JUNE 26, 1998
EAST TROY, WISCONSIN
Do the Evolution, Animal, Last Exit, Brain of J, Given to Fly, In Hiding, Corduroy, Wishlist, Lukin, Even Flow, Daughter, Dissident, MFC, Better Man, Red Mosquito, Black
Hail, Hail, Mankind, I Got Shit/Cinnamon Girl, Rearviewmirror, Alive
I already wrote about the first night at Alpine in my travel journal, but I think if I re-write it, the whole thing will make much more sense...now that I am past this weekend and I can recollect my thoughts and be a bit more organized. Plus many things have popped into my head since then...
Let me begin by saying the main thing that even drew me to Alpine Valley out in East Troy, Wisconsin was the video of Pearl Jam's Lollapalooza performance at Alpine Valley back in 1992. It was one of my very first videos and to this day, it still amazes me. Awesome performance. Totally. I also wanted to experience a Pearl Jam concert outdoors. I guess I can say I experienced a Pearl Jam concert outside:-)
We (my mother, Jeremy, and Aaron) drove to Alpine Valley pretty early, of course, I can not remember what time it was. I am thinking 2:00 central time. The venue is seriously in the middle of nowhere. Parking lots surrounded the amphitheater...if you can even call them parking lots...mix of gravel, grass, dirt, and glass...not concrete:-) Tons of people were already there...playing catch, frisbee, BBQ-ing...just a big old tailgate party. Alpine Valley people were smart enough to stick lots of port-o-johns in the parking lot. They're icky, but better than peeing on a bush or tree!!!
The weather was piping hot. In the mid-90s I think. I grabbed some iced up water and we went on our way...and I took the video camera. I really was not in the mood for videotaping, so we just walked and went and bought merchandise.
I had made plans to meet a couple of folks, but I just knew I was not going to be able to find them. 40,000 people is quite the buttload. I decided to keep my, "Hello, my name is Jess" name tag on---just in case:-)
About an hour after we arrived, or it seemed like an hour after we arrived, we heard the sound check. So we stayed put and listened to the sound check for awhile. I just remember "Leatherman"...so great to hear! When the sound check ended, I decided I wanted to go wait in like the mile long line, even though I had a pavilion seat. Waiting in line were some obnoxious drunks behind us. It was so kickass though because some guys from the venue came and asked to see their IDs. Two were underage, so they ticketed them.
The venue claimed 'the band' was not going to allow "blankets, backpacks, and water bottle tops". Whatever. I'm sure the band was concerned with those things. Totally. So after they went up and down the lines telling people the 'band's request', they opened the gates. I believe this was 6:00. Everyone entered and darted over the huge hill. I began to run, but then I stopped, "What the hell am I doing? I have reserved seating!" So I walked:-) I went down towards the pavilion, deathly afraid of rolling down the hill...it was SUCH a steep incline. I survived. Like every five steps, security asked to see your ticket. Eventually I became really good friends with these folks;-)
I found my seat...12th row baybee:-)...center...almost head on with Ed. SO smack dab in the center. Two seats over, a couple was sitting. I talked to them for awhile, turns out they went to Summerfest in 1995...the second night. I was thrilled! 07.09.95 is one of my favorite concerts. So we discussed that show and the band for a bit. Then I told them about Ed climbing the rafter thingy-do at the first Alpine Valley show back in 1992. I told them I was sorry for being a dork, but I was SO excited! They were saved shortly though, because the water I had drank forced me to pee. So I climbed the hill...this was like an hour previous to Frank Black's set. Saw my mom on the hill, asked her for some of my cashola (so I could get something to drink). I went to the bathroom and bought some stickers (since they didn't sell those outside of the venue). Then I went to go buy some water since I was all out. $2.50 a bottle. Same damn water that was sitting in our car. Grrrr. I didn't want to die of dehydration so I bought the overpriced water.
Went back down to my seat. Found Merrick Lipp. Talked to him for a bit, he was really cool. Then I had to leave again to empty my bladder. Should've been a mountain climber. That hill was a bitch! So I go back down to the pavilion, and the ticket people were like, "Oh no, here's that weirdo girl again." Hehe.
Frank Black came on promptly at 7:30. The entire band was pretty good. I could tolerate them. he guitarist had some great pants on...I want 'em! During Frank Black's last song, I made my last trip to the bathroom. Cursed myself out and decided that was the LAST time I climb up the hill. As I went back down to my seat, I heard my name called...I was very confused. So I find the girl who's calling my name. Turns out to be this girl I know, Hillary. She spotted my nametag...isn't that cool? I'm so smart;-) I talked to Hillary for awhile, got her phone number so I could call her to meet up in Chicago and went on my way. Greeted my new friends, the ticket checkers who were almost on a first name basis with me by that time;-) Got back down to my seat. Waited.
Finally they played the opening tape, plus a little of "The Color Red"...and everyone sang for Jack:-) It was pretty cool. I felt bad Jack couldn't be there and silently wished him well.
I freaked out when they all came out on stage and broke out into "Do the Evolution." What an opener! It was so kickass! Everyone in the crowd was SO into it! Jumping up and down and screaming along. It was just amazing. Everyone sang pretty much throughout the entire concert, what a great experience:-) There were so many people...and it was SO damn hot! Ed was dripping with sweat and Jeff took his second shirt off after like the first song. Next song was "Animal". Great to hear. "Last Exit" was played...well sorta...Jeff's bass went out and he was forced to switch it mid-song. Because of this, the song was totally fucked up. They totally lost the song, but they laughed and didn't even attempt to restart. That fuck-up got like the most applause and cheering out of ANY SONG that night. It was so great! I did not write down the setlist because I wanted to enjoy the show and not worry about writing stuff down...so this is just stuff I remember...even though most of it is a blur.
They played "Rearview Mirror"...great, great, great! They also played a hella long version of "Black"...probably close to record long:-) It was so beautiful! Stone played "Mankind"...THRILLED to hear it! Another long version was "Alive"...which during Ed walked over to the video screen and flipped it off. When the screen showed Matt drumming, Ed waved his arms taking back the "fuck you" :-) "Yellow Ledbetter" was amazing too...the second song dedicated to Stevie Ray Vaughn that night...since Stevie's last show ever was played at Alpine Valley.
An overall observation...the band was just so entirely energetic! Ed danced hardcore to "Given to Fly"...Mike was flying...Jeff was jumping. It was so great to see them active again!
One of Ed's comments during the end of the show was something along the lines of "I doubt tomorrow night will top off tonight." I remember thinking, "We'll just have to see Ed..."
I attempted to take pictures that night...they didn't turn out well at all...these are the best of 'em...I was just too far
away...lighting messed 'em up too...so...anyway...
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