Australia and NZ Shows On + Great Interview

by Kathy Davis on August 2, 2009

Copious PJ news to make us rejoice!  First, this post from PearlJam.com (we’ve edited in weblinks to each venue as well as approximate seating capcities)

PJ announces Australia/New Zealand tour. Fan Club Pre-sale, travel package details coming soon.

08.01.09

Ben Harper and Relentless7 and Liam Finn to Open All Dates

Tickets for all shows on sale, Monday 17 August

Pearl Jam announced today that they will play a series of outdoor shows in November in Australia and New Zealand, in support of their new album, Backspacer.

Pearl Jam will be returning to Australia for the first time in 3 years, bringing with them their old touring mates, Ben Harper and Relentless7 and Liam Finn, to play for one night only in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland and Christchurch. Tickets for all shows go on sale on Monday 17 August.

Scheduled for release in Australia and New Zealand on Friday, 18 September, the band‘s ninth studio album, Backspacer, will be available in both countries before the rest of the world. The first single, The Fixer, went to Australian radio on 21 July and was the No. 1 most added song to radio that week.

It‘s been 3 years since Pearl Jam last toured Australia and New Zealand and their Australian fans clearly haven‘t forgotten them with two songs appearing in Triple J‘s recent Hottest 100 of All Time list (Alive at No. 24 and Better Man at No. 39).

Appearing with Pearl Jam, and no stranger to Australian shores, is Ben Harper and Relentless 7, who were last here in April of this year to headline the 20th Anniversary East Coast Blues and Roots Festival and perform a one-off, sold out headline show in Sydney.

Opening all shows will be New Zealand‘s own Liam Finn. Having played his own sold-out shows on every continent, opened for the The Black Keys and Eddie Vedder, and performed at the All Tomorrow‘s Parties‘ ATP Vs The Fans Part II: The Fans Strike Back Festival in UK earlier this year, Liam will join the tour in support of the worldwide release his new EP, Champagne In Seashells, featuring Long Way to Go, on 4 September, 2009.

The shows announced will be  one-show-only concerts and promise to be THE must-see rock events of the summer season!

Tickets for all Australian and New Zealand shows will go on sale at 9am on Monday, 17 August 2009, and details of ticket outlets for each show are below.

***Ten Club members-only ticket pre-sale details to follow. Check www.pearljam.com for details.

***Special Ten Club sponsored Travel Packages to be available. Details forthcoming.

AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND TOUR DATES:

Saturday, 14 November, 2009
Members Equity Stadium, Perth, Australia (seating capacity apx 18,450)
Ticket prices: $123.90 – Gold and $99.90 – Silver
Tickets available from Ticketmaster – www.ticketmaster.com.au or 136 100

Tuesday, 17 November, 2009
Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, Australia (seating capacity 34,500)
Ticket prices: $123.90 – Gold and $99.90 – Silver
Tickets available from Ticketek – www.ticketek.com.au or 132 849

 pjadelaide1 

Friday, 20 November, 2009
Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, Australia (fixed seating capacity apx. 53,339)
Ticket prices: $123.90 – Gold and $99.90 – Silver
Tickets available from Ticketmaster – www.ticketmaster.com.au or 136 100

Sunday, 22 November, 2009
Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney, Australia (seating capacity apx. 45, 500)
Ticket prices: $123.90 – Gold and $99.90 – Silver
Tickets available from Ticketek – www.Ticketek.com.au or 132 849

Wednesday, 25 November, 2009
QSAC Stadium, Brisbane, Australia (seating capactiy 49,000)Ticket prices: $123.90 – Gold and $99.90 – Silver
Tickets available from Ticketek – www.ticketek.com.au or 132 849

Friday, 27 November, 2009
Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand (seating capacity 26,000)
Ticket prices: $119.50 – Gold and $99.50 – Silver
Tickets available from Ticketek: www.ticketek.co.nz or 0800 842538

Sunday, 29 November, 2009
AMI Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand (seating capacity 36,000)
Ticket prices: $119.50 – Gold and $99.50 – Silver
Tickets available from Ticketek: www.ticketek.co.nz or 0800 842538

Secondly Australian publication the Courier-Mail has a lovely article/interview  that included yet another fabulous new photo.  Because we’re Pearl Jam geeks, we find it necessary to point out a couple of things in the photo:  1) Ed is wearing an Exodus T-Shirt (if you recognize Mike’s shirt, tell us – looks like Rainsomething)   and 2) the grafitti on the wall is a line from classic 1985 John Hughes film Breakfast Club.   Interview segments appear to have been conducted earlier in the year, though the article was just published.

Claire Bradley   August 02, 2009 12:00am

This  year, Pearl Jam are hitting the road again with a new album that echoes the band’s unmistakable sound.

The US city of Seattle is the key to unlocking the band members’ teenage years. It represents a place where angsty rockers put adolescent hormones to good use, pouring them into a revolutionary new sound. It stood for the music of the early ’90s. It stood for grunge.

Grunge was the soundtrack to my coming of age, and I wear my fan status with pride: I slept in the mud for two days to be sure I was front row at concerts; I layered my walls with posters from Smash Hits and Rolling Stone; and I spent nights in candlelit rooms dissecting lyrics while chugging West Coast Cooler. I was Gen-X emo.

Over the years, I’ve matured, as have my musical tastes, but one band’s songs still strike a chord: Pearl Jam. One riff from Alive, the breakthrough hit that set them on their path to stardom – not to mention 60 million worldwide sales – and I’m right back in the mud, singing my heart out.

Wandering around the sun-filled streets of Seattle, I find little to explain why this became the hub for a groundswell that defined a decade. It’s like many other US cities, yet this was the birthplace of seminal bands Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. I’m told I’ve caught the city in a moment of good weather and that a few more days in town would guarantee me a glimpse of its true nature.

“Two hundred and twenty days of the year, it’s nasty. There are a lot of guys in basements sinking beers and making music,” says Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder. “There were a few different schools of music (back then) and, kind of unbeknownst, it exploded like a volcano.”

In anticipation of a new album release – the eighth since their 1991 debut, Ten, one of the top-selling rock albums of all time – the band has allowed me rare access into Pearl Jam HQ. Sitting at the end of a dirt road, it appears no different to the other nondescript warehouses, apart from the high security – boom gates, unmarked entrance and necessary escort.

It’s been three years since the Jammers’ last (self-titled) release, which was met with a lukewarm response, as was Riot Act before that. But they’ve returned to form with an album that sounds like their first six. Their newest baby, Backspacer, harks back to the good old days of Even Flow, Better Man and all those songs even my mum knows.

Guitarists Stone Gossard and Mike McCready are the perfect hosts. Their comfortable jibes are sarcastic and endearing. Gossard, a lean, greying, bespectacled version of the portraits I had on my walls, interrogates me for my opinion on the album. McCready, transformed from the lanky, greasy-haired guitarist into a middle-aged dad-type, is happy to chat about Aussie beaches and Perth, where he’s dying to surf. More than anything, both men are obviously pleased to be back in the saddle.

“It’s great,” says Gossard, 43. “It’s still the same group of guys and we all still have an idiosyncratic way of relating and playing.”

Still, they’re keen to point out that this album is something new.

“If you’ve liked the band in the past, you’ll hear it’s the new model,” says Vedder, 44. “It’s had a new paint job, the engine has a little more power but, at the same time, we’re getting better mileage.”

I’ve been led up to Vedder’s office-cum-bunker, where I find him playing a track from Backspacer on an acoustic guitar. With a warm smile that reaches his blue eyes, he shakes my hand and welcomes me into his world. He says recording this album had been a bit of a blur, having come on the back of his first solo project – the score for Sean Penn’s film Into the Wild.

“But we’ve heard good things about the album, although I have a healthy sense of distrust.”

In the early days, Vedder made a name for himself as a tricky character. I’ve been warned not to dwell on the past or his personal life. But he’s in the mood to elaborate today, saying it’s mostly because he is his least favourite subject.

“I read interviews with musicians I appreciate and, half the time, I wish they’d shut up. I don’t need to fulfil my ego. I’ve had enough. I had more than enough 15 years ago.”

It’s hard not to be drawn in by his gentle manner and whispery baritone – at odds with his raging stage persona. Having spent a lot of time Down Under, both on and off tour (“I had an apartment on Bondi Beach for a while in 2000″), he’s pleased to say they’ll be back to tour before Christmas.

“We’ve been treated very well in your neck of the woods,” he says.

As one of their biggest markets outside the US, the Australian public has left an impression on the band.

“Apparently, the penal colonies have a firm love for Pearl Jam,” Gossard says. “And, per capita, we sell more records in Australia. We’ve been given a few things from there, but when we got surfboards with our faces on them, we were like, ‘Oh my God!’” (Later, I spot the boards mounted next to the original Pearl Jam sign that graced the cover of Ten.) The PJ posse, including original bassist Jeff Ament and drummer Matt Cameron (formerly of Soundgarden), are keen to be back on the road flaunting their wares, but it’s different now they’re in their early 40s and most of them have young children.

Coincidentally, both Gossard and McCready became first-time dads on April 12, 2007.

Vedder, who has a four-year-old daughter, has made his peace with combining a rock lifestyle with parenthood.

“I don’t want to become some sort of pussy dad who writes slow songs on the porch,” he begins, explaining that Green River, the band founded by Gossard and Ament, plays tonight and he’d love to go.

“But, to be honest, after you’ve read your child a couple of stories, you look at your wife and think … maybe I’ll just read a book and see those guys later.”

It’s a cute picture of his private life, which Vedder happily says isn’t often intruded upon. That hasn’t always been the case. The idea that he’s adored by millions is an honour he’s still trying to earn. He tells me he’s not really a singer and wishes he could construct the perfect song, a la Nick Cave’s God is in the House (“That song is untouchable; it has its own place in the stars”).

He goes on to insist he can’t play the guitar properly: “But I can figure out how to make a sound – strangle it until a song comes out.”

Strangle is not the word I’d use, but there’s nothing fake about his modesty. And even when he’s had problems dealing with fame in the past, he has a way of explaining it that makes you wonder if you’d do any different in his place.

“I think I’ve only ever been rude to three people, but one time I was having an argument in Toronto Airport with the woman I was dating,” admits Vedder. “Right then, this doe-eyed young girl said, ‘Excuse me, I’m sorry to bother you’, and I said, ‘Well, don’t!’ She froze and I watched one Disney tear roll slowly down her cheek. I turned to the woman and said, ‘Are you happy now?’ It was 16 years ago and I still think about it.”

I hope that doe-eyed girl reads this and understands how bad Vedder feels. Because it’s a big risk to meet your heroes. They could accidentally shout at you. Or worse, they could be a huge disappointment. I made this trip with trepidation, prepared to be met by middle-aged rockers who’d started believing their own hype.

Instead, what I found was a bunch of dads who are humble about their role in shaping a generation and focused on moving forward. Not bad for a band with a lead singer who can’t sing or play guitar.

Exodus?  Who knew?

Exodus? Who knew?

Thanks BTS, and Bugs - we’d be nada without your eagle eyes.

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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