September 22nd, 2012
Midtown Music Festival: Piedmont Park
Setlist. . .
Why Go/Save You/Animal/Elderly Woman/Corduroy/Got Some/Amongst the Waves/Wishlist/Better Man/ Do the Evolution/Even Flow/Know Your Rights/Nothingman/Supersonic/Jeremy/Porch
First Encore. . .
Crazy Mary/Given to Fly/The Fixer/Rearviewmirror
Second Encore. . .
Unthought Known/Black/Alive/Rockin' in the Free World
Atlanta was an after-thought for us. It wasn't like, "Oh man! We gotta get to that Atlanta show!" It was more of like, "We are going to Pensacola and Atlanta is the night after, why would we not go?" With that said, we weren't expecting much of this show.
We got quite a late start heading out of Pensacola since we went out to eat with Rob after the Pensacola show. We didn't get back to our hotel until 2am (3am Eastern). We slept in and then got started on our journey. We got to Atlanta about 4 o'clock. The poster had been up in the interwebs and I really liked it but knew that a) we needed another poster like we needed another hole in our heads and b) there would be no way that we would get a poster with our delayed entry to the festival.
We met up with Mike's cousin, Robyn, who lives in Atlanta. While she's not a fan, she was up for an adventure and said she would join us. Here's the problem: she didn't have a ticket and tickets sold out at 4:20 (right?) We took the Metra...and had about a .8 miles to walk to Piedmont Park. Almost as soon as we got off the Metra stop, there were scalpers looking for tickets - but no scalpers selling any tickets. This was not a good sign...
It was kind of pure chaos on the streets. SO many people. Sabra hummus was passing out Sun Chips and hummus so we grabbed some - perfect to eat in the show! As we were right outside the entrance to the park, Mike said for the 800th time, "Need 1 ticket!" and these two girls hear him and come over and they said they had a ticket. We asked how much and the girl goes, "$150?" And Robyn said, "How about $100?" Girl was like, "Ok. Asking $150 was worth a shot - I didn't think I would get it." Haha. She then pulls the ticket out and tells us she spilled coffee on it, but would walk with us to the gate to make sure Robyn got in ok. She did...but here's the thing. You could've made out like a bandit that day. Let's say, you just wanted to see Ludacris. You could've went to see Ludacris, scanned your ticket out to leave, and then sold it above face value on the street. I don't think too many people caught onto that...
We enter the park and oh my gosh. So many people. WAY too many people. Stopped by the merch booth and I'm not even kidding --- they had one Pearl Jam t-shirt and the hoodie left. Way to plan. Way to plan.
Neon Trees were finishing up their set when we made our way to the main stage area which did have small hill. Which would've been perfect to park at - only it was already insanely crowded. We looked out at the area in front of the main stage and we missed DeLuna immediately. We walked through a gazillion people who were getting amped up to see Florence and the Machine...and we actually found some "rail" space next the soundboard. It was quite obstructed, but we decided this would be a good spot to adopt. This way we wouldn't have to deal with being packed in like a sardine...and it was a less desirable place to be since it was obstructed. It also was in front of the beer tent and lord knows you didn't want to be on the other side of the beer tent.
Vagina power for Florence in the Machine...oh my. All these women that rock out to Florence in their car...belting out her music at the top of their lungs. Florence asked for people to "lift up" their loved ones (meaning, put them on their shoulders) --- apparently Florence has never attended a festival and doesn't know how annoying and rude that is for everyone else. Whatever.
After Florence, a lot of people (and by people, I mean chicks), left. We were still able to secure our places well - and we starting talking to our fellow soundboard rail neighbors. They weren't as fun as the brother and sister from DeLuna, but they were still decent people - and Pearl Jam fans.
The amount of people, in general, at this festival was ridiculous. Trying to get anywhere was impossible. We didn't check out anything at all because it was so crowded. Worse than Lollapalooza, Jazz Fest and DeLuna if they were all combined into one.
So the moment we were all waiting for finally arrived --- was surprised to hear the beginning of Why Go. Mostly because they played it the night before and I guess I just wasn't anticipating it as an opener. We knew Save You was soundchecked the day before but not played, so it was nice that they played it.
Too bad Ed didn't know ANY of the words.
A very rocking Animal lead us into Elderly Woman...which I enjoy on any given night but I gotta say, I love it even more at these festivals because everyone is so into it. That's when I realized, the best part of these festivals ARE the greatest hits because this is really where the crowds liven it up because they aren't necessarily huge Pearl Jam fans and if PJ was coming to town on their own, they likely wouldn't go to the show. I don't know --- I just had an epiphany that I love the "greatest hits" at these type of shows.
Corduroy came next and there were quite a few people that got into it (probably charged up from hearing Elderly Woman. Got Some followed and it sounded better, I thought, than the night before. I feel like it sounded weak in Pensacola, maybe the saltwater was absorbing it's power.
Much to my surprise, Amongst the Waves came next! I was like...ok, I dig this show. Thank you Pearl Jam The Band (or Ed, whatever). So now if I don't hear it in Missoula, I won't cry...
Four crowd favorites came next (Wishlist, Better Man, Do the Evolution and Even Flow.) And then Ed started talking about voting and needing a state picture ID in order to do so. The crowd was so ridiculous, I heard lots of, "Shut up and play some music" to "Ok he's doing his political rants, let's go." Only the punters never left...so that kind of sucked. The worst part about it is that Ed went, "This is a..." and Mike and I simultaneously say, "Fuuuuuuuuuuck!" I really really despise Know Your Rights...you can't really rock out to it and its just...bad. Oh well, that was the worst of it and the good news is, we probably won't have to hear it for another four years (might have to hear in Missoula but I can deal).
A really solid Nothingman came next with the crowd really getting into it and singing along. Supersonic came next and Ed couldn't get those lyrics at 100% either (sigh).
Closing out the set came Jeremy and Porch. You could just see Stone going NUTS during Jeremy and you knew this was going through his head, "Yes! A hit! I love playing the hits! Woo wee!!!!" I also went back to my thoughts about "greatest hits" and realized that when they play shows like this - it's a completely different band. These songs were our gateway into this band - so why we hatin'? This is what the world thinks of when they hear "Pearl Jam" - Jeremy...Alive...Better Man. Jeremy is almost a foreign concept to me at this stage because it's one of the last songs I personally think of when it comes to this band. I have forgotten the Jeremy video...that's not who this band is to me and it almost sounds weird to me at times. Anyway...
Crazy Mary opened the first encore (eh, it was bound to happen sooner or later) but the awesome part is it didn't drag on for as long as usual since they were limited on time. Given to Fly, The Fixer and Rearviewmirror finished out the first encore. And by this time most people we exiting, so there was more and more breathing room around everyone which was nice.
Second encore began with Unthought Known and went into Black which was surprising since they played it the night before. It was a good solid version but the Pensacola version was especially nice.
Alive likely would've been the final song due to the time constraints...Ed went over to Stone to try to get them to play RITFW and you could see Stone visibly trying to plug in as fast as he can because of the late fines. You know that the conversation went like this, "Meh. I'm not paying late fines, we ended with a hit Eddie. Screw you!" and then Ed grabs the microphone and exclaims he will pay the fine himself --- greedy Gossard. It was awesome though because it was the FASTEST version of Rocking in the Free World I've ever heard. It was soooooo funny! I couldn't help thinking about how much slower Neil Young plays it compared to the tempo they were playing then --- it was so funny, I loved it!
And that was it. Not disappointed. Not over the moon. But - completely satisfied. Even with the cluster of people, we lucked out with an awesome spot.
Then we had to leave the park. Oh my. The park was in a residential area - so there were thousands of people walking down the streets. It was a mass exodus...it was like we were part of some sort of march or were being exiled. Made it the Marta station where we were packed into cars. Made it to our exit and were hungry (well we didn't eat dinner, so that was to be expected). The Hard Rock Cafe was near the station and near our hotel, so we figured we would go do what all the cool people do -- hang out at the Hard Rock Cafe. It was nice, though, because they did put on some Pearl Jam/Ed Ved videos for us dorks.
All in all, good time in Atlanta. Excellent 3 day weekend. Sad that there's only Montana left to look forward to but so happy we still have Missoula to look forward to!
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