We’re Not in Kansas (City) Anymore

by Kathy Davis on May 4, 2010

We’ll post ‘em as we got ‘em; here is our round-up of tidbits covering Pearl Jam’s tour stop in Kansas City, MO at the Sprint Center. The 19,000 capacity indoor arena rocked to the rafters Monday May 3rd when our boys rolled into town. Tomas Young was there. (Has everyone seen Body of War?) Former Kansas City Royal Willie Wilson was there. Olympic gold medal bobsledder Curt Tomasevicz was there (read our little article predicting his appearance here).  Here’s the story so far of it all.

Set List: Of The Girl, Animal, World Wide Suicide, Got Some, Unthought Known, Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town, MFC, Johnny Guitar, Amongst The Waves, Even Flow, God’s Dice, Present Tense, Daughter, Wishlist, Insignificance, Do The Evolution

1st encore: Off He Goes, Just Breathe, Given To Fly, The Fixer, Life Wasted, Porch

2nd encore: No More (with guest Tomas Young), Black, Better Man, Happy Birthday to Mark “Smitty” Smith*, Alive, Rockin’ In The Free World (by Neil Young), Yellow Ledbetter/Star Spangled Banner (with guest Curt Tomasevicz playing bass guitar)

*Smitty is PJ’s tour manager, in case y’all forgot! Silver-haired surfer genius of a man.

Ed wore Curt’s Olympic Bobsled Gold Medal during Ledbetter. ::cue music:: Olympic dreeeeam…

Pretty picture of the setlist:

courtesy PJ Message Pit member Teddyledbetter

courtesy PJ Message Pit member Teddyledbetter

Pretty picture of the poster, designed by Emek:

Kansas City Emek (courtesy Inside The Rock Poster Frame)

Kansas City Emek (courtesy Inside The Rock Poster Frame)

A little story about former Kansas City Royal outfielder Willie Wilson’s attendance at the show (FYI Wilson ended his career with the Chicago Cubs – go figure!), from KansasCity.com:

Big Pearl Jam fan

Eddie Vedder, the lead singer of Pearl Jam, is a big baseball fan.

And Monday night at the Sprint Center, where Pearl Jam performed, Vedder showed he also is a Royals fan. Or at least a fan of a former Royal.

Vedder put on a Royals jersey and announced to the crowd: “This isn’t some jersey from Sears. I got this from a legend. No. 6. Willie Wilson. It’s his first Pearl Jam concert tonight.”

Then the crowd started chanting “Willie, Willie!”

Vedder even dedicated a song to Willie, “Given to Fly,” which is fitting.

“Small Town” vid from Teddyledbetter:

Our friend and uber-PJ Fan Dimitris posted pics of the overall 2010 Tour Shirt, and boy is it cool! The back features hand lettered tour stops,  written by Jeff Ament.

2010 Tour Shirt - Front

2010 Tour Shirt - Front

2010 Tour Shirt - Back

2010 Tour Shirt - Back

Thanks Dennis from Bugs for pointing us to these.

You’ll know more when we do…check back for updates!

KC Rock!

UPDATE 5.4.10 Here is a review from Timothy Finn (ooooo Tim Finn) of the Kansas City Star:

photo by Keith Myers/Kansas City Star

photo by Keith Myers/Kansas City Star

Review | Pearl Jam
The Kansas City Star

As it commemorates its 20th anniversary with a tour that celebrates those decades of music, it’s time to put Pearl Jam into perspective.

Granted, it is at least partially responsible for inspiring and spawning a parade of post-grunge and “modern-rock” acts like Creed and Nickelback. But in 2010, Pearl Jam is nothing more or less than a relentless, unpretentious and formidable rock band with a sound and presentation that are timeless and true.

On Monday night, Eddie Vedder and his band dropped into the Sprint Center for Pearl Jam’s first show in Kansas City since June 2003. The long wait contributed to the vibe in the room: Those who weren’t seeing the band for the first time ever were seeing it for the first time in a long while, and they all responded accordingly.

They were treated to a 28-song set list and to a show that lasted two and a half hours, minus a couple of brief breaks. In September, Pearl Jam released “Backspacer,” its ninth studio album. They would play five of its songs Monday night; the rest of the setlist featured tracks from seven other albums — all but “Riot Act.” Old or recent, nearly every song received a big, warm welcome. On several, like “Even Flow,” “Better Man,” “Black” “Alive” and the rip-roaring “Given To Fly” the crowd let loose a cheer during the guitar intro, and then sang from the first lyric to the last. Even “Just Breathe,” a ballad from “Backspacer,” prompted a loud sing-along.

Vedder was in a playful mood most of the night. He introduced “Even Flow” as a song called “Mixed Metaphor,” tossed tambourines into the crowd during the cover of “Rockin’ In The Free World” and lugged around a bottle of wine for a while. He also retreated offstage a few times for a cigarette break.

After the short intermission, he came out in a Royals jersey — No. 6 — and then gave a shout-out to his good friend, Willie Wilson, who was present.

After he led the crowd in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for the band’s tour manager, Mark Smith, he pushed the cake into Smith’s face as he blew out the candles. He returned fire, and Vedder spent most of the rest of the show with clumps of cake in his beard. There were some more solemn moments.

Before “Off He Goes,” Vedder asked the crowd to get involved in the death-penalty case of Damien Echols of the “West Memphis Three” case. And before “No More,” he introduced Tomas Young, a Kansas City native and Iraqi war veteran who was the subject of the Phil Donahue documentary, “Body of War.”

Otherwise, the rest of this night was about the music. The men behind Vedder stirred up a mighty storm several times, but particularly during the infernal ending to “Better Man,” the heavy-metal eruption during “Alive” and the volcanic versions of “Do The Evolution” and “Rockin’ In The Free World.” For a band at the beginning of a tour after a long layoff, they sounded tight and furious all night.

The stage setting was spartan: No video screens, no light displays, no baubles or glitz. Just two backdrops, including a primitive “PJ” in a circle. The upper-deck in the back of the arena was curtained-off, the floor was full and the rest of the place looked like it was about 85 percent full — at or near 10,000, I’d guess.

Things got a little unhinged at the end of the show. Before the final song, Vedder introduced another guest, Curtis Tomasevicz, a member of the gold-medal U.S. Olympic bobsledding team. (He liked to crank up the Pearl Jam before each race.)

Tomasevicz strapped on a bass guitar and joined the band on “Yellow Ledbetter,” then stood back and listened as guitarist Mike McCready played a haywire rendition of the Jimi Hendrix version of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

It got a little ragged and went on a bit too long and, of course, ended with the crowd yelling “Chiefs.” Otherwise, this was a joyous, spontaneous and invigorating celebration between a rock band that seemed genuinely happy and grateful to be on the road again and fans who are just as happy that it is still around and its music is still alive.

UPDATE May 9, 2010: Here are some photos taken by Scott Spychalski over at Pitch.com:


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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