It had been 4,777 days since I had seen Pearl Jam in concert. The only time I had seen them live was October 21, 2000—one day shy of the ten year anniversary of the band’s first performance. I’m not a big concert guy—I’ve only been to a couple of PJ concerts and two other Flogging Molly ones—but that original concert was special. Pearl Jam has been my favorite band for two decades now. Not only to do I love the music, but I’ve really appreciated their politics and social outlooks. Hell, they even devoted a song to one of my favorite books. Unfortunately, the band hasn’t included Phoenix in any of its tours for more than a decade. So when the band announced that they would be visiting Phoenix on November 19 on their Lightning Bolt tour, there was no way I was going to miss it.
Luckily, I’d have some great company at the concert. My good friend Jenny, a long time Ten Club member, snagged us a couple of great tickets and we made a day of it. We arrived early, checked into a nearby hotel, then walked to the arena to grab our tickets and stand in line or some PJ merchandise. It was then back to the hotel for some drinks and dinner before heading back for the show.
The concert itself was an absolute blast. No opener, no special effects, just the band playing. And playing. And playing. 37(!) songs in all, a sliver under 3 hours of great music. Of course, most of the big hits were played, mixed in with a bunch of their new stuff, and even some deeper cuts.
It was a great crowd, though apparently, Jenny and I stuck out—we had several people high-five us on their way out telling us “you rock!” and two couples even make their way down to our seats to say that they loved watching us the whole time. And if they had just a fraction of the good time I did, then I’m happy for them. I will unabashedly admit that I had a rocking good time, belting out all of the lyrics and spending much of the concert excitedly jumping up and down. Given the bruises the next morning on my lower leg (apparently from repeatedly hitting the seat backs of the lower row), it’s clear I had a great time.
I really can’t wait for my next opportunity to see them in concert.