EV Baltimore Review & Links

by Kathy Davis on June 17, 2009

We’re doing our best to stay on top of Concert Chronology updates for Ed’s Summer 2009 solo jaunt and so far, so good; Baltimore 1 & 2 can be found here.

Here’s a re-post from Troubled Souls Unite  of a review of Ed’s appearance at the Lyric Opera House June 15th, night 2.  Check out the rest of PJ-fan Ariel’s great  blog here.

It’s always difficult to transmit ones feelings about an experience to those who themselves have not experienced it. And so, I’ve always had trouble with concert reviews, especially when I’m writing for people who may not have seen this particular artist in concert themselves. Yet, when thinking about the Eddie Vedder solo show I attended last night, there’s only one word that comes to mind to describe the night:

Stunning.

My brothers and I arrived at the beautiful Lyric Opera House at 645PM for a show that officially began at 730, to ensure that we’d be able to buy as much merch as we wanted (an awesome poster for me, and t-shirts for them). The doors to the theater opened at 7, and we were greeted by ushers who handed out playbills; and so from the outset, it was clear that this was no ordinary concert- this was to be a night at the theater.

By the time Eddie came on a bit after 830 (Liam Finn opened the show- but more on that in a later post) the place was almost entirely filled up. When the lights finally went down, and the curtain came up, there was a mad rush through the theater doors, as the rest of the concert-going patrons filed in and quickly found their seats. Eddie walked out to thunderous applause.

A bit about the stage- a few stools, plush armchairs, a chair in the shape of two feet (you kinda have to see that one to know what I’m talking about), his amp with the bat-like wings on the top, a tiny bass drum box, and a few guitars, and a bottle of wine. Yet, instead of taking swigs directly from the bottle, Eddie had a glass with him, and it seemed that this touch of class was a microcosm for the entire night. Instead of a mosh pit, there were velvet seats, and instead of the crowd standing the entire time, Eddie urged everyone to sit down with him and enjoy the evening. And besides for the annoying drunken hecklers and their annoying screams of “play State of Love and Trust!” and “hey Eddie, I wanna party with you,” to which he responded- “what the fuck do you think we’ve been doing all night?” besides for those minor annoyances, the evening was successfully transformed from a rock concert into (in Yonah’s words) “a night at the theater.”

And sure, all of that added to the overall ambiance, but what made the show truly stunning was the music. Eddie opened with Walk the Cow, before segueing into a verse of Brain Damage (Pink Floyd) as an intro to Sometimes- by which time Eddie’s vocals began to truly shine through as brilliant. He moved onto Trouble, and then into Around the Bend, but not before heckling right back at the locals with his idea for a new song: “the words are ‘I’m from Baltimore and I’m an asshole,’” a jest that the crowd received in good humor, laughing along with Ed. From there Eddie played one last Pearl Jam song (I Am Mine) before moving into his Into the Wild tunes. He began that section of the show by letting the crowd know that Chris McCandlesses (the young man who Into the Wild is based on) sister was in the crowd tonight, hearing the songs live for the first time. It seemed as if letting us know that gave him a bit more energy to sing the songs, as he launched into (yes, I’m going to use the word again) stunning versions of Far Behind, No Ceiling, Guaranteed, and Rise. He then pulled out the Tom Waits classic Picture in a Frame, followed up by You’re True, and Open All Night by Bruce. And suddenly things were kicked up a notch- Driftin’, You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away, Let My Love Open the Door (!!!), Parting Ways, a beautiful sing-along version of Small Town, and a glorious acoustic rendition of Porch.

Thus endeth set 1.

The second set (first encore?) was riddled with guests. First Ed brought out Jerry Hannan for Society (Jerry wrote the song), then Liam Finn for Throw Your Arms Around me, and EJ Barnes for Golden State. Eddie continued on his own with Forever Young (as a happy birthday song to anyone who has a birthday in the coming year), Wishlist, and a hauntingly perfect version of Arc- pulled off with the aid of a looping machine, over which Eddie dubbed at least ten different vocal tracks. He finished Arc, and let it continue to play on a loop as he walked to the edge of the stage and shook hands with everyone lucky enough to be that close.

As the curtain went down, a few people headed for the exits, but most expected him to come back out with Liam (drums and vocals) and EJ (vocals) for a closer of Hard Sun. Not one to disappoint, Eddie returned in full force with this meager backing band, leading the entire crowd in the (finally) stand up sing along.

The show was a basketful of goodies for any PJ fan, with Forever Young, Throw Your Arms Around Me, and Let Love Open My Door. But beyond those covers, what made this show was Ed’s impeccable playing and singing, and his ability to command a room as a lone man on a stage. From heckling back at the hecklers, to telling stories about his 2 year old daughter questioning his lyrics (check it out here); this was an exceptionally special night for everyone in attendance.

If you get the chance to check Eddie out for his solo act, get off your butt and do it. It’s not the same as the full Pearl Jam experience, but it’s certainly something not to be missed.

Kathy Davis ( Twitter: @CrookedArm23 )
A Bay-Area based entrepreneur, co-editor Kathy conceives and writes her share of TFT’s articles and sections. She was co-editor/co-founder of one of the first Pearl Jam fanzines "Footsteps" (1992-1997). Kathy’s first Pearl Jam show was at the Bridge School Benefit on November 1, 1992.

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