Pearl Jam live at The Isle of Wight Festival
Formed out of the ashes of Mother Love Bone twenty-odd years ago, it is difficult to express how important Pearl Jam seemed by the time their second album Vs went multi-multi platinum. I thought they might become the new Zeppelin. They had thoughtful songs, lots of different moods, and were quite unlike anything else out there.
Needless to say the band had other plans. Like a Kardashian marriage, their peak success burned brightly but relatively briefly. But whilst Vitalogy and No Code failed to repeat the success of the first two albums, they did help retain the band’s credibility. Since then, Pearl Jam has continued to release albums and has established a strong live reputation.
In addition to being slightly wrinkly, all three headline acts at The Isle of Wight Festival this year have a couple of things in common: Court cases and Recent Documentaries. Pearl Jam’s court case was against Ticketmaster, and their struggle was featured in their recent documentary: Pearl Jam 20 which was directed by Almost Famous director Cameron Crowe. The film is comprehensive albeit probably one for fans more than the casual observer.
But on with the show:
Three songs into Pearl Jam’s set last night Eddie Vedder picked up his guitar and played a lovely cover of The Beatles classic B-side Rain. No sooner had the song finished, the skies opened and didn’t stop for eleven hours. Note to Mr Vedder: I’m not wholly blaming you, but next time how about playing Here Comes The Sun?
Watching Eddie Vedder in full flight remains a joy as he performs his trademark leaps off speaker stacks, ventures off-stage towards the front of the crowd, or windmills like Pete Townsend.
Equally mesmerising to watch is guitarist Mike McCready who reminds me of Mick Jones of The Clash with his on-stage presence and demeanour. Indeed, Pearl Jam played a cover of Arms Aloft from Joe Strummer’s Mescalero’s third album.
Perhaps because of news reports of mud, Vedder always kept an eye on crowd safety, mentioning it at the start of the set, and thanking the crowd at the close. Clearly the tragedy at Roskilde is never far from mind when the band play festivals.
However, songs like Jeremy, Daughter, Better Man and Alive turn into mass sing-a-longs. We left bedraggled but happy, just in time to catch the last of The Charlatans set.
Earlier in the day:
Hey you! Don’t Watch That: Watch This!
There should be a law that every English Festival has a set from the seven Nutty Boys from Madness. There’s some deep magic in numbers such as Night Boat To Cairo, You’re an Embarrassment and It Must Be Love that can transport an entire field of people to their teenage years.
The set from Madness was a triumph and Suggs is a National Treasure. Comedy highlight was surely the karaoke sing-a-long to The Beastie Boys‘ Fight For Your Right (To Party)…
We allowed Jessie J and Tinie Tempah to proceed with their sets unhindered by our immediate presence, preferring to refuel and take a ride on the Ferris Wheel.
Biffy Clyro‘s set however had the mosh pits in full flow. They have some great songs, opening with Mountains. Truly Scotland’s finest band since The Proclaimers…
More from The Isle of Wight tomorrow, as Bruce Springsteen finishes things off.
Record #61: Pearl Jam – Animal
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