September 30th, 2012
Adams Center @ The University of Montana
Setlist. . .
Elderly Woman/Corduroy/Do the Evolution/Got Some/Given to Fly/Amongst the Waves/Severed Hand/ Unthought Known/Not for You/State of Love and Trust/Jeremy/Ghost/Daughter/Know Your Rights/ Comatose/Why Go
First Encore. . .
Last Kiss/Off He Goes/Low Light/Man of the Hour/Nothingman/Better Man
Second Encore. . .
Wasted Reprise/Life Wasted/Fortunate Son/Alive/Kick Out the Jams/Rockin' in the Free World/Indifference
I was in Bentonville, traveling for work, when the email came out about the Missoula show. There wasn't even a debate - this was a show we needed to get to! I put in for the lottery for both the GA and reserved seating. I knew I needed to go - GA or not. It turns out I was way more ecstatic than I thought I would be of winning the reserved seating lottery over the GA lottery. I'm not that tough and crowds are not my thing. I like to pee before Pearl Jam's set and not feel sweaty bodies all over me (thank you very much). That's not to say if I won the GA lottery, I would've been bummed --- I was just glad I had reserved so I could enjoy the day with zero line stress.
We decided to fly into Spokane and drive the three hours for two reasons: 1, we could see more of that part of the country and 2, it was less frequent flier miles to fly into Spokane over Missoula. We flew out the Friday morning before the show and drove to Coeur d'Alene to spend the night. Using Urban Spoon, we found a great pizza place for dinner. It was a family owned/operated pizzeria - only a husband and wife ran it. The wife was in, the husband had gone to Spokane to pick up organic mushrooms since their delivery did not come in that week. As she made our pizza, we sat around and had some good conversations with her - turns out she was at Missoula 1995. Pretty cool stuff.
We took off Saturday morning for Missoula - unprepared for the gorgeous drive we encountered. I figured it would be scenic here and there, but had no idea how pretty it really was. I think between Mike and I, we said "beautiful" about 374 times. As we approached Missoula, though, the smoke built from the wildfires. Was really a bummer. Met up with Rich and his buddy Langdon not long after we arrived for lunch. Then we met up with Dan and Lynn for dinner. After that, we went back to the hotel where Langdon and Rich were up from their nap and were going to go wait in line. Mike and I crashed...but at about 1:30, Rich and Langdon came back to the room. There were "no camping" signs posted at the venue. They ended up catching more z's and then left at about 5am to go wait in line at the venue.
Mike and I woke up, ate breakfast, and then made our way down to the venue where we learned everyone that was in line was really chill and relaxed and, wow, cool. This became the theme of the day: no punter zone. There was a spread of food, coffee...you name it. There was one woman who worked for the venue and she was policing things really well and used a number system to maintain order when there was chaos. It was cool because we got to hang out with everyone...and leave when we wanted! Eventually Rob stopped by, and we went on a little excursion with him to what was supposed to be a record store but turned out to actually be a smorgasbord of anything you could possibly think of. They had a nice homage to Pearl Jam in the store - tons of pictures and promo materials.
We headed back to the venue and then went to go grab some lunch for ourselves and Rich and Langdon. Wound up with some decent pizza. We then went back to the hotel room to grab a few things...and by the time we headed back to the venue, it was 3 minutes to 3...so time for Ten Club line chaos! I went straight in line (why not? I needed to get my tickets, too). It seemed like it took forever and the line did not move, but all in all, it took about 30 minutes to get my tickets. They had announced that they were going to open the merch tent at 4:30, so I knew I probably needed ("needed") to go wait there next, so I sent Mike. They were kicking people away from the merch line, and then soundcheck started, so Mike went to go listen to soundcheck. I joined him after I got my tickets and then noticed the merch line was getting out of hand. Thankfully, soundcheck had ended, and I had nothing to do, so I went and waited in line. That was probably one of the more annoying things I have chosen to do. But I knew there was a "limited" Missoula show shirt available in four colors (white and blue for the dudes, yellow and pink for the chicks). I wanted a pink Pearl Jam shirt! The yellow was cool, too, but come on! There have been yellow shirts! Not pink! When they finally started selling merch, the line became a complete cluster...and it became even more torturous to stand in line. About an hour after merch went on sale, I finally got up there, and of course, I got my pink shirt - phew!
While waiting for merch, it became very clear that there were very few people from Montana at this shows. Poor volunteers trying to gain votes for Tester --- they just kept wandering around, trying to find Montana residents. One of them started to keep a list since there were so many people saying, "No, sorry, not from Montana, I'm from (insert any state/city that was not Montana here)"
Put our purchases in the car and kind of bummed around for a bit...eventually going in a few minutes after doors opened. The merch line was still going strong and moving slower than molasses (didn't help that they had one credit card machine that was running slower than a 56k modem). It also didn't help that a bunch of d-bags were phoning their "friends" on the "boards" to get their orders as well. Seriously? Who wants a shirt from a show they haven't gone to? SO STUPID!!! The greatest part is, when we got inside the venue, the merch line was just as bad, if not worse, than the one outside. I was glad I got my purchases made when I did. Pearl Jam fans are so dumb (including myself.)
When we got inside, it was exactly what we expected: AWESOME.
There was not a bad seat in the house.
My tickets were Mike/Jeffside 10 rows up in the second level, which really was, the only level. There were some seats that were rose on the floor, but very few and it appears those were not distributed to fan club. As to be expected, Dan and Lynn were a few seats over from us (Dan's number is close to mine, and when I say close, I mean Dan's is better).
Mudhoney was sooooo loud! So grateful to be like a old lady and wear my earplugs at shows. It was so loud it was like ear-bleeding-loud. They were good - but the crowd was light. Because everyone was buying merchy merch. Well, no one was buying - everyone was trying.
Earlier in the day, we had some light discussions with Rob about the show. The speculation that it would be Elderly Woman came up and of course, I discussed that the one song they would probably play that I did not want to hear was Know Your Rights. What a telling conversation that was.
Show started off with Elderly Woman...but the crowd was into it. It was SO refreshing! No one was sitting, everyone was singing. Everyone was happy. We were finally at the starting point of the show!!! We all traveled long ways and we were so ready for this show!
Corduroy followed Elderly Woman and this is when you really got to judge the crowd - everyone went wild! Do the Evolution started and it was so on --- by the time we got to Stone's "hallelujah" you could see how active crowd participation was. It was church and we were totally singing in the choir. Ed also re-tried his Do the Evolution "OooOh oh ooooH ooooh" chant at this show (he tried it in Pensacola but the crowd wasn't quite hip enough to get his style) this time, it worked and sounded pretty good.
Got Some led is into Ed discussing Jon Tester...and pointing out where he was sitting on the crowd (some law prohibited him from coming on stage). His seats, while the venue was small, were kind of embarrassing, considering the event was being held for him. That was the best they could do for the guy? Very strange. Given to Fly was dedicated to him.
Totally geeked that Amongst the Waves came next. Obviously Ed is really into that song lately and while it is kind of a lull to an indoor crowd, I totally embrace it. Play it every show and I will consider us fans super lucky.
A rocking Severed Hand came next. Like Amongst the Waves, Unthought Known has been and continues to be an Ed favorite. No break between Unthought Known and Not For You. It was around this time in the show that I really noticed how rad Stone's footwork was - he had some really cool moves going on. Which were accentuated by his skinny jeans and seemingly large feet. He's the greatest.
A little time travel to State of Love and Trust and Jeremy. Jeremy was especially great because it felt like "Jeff's show" anyway...so it was highlighting the boy in his home state. A sort of homecoming. His outro to Jeremy was fantastic.
Ghost was not a shock as Mike heard it at soundcheck (when I was back in the fanclub ticket line where you couldn't hear anything). I wasn't much of a fan of this song live in 2003 - I do really like hearing it now. Jeff love.
Daughter was solid but the buzzkill of the evening came next: this is a public service announcement...with guitars!!! Such a bad song to "groove" to...but...I knew it was gonna happen. You just knew it!
The thing is, they can take a crap on the show and play Know Your Rights and it's totally redeemed by Comatose and Why Go. End of set!
Off the bat, we saw the stage was prepped to play Last Kiss to the back of the stage so it wasn't a shock when they came back from the first encore and went to go play Last Kiss. It had been so long since I had heard it...and they don't play it so much anymore, so it was actually enjoyable. And entertaining that people go apeshit over a song that is so morbid.
After Last Kiss, Ed explained they were going to sit down for a few. I anticipated they would either play Just Breathe or Man of the Hour (ala soundcheck) but they played a really nice off He Goes into a stupendous Low Light...the perfect song to hear in Montana. It had me thinking at that moment about how beautiful Yield is...and how Yield is _so_ Montana. And I thought about being a kid again, getting into Pearl Jam. Learning tidbits about their lives. Knowing Jeff's from Montana, still respects Montana. Played a very cool show in 1995 --- and I never even dreamed I would ever go to Missoula and see a show. I know it's really not that far-fetched in the grand scheme of things, but I just never imagined myself in Missoula. It was a nice moment to bask in - I'm here. In Montana. Seeing my favorite band - and thinking about how many other random places they have taken me and feeling so grateful for their music impacting me as it has.
The "slow" encore ended with Nothingman and a loud, loud Better Man with a fantastic Save It For Later tag. Those always make me so happy!
Second encore started off with a bang - Wasted Reprise into Life Wasted. Fortunate Son was soundchecked and it was nice to have it back into the mix, however, I must say that it sounded so weak. I was happy to hear it and it's "weakness" didn't bring down my show, but...I just couldn't get past the comparisons of the 2003 performances of Fortunate Son and how much tighter they were. I would've thought it would've been easier for them to pick up on it since they had it in the mix awhile ago (yeah, yeah, I guess that was almost 10 years ago).
We were waiting for it, and it finally arrived: Alive. After Alive, out came Mark Arm and Steve Turner and you knew what was coming: Kick Out the Jams. I love watching Steve Turner. He's the only person who can out-Gossard Stone Gossard. The energy was so much fun - Mark tackled Mike during his solo...and Mike just kept playing. Never missing a beat. Mike got all fired up and ended up jumping down on the floor and leaning against the crowd. It was all sorts of crazy Van Halen rockstar stuff!
Ed gave away about 600 tamborines during Rockin' in the Free World. The more obvious end of the night would have been Yellow Ledbetter but instead, we got Indifference. Perfect way to end this show. Everyone looked like they were ready to bust out Yellow Ledbetter after Indifference but I think Ed was set on ending the show on that note - and I have to say that was probably the right decision.
It was a bittersweet night - had been looking forward to this show in a small-scale venue for so long - I wanted all three of these shows to "get here" but at the same time, after these shows there is nothing on the Pearl Jam horizon (at least domestically). This was a great show, though. The crowd really was fantastic and Ed even commented on how this was the best North American crowd they'd had in a long time (I may be mis-quoting what he said here). There's something to be said about this show being a bit more complicated and pricier to get to, combined with it being on a Sunday night --- you really wanted to be there to BE THERE. It was really a loving feeling in that room - everyone was happy and thrilled to be there. I wish we could capture that more often at shows!
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