Pearl Jam-Toronto, Ontario, Canada Sept. 11, 2011

by Kathy Davis on September 12, 2011

Holy Uncle Neil! What a way to get back to the tour, guys! First full performance of Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns…guest appearance from Canadian legend Neil Young…where do they go from here? Likely to heights unknown, if the show Sept. 11 in Toronto is any indicator.

Setlist: from the Official Message Board

Pearl Jam
Air Canada Centre
Toronto ON. CA
Show 1
Sept. 11, 2011

01. Long Road
02. Do The Evolution
03. Once
04. Got Some
05. Faithfull
06. Nothing As It Seems
07. Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town
(Ed talks about PJ20. Thanks Cameron Crowe. Says now they feel like they can put those 20 years behind them and start work on the next 20. Talks about Neil Young’s 51 years putting out albums)
08. Setting Forth
09. Not For You/Modern Girl-(Sleater Kinney)
10. Given To Fly
11. Just Breathe
12. Off He Goes
13. Daughter/It’s OK-(Cole)
14. Grievance
15. Down
16. Unthought Known
17. The Fixer
18. Porch

19. Nothingman
20. Betterman/Save It For Later-(Charley, Cox, Morton, Steele, Wakeling)
21. Leatherman
22. Black
23. Rearviewmirror

24. Chloe Dancer/Crown Of Thorns-(Wood, Mother Love Bone)
25. Alive
26. Rockin’ In The Free World w/Neil Young-(Young)
(Partway through the song Mike McCready runs off stage and hands his guitar to Neil Young. Neil comes up and plays with the band)
Notes from the PJ Message Board- the enthusiasm of those in attendance tells quite a story in itself!

(Innocent Bystander) Absolutely epic, thank you Pearl Jam, and Neil Young, for an awesome show and possibly the coolest moment I’ve ever seen on a stage. Seriously, how spritely is he? He was running around the stage like a demented school child, and what a solo! The guys faces were priceless, beautiful moment, too late to recut PJ20 or add another extra feature? Too tired to even attempt to articulate the feelings from the show, great crowd also, fantastic night. Here’s to night 2.

(RidinTheWave) That was by far the most amazing show I have ever witnessed. I totally agree with what everyone else has said so far, especially that I don’t think anybody but Mike knew that Neil was coming out. Eddie’s face was awesome.

(mcgruff10): the setlist was just incredible; huge sing a longs for the majority of the night. the band was on fire, the crowd rivaled if not better than a msg/spectrum audience. pj is in top form, i honestly don’t know how they can get better. this show definitely topped last sunday night in wisconsin. thank you pj!

(rodent): In all the shows that I’ve seen over the past 20 years, this was in the top 5 FOR SURE. You could feel so much excitement & energy in the air building up before the band hit the stage and could just tell it was going to be an epic night. Seeing Cameron Crowe on the side of the stage taking pictures with fans was great. The band was on FIRE. Mike’s solo during Black – f*****************ck. The look on Jeff’s face when he was jamming with Neil – priceless. That version of Porch blew my mind, definitely my favorite aside from the Unplugged version. And of course Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns. My heart & mind imploded tonight. The end.

(100 Pacer): The crowd didn’t seem as loud, to me anyway, as the Montreal crowd but the with the band’s friends (Cameron Crowe and company sitting Mike’s side in the stands) and family (girlfriends, wives, and management sitting Stone’s side in the stands) in attendance (Ed commented on the fact it was rare for all of their wives/girlfriends to all be in attendance at the same show) you could certainly tell the band was ready to kick it into high gear immediately. Faithfull and Nothing As It Seems (played for Dimitris, Tim came over to find Dimitris right as the song was beginning to acknowledge his request) were my main set standouts. Just Breathe slowed the momentum right down and at that very moment it felt like a total buzz kill. Once the It’s OK tag rolled around the momentum picked right back, but Grievance mixed things up a bit again because it sounded like someone was either playing in the wrong key/tuning and/or someone wasn’t keeping up with the tempo. Come Back was to follow Down but got passed over. The crowd was on board for the loud segments, and Porch was a highlight as a result. The “Man” trilogy was another high note (and a 1st for a Toronto show if I’m not mistaken). Ole was on the setlist before the “Man” trilogy and got bumped down on the setlist to then follow the “Man” trilogy only to get ignored altogether. The 2nd encore is obviously what this show will be remembered for. Chloe Dancer wasn’t originally on the setlist, it was written into the setlist right before the 2nd encore began. The PJ20 premiere yesterday definitely cast a positive shadow over tonight’s setlist and we were very fortunate for that. State of Love and Trust was to follow Crown of Thorns (another rarity for Toronto) but was scratched off. It was a toss-up between RITFW and Fucking Up on the setlist, and we know what they ultimately chose. All of McCready’s guitars operate on the same wireless transmitter frequency, so after he handed Neil his guitar he was left to operate his pedalboard for Neil as he couldn’t pick up another one of his guitars…until it dawned on him that he could pick up Ed’s guitar and join in. Ed appeared to be awestruck and in partial disbelief that Neil was actually there and joining them on stage. The song could have easily continued for another 10 minutes.

(Torontoian) My wife was induced at 2 pm today. She told me to go to this show.  I have been to about 10 shows and I have never felt like I do right now. I have tickets to tomorrow night’s show which I cannot make as my first child will be born tomorrow or Tuesday morning at the latest. If I just have to give up the tickets for tomorrow or tonight is my last show ever I would be at peace. Thanks to the best band, fan club and fans ever.

Video , courtesy TFT pals mfc172 on YouTube:

Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns – epic.

Rockin’ w/Neil!

Press reviews:
Toronto Sun, by Jason MacNeil Excerpt:

The group – in town also for the premiere of their Cameron Crowe-produced documentary Pearl Jam Twenty – had the audience up and belting out songs without any coaxing. This was particularly evident on Better Man as Vedder opened the nugget before realizing the arsenal of amplification wasn’t nearly enough to fight the united thousands.

Toronto Globe & Mail, by Brad Wheeler:

As you might imagine, the event was well attended by people judged to be important – actors Woody Harrelson and Jay Baruchel, and directors Crowe and Paul Haggis among them – but Vedder and crew do not play to Hollywood. The singer used stage monitors as a personal jungle gym and was easygoing (in contrast to his sometimes sullen singing) between songs. Before the first encore set began with the acoustic ballad Nothingman, he noted the similarities between Toronto and Seattle. “We share large concrete erections and, yeah, we know, yours is bigger,” he allowed, before adding that his town’s tower had “kind of a nice shape.” …the band endures with melodic guitar rock, leanly and boldly presented, especially on stage, where their level of consistency, charismatic passion and generosity of energy is fairly unparalleled.

A plethora of great images from the night: (all Kevin Mazur,  Wire Image except as noted)

That’s it for now, if we find more juicy bits, we’ll post ‘em. What a way to get back on it, boys!  Rock. Seriously.

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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