Eddie Vedder a “Perfect Chicago Summer Evening” 6/28/11 by Evan J. Thomas

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Eddie Vedder @ Chicago Theater

By: Evan J. Thomas

Anticipation grew as the clock ticked closer to set time. You could feel the excitement leading up to his unveiling on stage as the crowd became louder. The dark red curtains rose up slowly into the rafters and perched upon a stool in the middle of a dimly lit stage he sat alone. Two soft glowing spotlights shown down on him from up above at the timeless classic Chicago Theater in downtown Chicago as the 1990’s grunge era icon Eddie Vedder himself took in what would be a love fest for him and his music.

Stationed around his stool was a variety of guitars, an old reel-to-reel tape player set up for background sounds, a foot drum and some other strategically placed items for a homely feel. It was an intimate setting that felt like you were sitting around a crackling campfire taking in the acoustic sounds of a one man jam session.

Dressed in a vintage t-shirt and his jeans looking well worn, Vedder began fingering his ukulele. His adoring fans hung off every note and hooted and hollered as hit the high notes. Seeing this rock legend perform is what these people came to see. He performed his hits with a variety of instruments from his ukulele, a mandolin, and his plethora of guitars and he even rocked out on the harmonica. His spectacular baritone voice had these people mesmerized.

As Vedder stated he has matured over the years, his sound has also softened. This tour is more about the music than the bright lights and big arenas he is used to playing with his original band Pearl Jam. Several times during the performance he bantered with the crowd telling stories about past experiences and the vintage “shit hole” Chicago Theater he used to frequent as a “young shit head” before it was remodeled and now looking priceless.

A few times throughout the two plus hour set Vedder brought out show opener Glen Hansard to lend his hand and voice to a handful of songs. Vedder also had a string section accompany him on various tunes as they sat stage left.

Vedder worked through his own material as well as some Pearl Jam classics like “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter…” which he was given a standing ovation for. He also gave homage to his hometown baseball team the Chicago Cubs with a heartfelt rendition of “All The Way”. During his finale, Hard Sun, he broke the mold of the evening and stood up and rocked out with his vintage Vedder stroll.

You couldn’t have asked for a better setting to see this legendary performer work his craft on this “perfect Chicago summer evening”.

Evan J. Thomas

Setlist:
1. Can’t Keep (Pearl Jam song)
2. Sleeping By Myself
3. Without You
4. You’re True
5. Light Today
6. Longing to Belong (with cellist)
7. Sometimes (Pearl Jam song)
8. I Am Mine (Pearl Jam song)
9. Long Nights (with Glen Hansard)
10. Far Behind
11. Guaranteed
12. Rise
13. Blackbird (Beatles cover)
14. Just Breathe (Pearl Jam song with string quartet)
15. The End (Pearl Jam song with string quartet)
16. Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town (Pearl Jam)
17. Unthought Known (Pearl Jam song)
18. Arc (Pearl Jam song)

Encore:
19. Parting Ways (Pearl Jam song)
20. You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away (Beatles song)
21. Sleepless Nights (with Glen Hansard)
22. Society (Jerry Hannon song with Glen Hansard)
23. Falling Slowly (Swell Season song with Glen Hansard)
24. Immortality (Pearl Jam song)
25. Go All the Way
26. Porch (Pearl Jam song)

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