Tibetan Freedom Concert is Bloody Sexy!!!
Ed & C Average at Tibetan Freedom Concert...
June 13, 1999
Alpine Valley: East Troy, Wisconsin
This is another one of those, "When I heard that Ed Vedder was going to be playing the Tibetan Freedom Concert at Alpine Valley...I just had to go..." type deals. Although there are many things I hate about Alpine Valley...which will be touched on as I tell you my story...I think it is one amazing amphitheater. The size is enough to make you go "hmmm" like the song. Before I go on, I'll explain my "Tibetan Freedom Concert is Bloody Sexy" title now...up within the first 15 or so rows, two girls were holding up a sign...since they were in front of me, I could not see what the sign said, but I sure did see what the back of the sign said, "Eddie is bloody sexy". Yawn.
My plans for the TFC were to meet up with people and meet new people...just as I did at Alpine Valley the previous year and at all the other Pearl Jam shows I have ever been to. The day before the show, I called Luke Adolf to set up some tentative plans to meet somewhere the day of the show. We both were going to bring our cell phones so we could just find each other at the venue. Early in the morning of June 13th, it began to pour. I was awoken by thunder, but did not think much of it. When we woke up on the morning of the 13th, it was still pouring. My mom was all worried about it, and I was like, "Puh-lease, we have pavillion...the rain will just make things more exciting! I'm glad it's raining, and I hope it continues." I'm a moron.
We left for the show around 10:00 Central Time...maybe even earlier. I originally planned on getting there around 9:45, but since it was pouring, we left a little later. When we arrived at the Alpine parking lot, it hit me on how bad the rain really was and how much trouble it was to cause everyone. After working up enough guts, my mom, Jeremy, and I decided to head for the gates...with an umbrella and bottled water (of course, I had prepared and anticipated for a concert on a very hot day, since the two Pearl Jam concerts at Alpine Valley in '98 were in steamy hot weather.) . After getting in, I decided, hell, I'm wet, why not just buy all the t-shirts now? I made my t-shirt purchases, and became even more wet...which I did not think was possible.
My mom and I darted down to our seats. Of course, wouldn't you know...our seats were directly under a leak in the roof. Lovely. Eventually we found an old friend and went and sat with him and his friend and I went off to buy two rain ponchos (which were made in China...hell-o?) . When I came back, armed with my poncho, Luke Adolf found me and we talked for a bit. I am not going to dwell much on the other acts...just the acts I really liked...
Prior to Ed's set, The Cult performed. I am not a big Cult fan or anything, but I was looking forward to seeing them. They put on a really good show and I would consider seeing them again...as a matter of fact they are coming into town at the end of June, but tickets are $32 bucks...which is way more than I would ever want to pay to see a show at Clutch Cargos...
During The Cult's set, I noticed a little blonde man walking around the side of the stage. Who would this be other than Ed Vedder...of course at first no one really put two and two together that the blonde was indeed Ed...since the only public place he has been in since going platinum was the Neil Finn show in Boston. People eventually caught on and many people rushed to the stage trying to get his attention and shake his hand...
When Ed hit the stage, the very empty amphitheater just PACKED. I was so excited and thrilled and amazed and proud that so many people were pumped about seeing the lead singer for my favorite band (yeah, that's right people, Backstreet Boys are not my favorite band, Pearl Jam still remains #1). Basically every person was standing for the entire set. Ed came out solo, not with the C Average guys that everyone had heard he recruited. Before he began the first song, "Last Kiss", he asked everyone to clap along and gave everyone a little rhythm pattern to try...it was so cute...I felt like I was at a "Sharon, Lois, and Braham" show or something (LOL if anyone knows who they are...they used to be on "The Elephant Show" on Nickelodeon back in the good old days...). Of course the place just roared once they recognized Ed strumming the first chords to "Last Kiss". "Last Kiss" was an awesome choice...a crowd pleaser...to open with...and I was glad he played it alone...it was different to hear it without other instruments.
Ed then "asked" for some back-up players to join him on stage...asking if anyone knew how to play bass or drums...of course 50 billion hands raised and millions jumped...and at first I was like, "You've got to be kidding me!" Like the same reaction I had when Ed pulled people out of the crowd at East Lansing to hold his book for "Soldier of Love". Anyhow, we noticed the two C Average guys (whom we had seen backstage hanging around with Ed during The Cult's set) towards the front of the crowd, and Ed obviously picked them...as he later disclosed. I think a lot of people had caught on as soon as they saw them on-stage because they were all over the stage prior to Ed's set. Anyhow...the first song they all played together was "Better Man"...another crowd pleaser(this is not meant in a bad way, just an obvious fact...the popular jazz). Must say, it was the most interesting version I've ever heard...with Ed instructing his friends on when to do what as the song was being played:-)
The rest of the set was songs unfamiliar to non-Pearl Jam freak-a-zoids and also contained some songs that were unfamiliar<gasp> to the Pearl Jam freak-a-zoids. I was really thrilled to hear "Driven to Tears"...since the last time Ed played it live was in 1992...so quite the rarity. They also played a little "Love->Building on Fire" by the Talking Heads.
I think my favorite part of Ed's set was "Patriot"...it was the second time I had seen him perform it live (first time was 09.19.98)...but this version was yet again another rarity...a fast version. Way cool! :-) Of course, when the set was finished, I was sad...I was not disappointed in the set AT ALL...I just wish it could have been longer. Another cool thing about Ed's set was the fact that a lot of the Monks got on the side of the stage to watch the set...it was so cute:-)
(Me during Ed's set)
(Taken at the top of the hill during Blondie's set)
My favorite non-Ed part of the concert was Rage's set...I had never seen Rage Against The Machine live before, even though I had attempted to. I knew they put on a good show...but I was blown away! The sides of the stage were just PACKED with artists and volunteers watching the show and the whole crowd was into the performance.
I really wanted to see the Beastie Boys...as did everyone else...but to avoid a rush and frostbite(LOL my mom and I were freezing...I was still slightly damp from the downpour) we left during the second or third song of the Beasties set. We should have just fell asleep in our seats or something...no one could have guessed it would have taken us THREE FRICKEN HOURS to get out of the parking lot. People were getting stuck left and right...it was nutty. Our clothes were muddy...our shoes were muddy...it was awful. So yeah...thank you people at Alpine Valley for making me wait in a car for three hours for no reason only to get scared about getting stuck...I needed to pee...I had not eaten in like 6 hours...but yeah...I survived.
Even though the whole getting stuck in the parking lot at the end sucked sooooooo very badly, I am honored to have witnessed one of the Tibetan Freedom Concerts...I learned a lot from the show...I saw a lot of great/good/decent bands...and I even got my clothes and hair washed on my way in! How cool is that?!?
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