I always get strange looks from people when they realise I've seen Pearl Jam two nights in a row. "Belfast?, are you not going to see them in Dublin?" I always feel the need to justify my decision, my reason for people this time around is "well they played 15 different songs in Belfast, it's not like U2 who will play one different song if you're lucky, two if you've hit the jackpot". But frankly I'd see them in Belfast if I knew ahead of time that they were going to play the same setlist. They're my favourite band, they don't play here very often so why not? They have set the bar pretty high for themselves though with their always varied setlist (in 2003 they played 3 shows in Boston playing 82 different songs as well as 11 covers, immense), so I knew I was in for a treat.
When we arrived into the Odyssey I was stoked to see that we had cracking seats, even happier when no one sat infront of us. Ben Harper played the same set as the night before but it was again very enjoyable. His new band is tight and as much as I'd have loved to have seen him with the Innocent Criminals these new guys are excellent.
Pearl Jam opened with Sometimes, a song I was disappointed to hear them open with in 2000 but was delighted to hear this time, a great little song which I've come to appreciate with time. Do the Evolution came next followed by a favourite of mine Animal. Always intense and always rockin. As there was a notable absence of any songs from 'vs' in Dublin it was nice to have 4 songs from it in the set. The Fixer had me realise that the Belfast crowd was great and just as up for it as the Dublin crowd as they sang along with the many 'yeah, yeah yeah's'.
Next up was a real treat for me 'Tremor Christ', man I was so excited to hear that song, not one I was expecting. Eddie said it was a request and my respect goes out to whoever asked for it. Such a great tune. Low Light a sweet tune from No Code was next. The 1-2 Even Flow and Unthough Known from the night before was next, Mike McCready again tearing up the solo in Even Flow and Unthought Known reminding me of why it's in my top 3 favourites off Backspacer. Love that tune.
Another super rare treat came next, 'No Way' a song only played 9 times in it's 12 year existence. It sounded so good live. Eddie's chat with the crowd was well enough received however it was interesting to see the difference between a Dublin crowd and a Belfast crowd in response to banter about 'Irish' things. A joke about Michael flatley and a reference to his girlfriend being a 'McCormick' amongst other banterings, weren't as well received as he thought they might be (he stated this). I guess the mix of Irishness, Britishness and Northern Irishness in the venue make for slight awkwardness at those moments. Eddie didn't understand it and I'm not quite sure if any of us understand at the moment what the true identity of Northern Irish folk is, but as this is not a political review I'll move along swiftly.
Eddie did mention politics himself in introducing Insignificance as a song conveying his upset that his tax money helped build planes in Boeing in Seattle to drop bombs on kids in foreign countries, whether one agrees with his politics or not it was interesting to hear his thoughts about the song. Present tense a great slow burner from the much underrated 'No Code' was next, followed by a quick 1-2 of 'Got Some' and 'Save You', a welcomed 'Riot Act' song.
Eddie dedicated the next song to someone as Stone began the chords to 'Blac'k but Eddie said 'we can't dedicate a depressing song to them' so Mike kicked in quickly with 'Given to Fly'. The crowd loved it, an amazing staple song live. Black came next with the crowd singing an extended 'do do do do do do do....', it sounded great. The set closed with an ever excellent rearviewmirror.
The first encore started as the night before, with 'Just Breathe', by now the three empty seats infront of us where filled with 3 absolute planks, but I was just about able to ignore them. Following 'Just Breathe' Eddie said he had gotten a message from a very brave man who had gotten married that day and took his guests to the show so he and his now wife could say Pearl Jam where their wedding band (I found out later there where only 24 of them at the small wedding). He mentioned their names and dedicated the next song 'Amongst the Waves' to them and asked the crowd to clear a space so they could have their first dance. Sweet.
Another favourite of mine 'State of Love and Trust' was next, what a song. Eddie then told a little tale about the lady in his life and his two kids and how much he missed them as Boom played 'Wasted Reprise' in the background, 'Betterman' then followed which predictably send the crowd into a tizzy.
The second encore began in a very unique way. Eddie explained that a very good friend of theirs Brendan O'Brien (record producer) was 50 in three days time and he's a hard guy to please to they wanted to do something special. We were asked to stay quiet as they spoke to a camera infront of a black sheet and when they sheet dropped we were all to cheer and sing happy birthday. It actually looked and sounded pretty cool. The 12 string bassed intro to Jeremy came next and brought the house down. It was a fun song and the crowd loved it, as did I. Next was another song with a bass intro; 'Leash'. So fun to hear live and a fan request for many a year, noted for it's absence for 12 years until it was played in 2006.
A cover was next, whats a Pearl Jam show without a cover? Crazy Mary, this song used to be quite the rarity but not so much anymore. It's a great song, although one of the very few songs that I prefer the studio version to the live one. The set finished in the same fashion as Dublin with the lights on and 'Alive' and 'Yellow Ledbetter' played. It was great fun and the crowd was so into it as apparently where the band. Mike McCready teased 'I Will Follow' by U2 at the end of Yellow Ledbetter. A great end to an amazing two nights.
It was a stellar show, and I think it may have just topped Dublin. Hopefully they'll be back soon!
Do The Evolution
Daughter/The Real Me (The Who)
Given To Fly
Amongst The Waves
State Of Love And Trust
Better Man/Save It For Later
Happy Birthday Brendan O’Brien
Crazy Mary (Victoria Williams)
Yellow Ledbetter/I Will Follow (U2)