"We've got a lot of emotion to get through tonight." Eddie Vedder started off the evening with that statement at last night's Pearl Jam concert at the United Center before launching into "Corduroy." It's hard not to be filled with emotion with songs so passionate and enduring, and of course, Vedder's deep, fervent vocals. He took the stage in shorts, a move not a lot of rockstars could get away with and still look like a rockstar, but if anyone can pull it off, it's Eddie Vedder.
As if there was any question as to where Vedder calls home, after the group finished the song "Why Go" he said, "Why go home? I am home," which was answered by wild cheers from the audience. He then pointed out, as any Chicagoan knows, that if you're born in Chicago you'll always be from Chicago, and that if you ever live here, Chicago will always be in you. It's with moments like that that Pearl Jam makes an arena full of people feel like a group in an intimate venue. They even got the whole place to sing Happy Birthday to friend Mike Richter who couldn't make it to the show.
They didn't play much new material from their forthcoming album, Backspacer, saying that they'd "probably fuck it up," But many of the standards were there, including a few covers. Paying tribute to their roots and in thanks to Mr. Pete Townshend, they covered two different The Who songs--"Love, Reign O'er Me" and "The Real Me." Always one to make a statement, Vedder also acknowledged Michael Jackson's death by telling how he loved Motown when young, but then suggested that we really lost him a long time ago and played Neil Young's "The Needle and the Damage Done."
After thanking the crowd for coming and humbly asking "We did okay?" they ended the show in true rockstar style, playing one more song as the house lights came up inside the United Center, Vedder even lighting up a smoke as they closed out the night with a Hendrix-style rendition of our National Anthem.