Before arriving in Australia, i already had the Pearl Jam concert on my calendar for Nov 22. It was a concert I was going to go to no matter what. Originally i was planning on doing a solo show since i didnt expect any other backpackers to fork over 120 dollars for a rock show, yet days before I met a french guy (Yann) at the hostel who said hed go. He was a huge Ben Harper fan and never really heard to much of Pearl Jam.
So we bought tickets a few days before and were set for the show.
On show day the temperature was a very hot 41 degrees celsius. That converts to 105 degrees fahrenheit. The 41 degree day was the 2nd hottest day of all time in Australia in November. It was quite hot and it will probably be a sign of the weather to come in summer. It was a bit odd since it was around 25 degrees the day before and a 20 degree rainy day the day after. But regardless, it was a hot hot day and it was time to get sweaty for a rock concert. we got a little gooned up before the show and took the short bus ride to Moore Park where the Sydney FOotball Stadium was located. Supposedly there were 35000 fans there so you can imagine the entrance lines were long and tons of people outside the stadium just talking with friends and hangin out before showtime. Yann and I managed to cut in line and were in the door within 10 minutes.
We had general admission tickets for the field area, the first act was Liam Finn, the stadium was pretty empty but thought this guy owned it. Plays sort of rock/melodic/jam/blues sort of music. He also had a woman backup singer and instrument player in the band, she wasnt bad either. THe energy was great and loved the tunes, going to look into his cds cuz I deifinetely liked what I heard
After Liam Finn, it was time to head to the beer gardens and get some grub before Harper took the stage. It was then when I realized I didnt like concerts at stadiums, especially with thousands of aussies. the lines for beer, oh man. First i would blame it on terrible organization from the even planners, not enough booths,beer locations etc. But we waited in line for about 25 minutes just for 2 $6 beers. And to top it off, you could not bring the beer back in the stadium field area. SInce we waited so long for beer the set had already started so rather than wasting our beers we had to stand at the gate and watch the stage from miles away while we finished our beers. Poor design or too many drunk aussies but that was definitely a buzz kill. But on the bright side, i bought a great meat pie(with added tomato sauce(ketchup)) that accompanied the 6 dollar vbs..it tasted great!
We then headed back in to catch the rest of the set. It was getting a bit dark so the concert ambience definitely picked up. This was my second time seeing Ben Harper and he was just like the last time, amazing, talented and absolutely jammed. He played mostly his new songs and there were a bit I didn't recognize. He didnt play to much of his popular singles and dont think the fans liked that as not too many were very active for his set, probly all waiting for Pearl Jam or maybe Harper isnt big here in Oz. He played a quick 1 hour set but in my opinion definitely an enjoyable one. The highlight of the set for me is when Eddie Vedder for Pearl Jam came out and sang Under Pressure, the David Bowie/Freddy Mercury song cover..it was pretty great.
After Ben Harpers set we debated about getting more beer since our alcohol buzz was dying. I did not want to go thru another 30 minute wait and take the chance of missing Pearl Jams opening so decided to just stay on the field. It was unfortunate but at the same time probably a good call, saved myself some money and the hell of trying to patiently wait in a beer line.
Well anyway it was now the start of Pearl Jam's set. Immagine a giant stadium, 35000 screaming fans, a giant stage with lights and banners, a 90 degree hot aussie night, and one of todays greatest rock bands...yea you can bet energy was high when the band took the stage.
Here is the setlist they performed.
About 4 songs in Vedder told the crowd he had contracted a bit of a flu in Melbourne and wasnt 100 percent. Personally i couldnt tell he was sick, thought he sounded great and gave it his all. The unfortunate part is that towards the end of the 2 and a half hour set his voice was absolutely drained and couldnt perform the planned 2nd encore featuring some of pearl jams biggest hits. I wasnt aware of this until the day after but in the moment what they played were great. The 2nd encore had alot of guest vocals and were all cover songs. For having the flu, i thought vedder was phenomenal and after seeing Pearl Jam for the 2nd time, think he is one of the best musicians out there today. He brought out Ben Harper for a few songs and absolutely jammed together. Vedder told the crowd that Ben "Sang like an Angel, and plays like the devil", couldn't agree any more.
Pearl Jams set closed with Rockin' in the Free World, definitely a crowd mover and great song to cap the night.
It truly was a great show and a great night, yet it would have been better had Vedder's voice been top notch but for what we got, it was still a great one. The beer situation sucked but all in all a good time and this show will definitely always have a special place in my fast growing list of attended concerts
I have videos from the show but uploads to youtube take a real long time with this weak internet here, so no guarantees ill post em, but u never know