Tuesday, February 25, 2014

18 Feb - Eddie Vedder @ The Palais Theatre

Eddie Vedder played in an old, beautiful theatre by the St. Kilda beach for three nights. I went for the second show last Tuesday, still recovering from the two weekend Springsteen shows. Ten Club gave me seats at the first level stalls, not what I was hoping for, but a good view nonetheless. Irish singer-songwriter, Glen Hansard, opened for Eddie. I was sold after the first song. He has a very seductive, sultry voice that draws you in and makes you feel at ease. And his songs were very well written. Halfway through he talked about how Eddie had reached out to him under sad, unfortunate circumstances (Glen witnessed someone commit suicide at his own show few years ago), and they had become good friends ever since. I think Eddie is just one outstanding human being, the kind we'd all like to have in our lives.

The stage design for Eddie's set looked really cool; gave a very warm, homey kinda feeling. He even brought back those bat wings used in the PJ shows. Every single one of the 24 songs performed was a highlight to me. I wasn't expecting anything obscure like I would at a PJ show; I was just blessed to be in the same room with the great Eddie Vedder. He opened with a cover of Cat Stevens, on the electric guitar. Sometimes, one of those lesser known PJ tunes, got a good reception. Small Town got a HUGE reception, of course. The Ukelele Songs section came early in the set. Ed told a morbidly funny story about depression and dealing with it. I don't know why, but I actually teared up when he briefly talked about his wife and kids at the end of You're True. The Into The Wild portion was absolutely INCREDIBLE. Setting Forth into Far Behind...WOW. And Rise on the mandolin...the way he played, the way he sang, it was musical perfection.

I was taken aback at how respectful and quiet the audience members were during most of the songs; they clapped and cheered at the appropriate moments. I was expecting lots of fans to shout out requests, but the only time that happened was when Eddie actually 'prompted' them to. And everyone followed the very strict 'no photography' policy, which made the concert experience much more pleasant. Ed adopted a different arrangement for Better Man, and it sounded much better like that as a solo performance (similar to PJ's Bridge School acoustic rendition). Masters Of War was a real treat to watch, very spine-chilling, and by far the best cover of the night. The aggressive one-two punch of Lukin and Porch was awesome; I didn't know he could pull off Porch so perfectly on the acoustic! This was when the crowd was most 'rowdy'.

Sleepless Nights got Ed and Glen singing without their mics at the edge of the stage. Their duet on Falling Slowly was gorgeous. Arc concluded the main set; originally an ominous chant honoring the nine people who lost their lives at a PJ show at Roskilde, has taken on a life of its own on the stage. It was a surreal five minutes. Ed's vocal delivery, his howls piercing right through your heart, the giant wall of sound at the end, was downright devastating. For the encore, Ed invited up onstage American alternative artist, Amanda Palmer, for a duet of her funny, uplifting song about ukuleles, Ukulele Anthem. Great, weird lyrics. Rockin' In The Free World was dedicated to the guy who Ed saw propose to his girlfriend at Saturday night's Springsteen show. For the closing Hard Sun, Ed played electric guitar to the backing track, adopting his PJ frontman persona, singing his heart out like he always does. It was a superb, awe-inspiring concert, and it didn't make me miss seeing Pearl Jam in Oz one bit. The feeling I got when I left the venue was exactly the same as after seeing Bruce -- a new lease on life.

After the show

1. Trouble
2. Sometimes
3. Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town
4. Can’t Keep
5. Without You
6. Broken Heart
7. You’re True
8. You've Got To Hide Your Love Away
9. Setting Forth
10. Far Behind
11. Guaranteed
12. Rise
13. Good Woman
14. Better Man
15. Masters Of War
16. Lukin
17. Porch
18. Sleepless Nights w/ Glen Hansard
19. Society w/ Glen Hansard
20. Falling Slowly w/ Glen Hansard
21. Arc

22. Ukulele Anthem w/ Amanda Palmer
23. Rockin’ In The Free World
24. Hard Sun w/ Glen Hansard & Amanda Palmer