I’m not sure there are words to describe the show that Eddie Vedder put on in Tempe, AZ last night but I’ll try. It was probably the status-quo for Mr. Vedder, but for me being a first timer I can’t comprehend just HOW incredible he was. It was a bucket list item for me that not only got checked off but my expectations absolutely got blown out of the water. Usually festival concerts tend to go quick, moving from song to song and trying to squeeze all the hits in. I love that style of concert, because usually I just want to hear the tunes, but Mr. Vedder showed that you can clearly have a stage presence while entertaining the crowd at these things. From highlighting the city’s Musical Instrument Museum several times to a comical response to a heckler yelling to Eddie “Hey Eddie, You fucked My mother”…Vedder had the crowd in the the palm of his hand.
“Whats her name? Does that make me your father?” He responded to the jest, while also adding “Shit, if I’d have known you were here son, I would have gotten you at least VIP tickets”
Eddie just had a vibe around him where just by looking at him and being in his aura you automatically knew he’s the coolest guy in the park. And he rocked the absolute dog shit out of it.
He played Pearl Jam classics such as Elderly Woman Behind a Counter in a Small Town, I Am Mine, and Wishlist amongst others but what has the musical world buzzing this morning is his covers.
The hit movie “A Star is Born” got everyone warm and fuzzy inside because of the incredible soundtrack. “Shallows” gets the majority of the attention, but Vedder proved that the other tunes need some love too. Pretty early in the set he mentions in the introduction to a song that “This ones by a guy from out here” and strums into “Maybe It’s Time” by Bradley Cooper/Jackson Maine/Jason Isbell and the musical community collectively lost their shit.
Bradley Cooper’s character Jackson in the hit film was partially inspired by Vedder with the former hanging out with the Pearl Jam front man for several days picking his brain. Vedder showed Cooper small intricacies and mannerisms for his rock star character and for Cooper, It’s got to be the ultimate sign of respect to have a legend like Vedder cover that song.
For me the highlight cover of the show was Vedder’s cover of “Wildflowers” by Tom Petty. He opened the song with a little monologue that tugged at your heartstrings, and with the lighting behind him set to look like a starry night scape he delivered a beautiful rendition of a simply beautiful song “From [his] other friend Tom”.
Pardon the sideways video.
During the course of the concert he remained in his laid-back surfer vibe despite a few somber moments where he wanted to recognize folk like Petty. He would quickly bring back comedic and light hearted tones with quips such as President Trump’s lack of sex. Vedder noted that the Ukelele would be perfect for our president, because “Melania might starting laying him again if he learned the uke, girls love it. And it’s perfect for people with small hands”
Throughout the night it was a beautiful scene on the shores of Tempe Town Lake and amongst the lights of the downtown. Everyone has their own favorite tunes of his, and while he couldn’t cover everything from his almost 30 year catalog he did a fine job of mixing it up with a plethora of hits, covers, and even a ukulele from 1931 that somehow sounded like an electric guitar. As a meme I once saw read…”You may have been high before, but you’ve never been Eddie Vedder releasing ukulele album high before”
The high point to me was one of two things.
1) Hearing “Just Breathe” under the stars with thousands of people singing along.
After some brief technical difficulties, the rip into “Hard Sun” the premier song on the “Into the Wild” soundtrack. For the cubs fans out there, watch to the end. You might see some familiar faces.
Picking a high point though is really unnecessary and candidly, impossible. The whole things was orgasmic.
If you haven’t seen him yet…