There are too many great moments to recount from the second night of Eddie Vedder’s two-date solo stand at The Pearl, which has our vote for best rock show of 2012 so far. These ones stick out in particular:
• An invigorating, full-throated and utterly charming opening set from The Swell Season’s Glen Hansard.
• Vedder walks onto The Pearl stage and, with his acoustic guitar, launches right into his band Pearl Jam’s 1993 hit, “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town.” From the very first verse, the sold-out crowd sings every word along with him.
• A light is shone in the crowd for Jason Baldwin, one of the West Memphis Three, who last year was released from an 18-year stay in jail after prosecutors took a second look at the evidence and reached an agreement for the trio’s much-clamored-for release. Baldwin grins from ear to ear and clutches his loved one. A genuinely touching moment.
• Vedder nails Cat Power’s heartbreaking “Good Woman” on the same stage where Cat Power also played the same song.
• Vedder ends a spectacularly epic and tangential rant by saying he would stick former FEMA director Michael Brown’s head in a bucket of dog shit and then apologize to the dog for defiling the beast’s “organic creation.”
• He delivers a blistering version of PJ’s “Porch” that earns him a sustained standing ovation.
• On one of many duets that night, Vedder and Hansard have a gorgeous go at The Swell Season’s Oscar-winning “Falling Slowly” (with Vedder filling in for Marketa Irglova).
• Vedder encourages the big rollers in the crowd to make a donation to a new cause he’s endorsing. One man walks right up to the stage and delivers a hundred-dollar bill. Then a woman in the front announces that she’ll donate $5,000 if Vedder will play Pearl Jam’s monster hit “Black.” After admitting he doesn’t know how to play it, and a handful of songs later, he and his keyboardist Boom Gaspar manage to play the PJ hit and inspire the loudest singalong of the night. He’ll never forget this night, Vedder says later. Neither will we.
The original version of this review can be found here.