It’s a cool October evening when Pearl Jam makes their stop at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, MN. Eighteen thousand eager fans have been waiting eight years to see them again. Many consider that to be eleven years, as their last set with Tom Petty was shorter than usual, dwarfed by tonight’s standards.
The sold out crowd is treated to a thirty-two-song set, just over three hours worth of tracks throughout the years. The set begins with slower tunes, a characteristic different to that of past Twin Cities Pearl Jam shows. The opener is “Pendulum”, followed up with, “Release”, “Nothingman” and so forth. All eras are represented in this concert with songs such as “Go”, “Better Man”, “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town”, “Black”, “Daughter”, and much more.
Roughly seventy minutes into the set, the show is briefly interrupted for Eddie Vedder to introduce Dr. Jakub Tolar of the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital. The band had spent their Saturday their planning charity work, so they proceed to show the doctor the stage. “We toured your facilities, so you can tour ours,” Eddie tells Dr. Tolar, touring him around the stage and introducing him to the band. The audience is as delighted as the doctor at this display.
The set continues and the audience picks up as if they hadn’t missed a bit. The evening is filled with that kind of aggressive energy that powered the same band in the 1990s, with many of the same people there that had seen them decades prior. After eighteen songs, the two encores encompass nearly another whole half of a show, giving the fans fifteen more great tracks.
The encores vary greatly. They comprise of covers such as Wayne Cochran’s “Last Kiss”, Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World”, and “Imagine” by John Lennon, as well as “Black”, “Why Go”, and more. Through the last seven songs of the set, Eddie comes onstage dressed in a Minnesota Wild jersey, much to the excitement of the fans. The night ends with “Indifference”, a quieter and lamenting tune.
Throughout the show, it is obvious that Eddie Vedder has not changed a bit. He, and the remainder of the band, could play on for decades yet at the rate they are going. If anything is evidence of that, it is this evening’s show.