September 11th, 2011
Air Canada Centre
Setlist. . .
Long Road/Do the Evolution/Once/Got Some/Faithfull/Nothing As It Seems/Elderly Woman/Setting Forth/ Not For You/Given To Fly/Just Breathe/Off He Goes/Daughter/Grievance/Down/Unthought Known/The Fixer/Porch
First Encore. . .
Second Encore. . .
Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns/Alive/Rockin' in the Free World
These shows...I just don't know about these Toronto shows. Mike and I really debated about going to Canada to see shows. At first, we decided "no." Mostly because of how much fun buying PJ20 tickets was. I was actually happy I didn't have to deal with any ticket clusterfucks for the Canadian tour. Then the 10C offered a second onsale and literally the day after it happened I realized, "Gosh, that was stupid. We should be going." I tried for tickets at the public onsale and pulled only seats that would make any of us snobs vomit. So that was it. Too many signs pointing towards "no."
Then PJ20 happened and it really sunk in how stupid it was NOT to go to Toronto. 4 hours away and I can't get there? I'm still semi-haunted to this day about not hopping in the car with Dan and Lynn and going to Toronto in 2006 (my jaded year). It was going to take a miracle for Mike to get the time off, I thought I could swing it. And I did...and it worked out perfectly because Peter had an extra ticket and my sister was entirely geeked on joining me for the journey and hanging out in Toronto for two days.
At last minute, Rich's plans changed and he ended up coming to Detroit the Friday before the show and hanging out. This was going to be nice because then we could caravan like the good old days up to Canadialand. After picking up my sister (loading up her bike), we headed to Port Huron for the "quicker" route to Toronto.
I've done the drive to Toronto quite a few times - for Pearl Jam and also for work. I don't know what it was, but this drive went by so quick. I was amazed. It's not the most enjoyable ride...though the sites get pretty once you hit Hamilton - though once you hit Hamilton, you're practically in Toronto.
I decided to use some hotel points to get my sister and I a room in downtown Toronto. It was close enough that I could walk (a little bit of a hefty walk, but do-able if need be). We went there first, dropped off my stuff and car, and the sister, and then Rich and I headed to the venue.
It had been aproximately 10 years and 11 months since I had last stepped into the Air Canada Centre. My last time there was really strange - we arrived at the box office relatively late since we had driven straight from Montreal after the show and were a bit pooped and had to sleep in. When I got to the venue (omg via payphone) and discovered my dad's dad had died. So, combine being tired and a death in the family, it was just a weird place in my memory.
Rich and I got a clutch parking space across the street from the venue (thinking, really? is it this easy?) We walked across the street to the box office and I quickly remembered the corrider and observed there was not a payphone to be seen - my how times have changed. Rich picked up his tickets, discovering he had won the lottery. Rich's friend, Jay, met us there...I was starving and like Kirk, he travels with food and he hooked me up with the best plum I've ever had. I am salvating just thinking about that darn plum. I had to meet up with Peter to get his extra ticket - and what a nice ticket it was! Third row, Mike side (not Jeff side, definitely Mike side) - big, big thanks to Peter. Once we had tickets in hand, we set off to find some food. We were really starving at that point as Rich and I decided to not stop for lunch. We stopped at a place that was pretty ("too nice for us" I commented as we walked in. I had some pizza, wasn't the best pizza I've ever had, but certainly not the worst.
We finished eating, walked back to the car, got ready to go into the show. Got to our seats just in time for Mudhoney (Mudhoney may have JUST hit the stage, my memory is a bit muddled). I was so thrilled with my seat - it had been quite some time since I sat THAT close at a show. Kind of made me resentful of the fan club lottery since I would be two rows closer at every show without the 1st and 2nd row being random. I'm not complaining, but sometimes it is frustrating that my 1995 fan club number feels subpar. It isn't even fan club seats if I think about it - I mean in 2010 I went to a festival (Jazz Fest) and two Bridge Shows (guarantee not sitting close at those shows).
Anyway, seeing Mudhoney was cool - not even sure of the last time I saw them. With Pearl Jam, that's for sure, maybe 2002 at The Key?
I was so ready for this show. SO READY! It was fitting that they opened with Long Road because even though I was on "the road" a week ago, it seemed like a years had passed and it took a lot to get there.
The band was so ready to rock it - as evident by going into Do the Evolution 2 songs into the set. I remember thinking, "Yes! This is awesome already!" Once came next - I gotta say, I was still feeling the nostalgia of PJ20 so there was a special vibe I was getting from playing these songs off Ten - and I liked it.
Got Some was followed by Faithfull. Nothing As It Seems came next, which was quite interesting since over the weekend, Rich did discuss how he wanted to hear it and it reminded him of the 2000 tour. Sounded very good.
I was totally grinning from ear to ear when Elderly Woman began. I wish they'd play it every show just to piss off everyone.
Well it would piss off almost everyone. I wouldn't be pissed off.
Setting Forth, full band, was played next. Wonder if they will experiment with more Into the Wild songs in the future...?
I was extremely tickled when Ed tagged Modern Girl after Not For You. One of my favorites. (Am I sounding like Richard Christie yet?)
Given to Fly rocked it and then we slowed down some - Just Breathe (so great in the middle of the set!), Off He Goes and Daughter. Daughter was played with the It's OK tag. Don't get me wrong - I love it, I'll take what they give me, but I don't like the tightness of it. Dare I say I like sloppyness?
Something strange happened to me during Grievance - in 88 shows (88 mph!), I got my VERY first Mike McCready pick. That's right my friends - I somehow never managed to get one. I got a black "I." It was one of those instances that Mike threw out 6 million picks, my hand happened to be open and facing up, and the pick literally landed in my palm. It would be more miraculous if it were a Jeff pick - but oh wait, that pretty much has happened to me (haha see Chicago 06.29.98.)
Down prefaced a little bit of Backspacer - Unthought Known and The Fixer (which would have a little bit of a modified meaning to me in a few more days). Set closed out with Porch.
Prior to the show starting, Cameron Crowe was seated with his family in the section to the side of the stage. It also became obvious that one of the band member's dad was sitting there as well. I wrongly guessed it was Stone's dad - turned out to be Mike's.
First encore started out special - the "Man Triology" - Nothingman, Better Man and Leatherman. Finished out with Black and Rearviewmirror.
Little would any of us know that the first song of the second encore would be something special - the band was obviously feeling proud of their 20 year accomplishment, coming fresh off from the film festival premiere of Pearl Jam Twenty - Chloe Dancer led us in a totally incredible way into Crown of Thorns. It really was amazing and it sealed this show for me. I thought everything was awesome about this show up to this point, but it really solidified it for me.
Alive came next - which I felt an all-new appreciation for since PJ20 - nostalgic. Like it marked the "beginning" and a montage of 20 years (ahem, 21) plays in my head as it is played - even prior to seeing Pearl Jam Twenty.
Not shocking, but still very welcomed and very cool, Neil Young came out for a great rendition of Rockin' in the Free World. For a good portion of Rockin' in the Free World, Stone sat on the side and Jeff - wow, Jeff and Neil had such a vibe going. It was really cool to witness. And I was SO glad I decided to attend these shows.
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