Pearl Jam not touring for a “long time”? A rebuttal

by John Reynolds on July 12, 2010

Pearl Jam ended their European 2010 tour in Lisbon, Portugal last week.  There are no scheduled concerts for 2010 or 2011.  If you were the press, what would you do? That’s right … blast over the internet that Pearl Jam just played their last gig (complete with a picture of Ed with a concerned expression) and get fans panicked everywhere.

Impassioned Pearl Jam fans have already been debating what Ed said, meant to say, and even tried to say.

Ed likes to talk communicate with his audience at shows. It’s an element that is integral to the Pearl Jam concert experience. In front of non-English audiences, he will prepare a speech in that language before performing, then read the speech in-between songs or often during an encore break.

In 2007′s Immagine in Cornice DVD, we got a glimpse into this process where Ed is shown backstage with an Italian translator. The process is as follows

  • Ed communicates in English what he wants to say
  • The translator provides the translation in that language
  • Ed writes it down phonetically

Ed’s native language is English, not Portuguese … du-duh. Regardless, his speech could be misinterpreted.  In this case, though, it seems he his being misunderstood, not lost in translation.

Check out the video in question below:

  • 0:00 Pearl Jam finish “In Hiding”
  • 0:40 Addressing the crowd for the first time, Ed comes to the mic with a piece of paper
  • 0:45 “Ola Lisbon” = “Hello Lisbon” (yes, we know, it’s techically in Oeiras)
  • 1:00 “O português é uma língua difícil” (roughly), meaning “Portuguese is a difficult language”
  • 1:34 “Obrigado”, i.e. “Thank You” is followed by a laugh and “You wait”, hinting at the upcoming speaking difficulties
  • 2:00 The money line: “Obrigado por virem ao nosso último concerto – não o último de sempre, mas o último em muito tempo”. Roughly translated: “This is the end of our last show of the tour … not last forever but last for a long time“.
  • 2:10 To gasps and whistling (for Americans, that’s “booing”) and sensing he was misinterpreted, Ed makes a motion with both hands seemingly saying “no, no … right now”
  • 2:18 Clarifying, he says “It’s good …  so we have fun tonight ’cause we don’t know when else we have fun”

As quickly as Ed went into “Unthought Known”, fans shouldn’t spend that much time dwelling on it. He did not come out and say “We will not play a show for X months, XX days“, but if you’d like to play with some options, here they are:

  • “a long time” – in “Pearl Jam” time, possibly just a few months or less than a year, but nobody knows for sure
  • “a long time (until we return to Europe)” – this has been misinterpreted before, with previous European gaps being
    • 3 years: 1993 – 1996)
    • 4 years: 1996 – 2000
    • 6 years: 2000 – 2006
    • 1 year: 2006 – 2007
    • 2 years: 2007-2009
    • 1 year: 2009 – 2010
  • “a long time (in Guns ‘N’ Roses years)” – this would be about 5 years
  • “a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”, roughly 23 parcecs. Star Wars geek unite!

Do you think Ed was misunderstood? Were media reports greatly exaggerated? Comment below and tell us what you think!

Special thanks to Patricia Bianco for the Portuguese and English translation!

UPDATE: Nicole Vandenburg, Pearl Jam’s publicist, responded to the Seattle Weekly’s e-mail inquiry on the subject and had this to say:

“He says that at the end of all tours, because the tour has ended. The remark may have gotten a little lost in translation.”

Pearl Jam doesn’t have any shows lined up at the moment, and Vandenberg did not elaborate on any of the band’s future plans, or whether they had finished their support of last November’s record, Backspacer.

I think that kinda settles it, don’t you?- Kath

John Reynolds ( Twitter: @jjjrrr )
A New Jersey based programmer, John handles TFT’s programming and technical aspects. He also conceives and writes his share of TFT’s articles and sections. John’s first Pearl Jam show was at Lollapalooza on August 12, 1992.

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