Pearl Jam delivered the right dose of rock to their die-hard Melbourne fans
Nov 21, 2009. By Jane Metlikovec.
Nostalgia was in the air as die-hard Pearl Jam fans pushed forward for their fix of rock legendry at Etihad Stadium last night in Melbourne.
“Were you there when they played Sidney Myer, God, about 15 years ago now, when the crowd smashed down the fences and stampeded in? Never seen a riot like it.” My friend said as we patiently sweated away in the pit watching Ben Harper pack up his guitar. Er, no, I think I was about 12 then, but I certainly do recall much jumping around to "rearviewmirror" at many a debaucherous teen party. Further details are unprintable.
Every 80s and 90s child has a Pearl Jam tale to tell and more than 40,000 packed into Etihad for Eddie Vedder’s storytime. With little fanfare, they swagged on stage and with a “1,2,3, 1,2,3” Vedder rolled straight into "Elderly Woman Behind A Counter In A Small Town."
The crowd echoed Vedder’s every graveled lyric to the 90s classic, warming up to what would become a two-and-a-half hour sing-a-long. No pretence, just pure rock was on the musical menu and Pearl Jam began serving up their monstrous catalogue of hits with a side of the new Backspacer.
There was "Given To Fly," "Even Flow," "Animal," "Daughter," "Jeremy," "Do The Evolution," "Glorified G," "Present Tense." Then came the new material, "Supersonic," "Got Some," and the standout "Amongst The Waves," which does more than hold its own against the classics.
In fact, this year’s Backspacer is up there with, and quite possibly better than, any other Pearl Jam album (yes, including Ten) with its rocking riffs and searching lyrics packaged into a seamless album which has unsurprisingly sent Pearl Jam back to their rightful place on high rotation in lounge rooms the world over.
That’s a big call for Backspacer, but as much as the crowd were there for the old stuff, they were more than happy to make it, and jumped like nothing else for new single "The Fixer." Vedder was the consummate host, chatting often to the audience between tunes and offering shout-outs to his Melbourne buddies, including “Mark Richo Richardson.” “Whoops,” Vedder later laughed taking a swig from his bottle of red wine and apologising to Matt.
He called out to support act Liam Finn for the Hunters and Collectors anthem "Throw Your Arms Around Me," a huge mark of respect for Aussie fans. The fact that a band of such stature would even bother taking the time to learn a local tune just to please the crowd sums Pearl Jam up.
There’s zero tolerance for self-indulgence or complacency, and a noticeable strive toward constant growth and giving their best. In a world of lip-synchers, dancing strawberries and crazy frogs, it’s an absolute honour.