Paying tribute to Jay-Z, Eddie Vedder commented the band had “99 problems but this place ain’t one.” The Pearl Jam singer sensed the mood of the audience at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center (once .15% owned by Jay-Z) on Friday, October 18th, and when he felt the need to up the intensity he communicated it with his body language and the rest of the band responded. Mike McCready wore a New York Dolls shirt, paying tribute to the legendary punk band.
The relationship between the band and their fan base is a magical thing to witness. When the house lights shone on the fans during the call and response of “Given to Fly”, you get why their fans are some of the most passionate in the history of rock.
Vedder made sure to acknowledge the audience in the top tiers and behind the stage, and this wasn’t canned show business – he clearly respected and appreciated them. This was the first concert at Barclays Center that had fans behind the stage; normally that area is curtained off.
New song “Sirens” from Lighting Bolt got a tremendous response, and it is as close to anthemistic status off the new album; a few songs from the record were not as recognizable and there was a steady stream of people heading to bathroom during a few.
During “Spin the Black Circle” McCready and Jeff Ament circled each other repeatedly. Meanwhile, punk roots were firmly on display during “Mind Your Manners”, “Do the Evolution”, and “Sonic Reducer”.
One other thing: very few people were texting or anything else on their phones. It was refreshing to see an audience actually pay attention throughout an entire gig.
If you are not a Pearl Jam fan, or have never seen them live, do yourself a favor: go see them.