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Monday, August 18, 2008

Eddie Vedder concert review 8-16-08 Warner Theatre (more like scattered musings)

Well I didn't take notes so these will be my scattershot impressions....the opener Liam Finn (son of one of the guys from crowded house) and playing accompanied by a female whose name I am embarassed to say I do not remember- well he was quite impressive....although his music was very unmelodic it was ultra creative... Liam used lots of effects where they'd play something and then loop it back .. so the two really sounded like a full blown band at times...He pounded the drums with particular gusto but played many different instruments...I seem to recall a Beatles cover but this was not the norm which was more on the order of bizzaro jams....The crowd at first was fairly disinterested - we were to learn why soon- but eventually got into it a bit more...Definetly Liam Finn struck me as an artist with a capital "A" and whom I would keep an eye on..
After about a 20 minute break which most spent trying to procure a beer from the pathetic shambolic Warner Theatre concessions Eddie Vedder came on.. he was by himself on the stage on what looked like some sort of carpet where some sort of semicircle was created by various guitars... his assistant would periodically come out- dressed in a lab coat- and bring him a new guitar.. he went through guitars (and their relatives such as someting that seemed like a ukelele) faster than a prisoner through cigarrettes..........The crowd immediately we realized would be a problem.. made up of diehard Eddie and Pearl Jam fans these clowns didn't realize that this was not a Pearl Jam concert at the Local 15,000 seat arena.... many felt compelled to yell out innane requests (songs he could not even play) and the mandator "we love you eddie" and "thanks eddie"'s..some people would even yell during songs! Eddie clearly became a bit discomfited and even went as far as stating at one point that this was all "affecting my professional output"... People did calm down a bit but not that much.. I know how it is guys.. you're seeing Eddie Vedder at this wonderful intimate 1800 seat theatre and you want to reach out to the guy..this is your chance! but this is not the way of doing it! Because Eddie was playing most of the songs on his own he really needed to focus on what he was playing and the hooting and hollerin just made him plain uncomfortable...
Eddie Vedder mentioned as he began his set that the show was being filmed and we saw numerous cameras running around even right behind our seats which were in front of an aisle....Of course, this being Washington DC and about 4 blocks from the White House, and this being Eddie Vedder, and this being an election year: well it was no surprise that Eddie Vedder talked quite a bit about politics.. he also had a mask of George W. Bush which he decked with a guitar in some sort of mock frustration when he went into the same verse of Masters of War for a second time by accident...The set list was largely made up of songs from the Into the Wild soundtrack, a few choice covers ("Blackbird", "you've got to hide your love away", "Masters of War"), a few Pearl Jam songs to satisfy a crowd hungry for these even though it was not a Pearl Jam show ("Porch", "Elderly woman...", "Wishlist", "Sometimes" (see video on this site), etc.) and a few other experiment songs including a wonderful closing number where he looped his voice and "taped" more vocals over the initial vocal loop until he had created an extremely powerful song which reminded me a bit of a "primal scream" type song..
In my opinion the show started a bit slow until Eddie settled down but once he settled into his groove the show really took off... The second half was particularly strong...One of his last songs was a wonderful song I had not hear called "No more war" which I understand is fairly new.. He also played a new song he had just written up in his hotel room in New York city a few nights before..Vedder rambled a bit here and there as anyone who knows him would expect and addressed people who feel that as an artist he should not make political statements by first stating "I don't give a fuck.." and then explaining that to quote George Orwell "..people that say an artist should not mix politics with art are in it of themselves making a political statement.." His introductory remarks to "Blackbird" offered him the opportunity to address the election and candidate Obama by saying that to him it seemed that electing Obama would mean everything because it would mean that in America race finally meant nothing in terms of looking at a candidate for president and that in it of itself WOULD mean everything...
The crowd knew the words to pretty much every Pearl Jam song he performed and there were some impressive instances of the crowd singing the choruses back to Eddie...1800 people singing along in a theatre with the acoustics of the Warner is pretty darn special..


Anonymous said...

I attended the Sunday show and being from a less, shall we say, lucky, part of the country; I do not get these types of opportunities. That said, here on the east coast in the nations capital I was appalled at the behavior of the crowd. This is an all to clear reminder of 'why we can't have nice things.' By the way the 'primal scream' was called "Arc" and it is from the "Riot Act" album. My last complaint is, the rule still is, you don't wear a t-shirt of the band your going to go see. No matter what! The venue would have been better off not to serve any drinks to cut down on the 'creative outbursts' from the crowd. As I left the theater the couple behind me was complaining about it being just a little too political. Sometimes I just wish that people had there head out of their &$*#. WTF mate, WTF.

PearlGem said...

I flew up from FL to be there (both nights) and am happily STILL floating....Despite the thieves of silence from the Saturday show, these two nights will remain with me forever!

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