we all met up somewhere and drove to the concert together.

Scott got lawn “seats,” which was a misnomer because ain’t no one going to be sitting at a Pearl Jam concert—particularly when it’s the first one of their’s most folks will have seen in at least four years, if ever. Unfortunately, we ended up next to a bunch of drunk D-bags who wanted to start a mosh pit on the lawn.

Scott wasn’t having any of it, and whenever one would come tottering through us, Scott would grab him and chuck him down the hill as hard as he could to send him careening down through a bunch of other people. I’m surprised we didn’t get into a fracas, but I guess all’s fair in the pit.

By the way, I knew the moshing phenomenon was over the first time I saw a light-beer commercial at about this time that used moshing as a motif to sell their swill. I can’t remember whether it was Bud or Miller, but does it really matter?

Iggy Pop was the warmup act, which was cool in that it was a chance to see a real underground legend of rock. It also was sad in that the audience—made up mostly of Indiana frat D bags, it seemed—had zero interest in this legend. It was all Eddie, Eddie, Eddie. Iggy rocked it hard but knew it wasn’t happening and began to curse the audience intermittently. Can’t say I blame him. (Later, on the same tour, of course, he took a stage dive somewhere and broke a few ribs—end of the road for Iggy.)

It was a good, not great show—not nearly as good as 1994. Pearl Jam definitely was more refined than they had been, and I suppose that was to be expected. They did do a few songs that I love at that show that I’ve never seen them do since, such as Immortality and this one.

But the interesting thing is what happened after the show, and at that, I’ll leave you hanging on the cliff.

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