Pearl Jam Lights up Oakland Arena
Oakland Arena — May 12, 2022
Pearl Jam is on a short tour of the US West Coast through the month of May stopping in for a two night set at Oakland’s RingCentral Coliseum. Their time with us last night was in part a make-up show for one that was cancelled back in 2020 due to the Covid19 pandemic. The arena was in full attendance by all that were shutout and fans who haven’t seen Pearl Jam in years or at all according to one fan-made sign that read “The last time I saw Pearl Jam I wasn’t born yet”. Eddie figured that the mom was pregnant at the time, perhaps back in 2014 at the Bridge Benefit concert. My last Pearl Jam concert was at the outdoor Coliseum next door back in 1997 when they opened for The Rolling Stones, and endured an entire set during a heavy downpour.
This show was an indoor show, though, something that many in attendance had been longing for quite sometime. The crowd showed their love by remaining standing in all corners of the arena for the entire show belting out the songs along with the band. Many online have remarked that the setlist was “the best ever” starting off with the Neil Young cover of ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’. A few other covers would make their way into the set in the encore, but the bulk of the song list read like a “Best Of” hitting on Corduroy, Superblood Wolfmoon, Nothingman, Even Flow, and Given to Fly which really got the band and the crowd in tune.
Vedder probably has more stories than a book could hold which made for great moments in between a few frenzied songs. He relayed one story about going down the California coast in an old Falcon (?) where he had cut up pieces of surfboard to sit on, and listening to a new tune in the works while he sang his ass off to it. It was the song ‘Nothingman’.
Prior to the show one of the band members, drummer Matt Cameron, tested positive for Covid. He sat out the night and was replaced with not one, not two, but three drummers. Opening act Josh Klinghoffer (former guitarist for Red Hot Chili Peppers) and drum tech Richard Stuverud sat in for Cameron, trading off every four or five songs. It was the biggest venue Stuverud had ever played to and he was loving it! What a beast up there!! The third and final drummer came during the final song, one that no one saw coming. Early on he was picked out of the audience while wearing a t-shirt with all of the current and former drummers names on it. As the evening drew to a close one song remained unsung. ‘Yellow Ledbetter’ is fan favorite and the luckiest fan in attendance, Josh Arroyo, got to play drums on it to close out the night. Truly something he and his daughter will not soon forget.
To say this was a great show misses on the added things that make it complete. The energy the band creates, their drive and love of music, the audience in attendance giving back to the band, singing their songs to them, and the special moments of stories and a lucky fan on stage (we all were Josh last night) transcends the event itself. It’s an experience that we all get to share for a long time, and say “Hey, were you at that one when the guy got up on stage and played drums?”
Pearl Jam heads off to Europe during the summer for a few months then returns to the US in September for the balance of their US Tour in support of the new album ‘Gigaton’.
Rockin’ in the Free World (Neil Young cover)
Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
Given to Fly
Do the Evolution
Not for You (Sleater-Kinney’s Modern Girl as outro)
You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away (The Beatles cover)
Baba O’Riley (The Who cover)