Eddie Vedder-Live In Chicago June 28, 2011

by Kathy Davis on June 29, 2011

photo by Glen Hansard @Glen_Hansard

Someday…we’ll go all the way!  ”All The Way” HAD to be on the setlist tonight; after all it’s the song Ed wrote for his beloved Chicago Cubs -and first performed  on his previous solo tour at Chicago’s Vic Theatre (Aug. 2, 2007). Though his beloved Cubbies didn’t go all the way in a doubleheader vs. (my hometown team, World Series Champs) the San Francisco Giants today at Wrigley…Ed sure hit a home run in the Chicago Theatre tonight for the first of a two night jaunt.

Setlist: from the Official Message Board

Eddie Vedder
Chicago Theater-Chicago IL
June 28, 2011
Show 1

Set List

01. Waving Palms
02. Can’t Keep
03. Sleeping By Myself
04. Without You
05. You’re True
06. Light Today
07. Longing To Belong w/Steven Houser playing cello
08. Sometimes
09. I Am Mine
10. Long Nights w/Glen Hansard
11. Far Behind
12. Guaranteed
13. Rise
14. Blackbird-(Lennon, McCartney)
15. Just Breathe w/ string quartet
16. The End w/string quartet
17. Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town
18. Unthought Known
19. Arc

Encore Break 1
20. Parting Ways
21. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away-(Lennon, McCartney)
22. Sleepless Nights w/Glen Hansard-(Boudleaux Bryant, Felice Bryant)
23. Society w/Glen Hansard-(Jerry Hannan)
24. Falling Slowly w/string quartet {Glen singing and playing acoustic, Eddie duet vocal}-(Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová)
25. Immortality
26. All The Way (for Ron Santos)  [Ron Santo is the correct spelling-KD]
27. Porch

Encore Break 2
28. Hard Sun w/Glen Hansard-(Gordon Peterson)
29. Dream A Little Dream-(Gus Kahn, Wilbur Schwandt, Fabian Andree)

String Quartet    [see below for more info-KD]
Tom Yang-Violin 1
Katherine Hughes- Violin 2
Doyle Amburst- Viola  [corrected spelling-Doyle Armbrust-KD]
Steven Houser- Cello

A bit of detail about the night:

Who is Ron Santo? “All The Way” is dedicated to Ron Santo, former Chicago Cub third baseman who was also the Cubs game broadcast color commentator for local TV/Radio-station WGN.  His baseball career spanned 1960-1974, during Ed’s childhood years growing up in Chicagoland.  He passed away Dec. 3, 2010 from bladder cancer, and suffered from  the ravages of  type 1 Diabetes for 52 years, eventually having a double leg amputation.  A couple of  interesting Ed-related synergies:  Ron’s middle name is Edward, and his Cubs jersey number? Why 10 of course.  Ron’s son Ron Santo Jr. was reported to be in attendance at the show this evening.

former Chicago Cub Ron Santo

What about the strings? 3 of the 4 members of the string quartet that accompanied Ed (Tom, Doyle & Steven) are members of The Metropolis Quartet, an offshoot of the Metropolis Symphony Orchestra;  Katherine Hughes is a  member of the Metropolis Symphony Orchestra, and is an accomplished composer and recording artist in her own right.

And the poster? A fantastic likeness of the facade of the historic 90-year-old Chicago Theatre, designed by Munk One.

Chicago 1 poster-image from Inside The Rock Poster Frame

Highlights: The respectful/subdued crowd were mostly quiet, and Ed was fairly talkative, telling one story about being locked out of his hotel room back in the helmet-wearing days of the ’92 Lollapalooza tour, wearing a way too small T-Shirt, complete with an animated re-enactment of the events. Though this isn’t an exact re-telling of the story as he told it at tonight’s show verbatim, Ed *did* recount this version of the story to Rolling Stone magazine back in 2006.

“….I felt that with any more popularity we were going to be crushed, or our heads were going to pop like grapes. I went through this fucking yearlong period where I wore helmets all the time. It was like army helmets that I’d find, or just like whatever. It was this kind of analogy, like I need a helmet…I felt like…it’s just funny looking…sleeping in a fucking army helmet. I remember one day after a Lollapalooza gig, I woke up in a hotel in an army helmet and a T-shirt. And, I heard a live band playing. I thought it was a live band. So I went out the door to see if it was live. I had to know — was that a real stand-up bass? Or were they just playing music in the atrium or whatever? So I pushed the door open, went to look, you know, and I looked back and the door just went [makes a clicking sound]. So I’m standing in the hotel, in this atrium thing and I’ve got an army helmet on and a T-shirt…. I was thinking, “Aww, this is really bad.” And so I go down to the maids, but they won’t let me in. I don’t know anybody else’s room number. Everyone’s got a pseudonym. I don’t know who’s what. And, so I take the T-shirt off, wrap it around the back, put the army helmet over the front, go down in this glass elevator, it’s Easter Sunday — this all starts to hit me — it’s Easter Sunday, there’s all these people in their Easter [best]. It was somewhere in the Midwest like Milwaukee or something. I had to walk through the people, and parents were hiding their kids from this freaky guy. It must have been like a real apparition. Then — sorry I got into this story; I’ll just finish it — but the funny thing is that I actually waited in line. There was a line at the front desk. I actually waited in line behind two other people. It was kind of a Tarzan goes to Vietnam look or something. And then of course you get to the lady, tell her your problem, locked out of your room and, of course, she asks for an ID. That’s when I lost it.

We’ll update this post when more reports are in. Thanks to Lindsay Lake & Amy Moore for the post-show phonecalls!

Ed & Glen finish the night-photo by D

Reviews:

The Chicago Sun-Times Pop Music Critic Thomas Conner  has posted this review; excerpt:

…Vedder on Tuesday stalked the stage much like Young did in early May — slightly befuddled, deep in thought, grabbing at instruments (ukuleles, mandolins, acoustic and electric guitars, each tended by techs wearing white lab coats) and grabbing at songs.

He started with that uke, started small, plowing through six new songs (including “Light Today” backed by a reel-to-reel tape of ocean noise). But Vedder is large and contains multitudes. He was soon looming large, even without the help of feisty opening act Glen Hansard, who joined him on several songs, and the occasional string section. “Rise,” in particular, bashed out on a mandolin, lifted the crowd and seemed to raise Vedder into a lofty but comfortable space. He followed it with the Beatles’ “Blackbird,” adding heft to a featherweight song and smiling — as much as Vedder smiles — when the crowd took it over, not singing along but whistling the blackbird’s call.

The energy and power of the night built slowly and surely, stretching Vedder’s natural tension through two-plus hours into the first (“Parting Ways,” “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” “Falling Slowly with Hansard and more) and then second encore. Not the most delicate of vocalists, Vedder mastered varied dynamics and range with a string quartet on “Just Breathe” and “The End.”

An Evanston native, Vedder waxed nostalgic about younger days spent hanging out in the Chicago Theatre, back when it was in disrepair and he was watching “Silent Night, Deadly Night” on his Dec. 23 birthday, sneaking in liquor and flicking cigarettes into the fountains. “Glad to see it looking so nice,” he said. “I feel I’m looking a little better myself.”

From the Chicago Sun-Times, photos by Scott Stewart:

Consequence of Sound has a fabulous review, with amazing photos by Heather Kaplan, the highlights:

”These songs may be sad, but I’m real happy to be here.”…   I used to spend a lot of time in this room,” he observed, scoping out the Chicago Theatre’s lush, antique walls. “Back when it was a shit hole and I was a shit head.”  “I think it’s about time we take our relationship to the next level, let’s see if we can reach a higher plane,” Vedder declared four to five songs in. “What are you wearing?”

“This is the place to play this song,” Vedder posited, confusing a few in the crowd. He explained how there had been a request, for someone special in the crowd. That person was Mr. Ron Santo, Jr., son of the late Ron Santo, the legendary Chicago Cubs third basemen and longtime radio announcer, who passed away this past December. Before launching into the Cubs tune “All the Way”, Vedder expressed his admiration for Santo, stating, “It makes me want to kick out a stain glass window for the fact that he’s not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.” Shortly after, Vedder brought everyone to Wrigley Field – well, at least mentally.“Even though I don’t live in Chicago anymore,” Vedder admitted. “Chicago lives in me.”

Read the full Consequence of Sound review here.

Amazing photos by Heather Kaplan-Consequence of Sound

UPDATE: Chicago Tribune review by Greg Kot The man himself, genius music critic and aficionado,co- host of legendary radio show Sound Opinions (if you’re not listening to this show, you should be), took in last night’s performance.  Favorite quote: “the marvel of watching Vedder work solo..” read on.

The ukulele is not built to rock. Eddie Vedder knows this, but it didn’t stop him from trying to get the biggest sound possible out of the tiny instrument Tuesday at the first of two sold-out Chicago Theatre concerts.

The singer, on a brief holiday from Pearl Jam, did a few wistful numbers on the uke. He even threatened to turn into Jack Johnson on “Light Today” with some delicate finger picking over the sound of rolling surf from a reel-to-reel tape deck. But mostly he tried to scrub the strings hard and make them ring, punctuating lovelorn lyrics with yelps and wails. He zipped through his latest collection of bedroom recordings, “Ukulele Songs,” with a notable lack of preciousness, as if eager to move on to his array of acoustic and electric guitars while guest musicians – opener Glen Hansard and a string quartet – came and went.

Vedder played the genial, bearded emcee from a bar stool in what felt like an oversized living room, surrounded by 3,500 of his closest friends (the singer made a point of thanking the enthusiastic but decidedly un-rowdy audience for its “dignified” behavior).

“This is like a lotta people over at the house,” he joked. The mood was relaxed enough to allow for at least one long-winded story involving a “Welcome Back Kotter” T-shirt and a strategically placed Army helmet.

Mostly, there was music that coalesced loosely around the themes outlined in his 2007 soundtrack for the Sean Penn movie “Into the Wild.” Vedder has always identified with wanderers and loners dwarfed by circumstance. It’s an appealing romanticism that embraces both Jack Kerouac’s rugged vagabonds and Pete Townshend’s misfit Mods.

The marvel of watching Vedder work solo is the way he tries to over-compensate for not having a band blasting at his back. On “Arc,” the sacred singing of Pakistan’s Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was transformed into a series of haunted moans looped into infinity. To propel Pearl Jam’s “Unthought Known,” Vedder’s left foot stomped on the pedal of a kick drum while he thrashed an acoustic guitar. For “Parting Ways,” he did triple duty on electric guitar, blending rhythm, lead and drone into a big, voluptuous swirl, and chiseled staccato patterns with ice-pick ferocity on “Immortality.”

There were a few lesser moments: an undoubtedly heart-felt novelty song in tribute to Vedder’s beloved losers, the Chicago Cubs; a couple of awkward duets with Hansard that managed to tamp down the fire in both singers; and a goofy encore on the anthem “Hard Sun” with smoke machine set against a cheesy art-deco painting of an ocean.

But the generosity of the 135-minute concert allowed for some digressions. Whether trying to make a ukulele rock or tackling Pearl Jam songs with a single guitar, Vedder made clear that even with less, he’s always going for more.

greg@gregkot.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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