October 21, 2014

an evening with pearl jam... memphis, tn

The date was October 14, 2015, yes, just last Tuesday, one week ago, and I'm still slightly floating from the experience. My husband, Mike has ALWAYS been a huge Pearl Jam fan. I will admit, I too have always been a fan, although somewhere in the mid 2000's I sort of lost my way not listening to them as much as I did in the beginning, shame on me, not for lack of liking, just not following as closely as I should have. I lost a lot of valuable time with the band and I admit it was a complete mistake.

For many years, Mike was an on again and off again Ten Club member (fan club for those of you wondering what that is). After the release of Pearl Jam's latest album, Lightening Bolt, they announced they would be going on tour. Their first show was revealed that they would headline Austin City Limits. Mike and I have always wanted to go to Austin together (he's been once many years ago for his sister's wedding), and add to that PJ in concert, YES PLEASE! We held off purchasing tickets, we were still waiting to hear the line up for the Music Midtown Festival in Atlanta this past summer, the concert promoters were very late this year with their announcements, so we nixed plans to hit up Austin, hoping, praying that PJ would come somewhere close to us for a show. The wait was painful, I was anxious, and in the end the line up for Music Midtown, totally sucked this year. I kicked myself for not securing ACL tickets, and for not trying to purchase tickets to the 10.22 show in Colorado, more on that in a bit.

Mike and I waited and then the tour dates were released and the angels of rock sang, and said "Memphis, TN had a date, a special date just for the two of you!" Ok they didn't really sing that but that's what I heard. As a Ten Club member Mike was also able to enter a lottery for tickets. He entered us into both categories, seats (2 tickets) or General Admission Pit (2 tickets). And we waited as patiently as possible for the results to come in. Either way we would win out - a chance to have decent seats, or standing room only to see Pearl Jam live, I'd happily take either option. I was so ready for another show, it's been 2 years since my FIRST and only PJ concert, this would mark I believe Mike's 5th or 6th. I have no desire to stop seeing them live, I hope he doesn't either. I could go a million more times and still be floored.  After what seemed liked forever, the lottery results were in, and HOLY EFFING HELL - we got General Admission PIT tickets. Even after the show I'm still in shock... this was our first lottery, we got PIT, and I was blown away!!!

And then we waited for the show date... the waiting drove me mad.

Mike and I will be celebrating our 3rd Wedding Anniversary this month, and this concert was our way to celebrate, and our gift to each other. Much like our first anniversary, tickets were purchased with our anniversary in mind. So finally October 14th arrived, and we were headed to Memphis.

That morning we both worked a partial day and hit the road. We arrived in Memphis, to the Fed Ex Forum at about 2 PM I believe? Time is sort of a blur at that point. Immediately we saw the merch trailer, and a MASSIVE line that wrapped half way around the building. We quickly rushed to claim our spot in the line. It was a cold and semi wet day out, but I didn't care. I had a jacket, and determination to get the merch I wanted. Can I just say I think it's genius and awesome that we could purchase our shirts, posters, stickers etc BEFORE the show started. Allowing us to put them safely in the car, and not have them get ruined during the show. Downside to this, I stood in line for over an hour waiting to get a shirt. This did give us time to do a few things... Mike checked into our hotel, and was able to wait to get our wristbands for the pit at will call, and then have time to come meet me, to get his shirt, and poster, and stickers, and my tank and my scarf. Yep, I got a Pearl Jam scarf and it's awesomeee!

via • turnedup2eleven
After securing our loot - the poster was the BIGGEST score, and what we wanted the most, we met up with a friend from back home "What up Phil!" and Mike's Aunt and Uncle who flew in for a visit from Cali, and honestly, go to go the show, their first, for the record.  We dropped our items off at the car and hit Beale Street for some beers and FINALLY food. My biggest worry with being in the pit was that I was going to have to wait in line ALL. DAMN. DAY, and possibly NOT get to eat. I had original plans to meet up with Misty of Handbags and Handguns and Natalie of My Crazy Busy Life, I still hate we couldn't work that out but unfortunately, I had to head home the next AM right after waking up for work - I promise girls, next time!!! [Yes, I went to bed at 2 am in Memphis, and was back to work in Northern Alabama by lunch time the next day - and yes, I am aware that I'm crazy].


We hit up a little bar on the corner for some local craft beer, and then wandered over to Dyer's for what I thought would be a simple cheeseburger, and it ended up being the best damned greasy burger ever. If you are in the mood for a good old fashion, slider style burger, a bit like Five Guys but WAY less commercial, way more delicious and with a sweet set of servers, hit up Dyer's next time you're there. We loved it, and almost had it again for dinner (more on that later). FYI - I was so hungry taking a photo wasn't happening, sorry!

After filling our guts, and having a beer or two, we decided it was time to get in the General Admission line. It had been forming all day long, but honestly, the weather was crap, we got in line and probably waited another 45 mins before getting to go inside. Longest day of waiting ever.

Once inside, we were instructed to take our time, not to run, and be orderly. So we did... as we walked through our gate doors to the pit, I got really anxious, then I saw how small the pit was. Not tiny mind you, but in relation to the rest of the room, fairly quaint, small, cozy, and thankfully not a ton of people had made it down to the pit, so Mike and scurried down and got ourselves a nice little spot, on the right hand side of the stage where soon Stone would stand to play. While waiting for the show to start (another hour), we made friends with our surrounding Ten Club pals and settled in for a great night.

There was no opening act, literally just an evening with Pearl Jam which was better than I could have asked for. Standing by the stage we realized, we were indeed, only three rows back from the security barrier in front of the stage. Literally, third row. HOLY FREAKING AWESOME! Now, our trade off for this awesomeness is that I had to deal with a drunk, older woman, doing her "sexy" dance for Eddie any time he came to our side of the stage. I get that there is ONE person in every crowd that pisses the masses off, but why the hell do they alway have to end up next to me?!?! She had wormed her way up front, through all of us that were waiting there a FULL hour for the show to start, right before it was time for the show to begin. My first instinct was to tell her off, but I noticed that others were annoyed but trying to be cool about the situation. I watched a few dirty looks in which she was oblivious too, and finally a couple in front of me, the man looked her dead in the eye as she tried to push to be 2nd row from the stage and pretty much told her "fat chance, move back!" Whew, I really thought no one would say anything. We had just been told by two girls from Pittsburg about 20 minutes prior that everyone in the pit is respectful, and cool and then THIS happens and my inner ghetto fab wanna be gangsta alter ego just about lost it... I might also note I had PMS really bad so it could have been REALLY ugly. Thank you PJ for making me realize I'd rather not be kicked out before the show even started, and thank you to my husband who helped me navigate dealing with her ALL. NIGHT. LONG! Tolerating her was a chore but eventually I was able to worm my way away from her, put my back to her and enjoy the show with Mike, and the rest of our new found crew. Minus the super tall Tennessee Fan [who was a rather cool guy, just too tall] in front of me who I had to duck and weave a bit to avoid having my view of the guys blocked it was perfect.

OCTOBER 14, 2014 • PJ FALL 2014 TOUR
via pearl jam's instagram

Low Light 
Why Go 
All Night 
Mind Your Manners 
Even Flow 
Lightning Bolt 
1/2 Full 
Given to Fly 
Let the Records Play 
Spin the Black Circle 

Nothing as It Seems 
Come Back 
Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town 
Do the Evolution 

Encore 2: 
Once Crazy Mary (Victoria Williams cover) 
Better Man 
Rockin' in the Free World (Neil Young cover) 
Yellow Ledbetter

29 Songs... 29 SONGS! From all different walks of their 20+ Year career. Some rarely performed and all of which blew me away!!! [Photos in NO particular order, and these were all taken by Mike (his instagram)

 This was most likely at the end of the night - one of the encores!

 Eddie preparing to share wine with the masses, or at least the front row!

 Jeff & Stone rocking out.

Like I said, no particular order, this was early in the evening, lights were still low, 
and little to none of the "set" was revealed at this time.

Huge highlights: 

Eddie took time to walk all over the stage, and jumped into the crowd (sadly not on our side, I think he sensed all the women in the pit surrounding us might not be able to hold him up and might in fact, rip him to shreds... lovingly of course).

Lots of guitar picks were tossed by Mike, and 10 tambourines by Eddie.

Fans brought gifts for the guys, which they accepted, some put on t-shirts, others handed up items for Eddie to sign which he did gladly and handed back to the crowd, it was awesome, the love for the fans is HUGELY evident in all they do.

Eddie donned Elvis like shades (circa his Vegas like days), and then tossed them back into the crowd, as well as a hat and oddly enough someone handed up (tossed up) their cell phone, Eddie then proceeded to take a video of him singing, and all of us in the pit singing and then handed it back to security to give to the kid. How cool is that???

Eddie pass around a bottle of wine to the front row and sadly I didn't have a cup and it was almost gone by the time it made it to our side of the stage, but it's one of his trademark things he does at each show. And very cool.

I was excited to hear lots of their new songs live which they performed seamlessly, even though Eddie was under the weather and feeling sick, he had more energy than anyone in his same shoes. I never thought I'd see EV blow his nose, but stars, they're just like us right?

I believe it was after they did the cover of Neil Young's Rockin' in the Free World and the lights were up to see the entire stadium of people, that Mike shared a moment with Eddie.  Ed was scanning the crowd, waving to folks, giving thumbs up to others, smiling and taking in everyone in the room, and I mean EVERYONE he could see high or low, and he paused, he made a face like he had a question in his mind in my direction, but I could tell he wasn't looking straight at me, as he kept singing he pointed, gave a nod like, yeah!, and then gave a thumbs up... I was like who is he looking at? I turned around and Mike yelled "Did you see that?" and I said "Yeah, what was he doing?" Mike beamed... "He was looking at me, and gave me a thumbs up for my Mudhoney shirt. UM, HOW FREAKING AMAZING IS THAT??? In the 20+ years that Mike has loved this band, he goes to this show and gets a nod of encouragement AND a thumbs up from none other than Eddie Vedder! They shared, a moment. Ugh, so cool!

Seeing Jeff Ament smile, up close. I die.
The man in front of us that mentioned had stood up to the drunk chick (I wish I could describe all she was doing that drove me bonkers but it would take up TOO much space), he had a t-shirt that he was holding up at the end of the night, politely, below his field of vision and all of ours (drunk chick, not so much, she hit us all in the face at least once with her damn shirt... no clue what it said). This dude's shirt was a Luv Co. shirt - which Mike discovered later, was a cover band that Jeff and Mike were in back in the day. Jeff saw the shirt, and pointed to the guy smiling that he liked it, and the guy gave it to him. Jeff quickly put said shirt on and played the rest of the set wearing the Luv Co. shirt. After the final song, Jeff carried over the handwritten set list (by Eddie) and gave it to this guy. SUCH an amazing thing to receive. I might not have anything physical but I have these memories that will last me a lifetime.

After the show, we went into a few places on Beale to get some liquid refreshment, as well as something to eat again... it was now almost midnight, most places weren't serving... so we hit up the Blues City Cafe. I wanted diner food, sadly they didn't have burgers etc, but they did have MASSIVE cheese fries. I settled for regular steak fries smothered in cheese and jalapeƱos, Mike, Phil, and Tony opted for the Cajun fries... yes you guess it, same as mine but smothered in Gumbo! HOLY HELL, it was spicy but awesome! Warning, this place is a "dive bar" of sorts, but it's a delicious one!
The perfect end to a great day... cheese and fries... YES PLEASE!
After I ate, my eyes were heavy, my throat was sore, and my legs were tired from jumping, and standing and line, I was ready for bed. My brain was still buzzing from the show, but I knew work was calling the next day.

I enjoyed EVERYTHING about the Memphis show, and while I'm a bit jealous of all the Ten Club fans that have been literally following the band from town to town, seeing every show on this tour (how cool is that?), and I'm a bit envious they got to hear them play Yield in it's entirety last night, and a few nights prior all of their album No Code, I am so thankful we secured the place we did on the floor, had the opportunity to be that close, and celebrate our 3rd year of marriage like this. I wouldn't want it any other way!!!  We had even considered flying to Colorado when they FIRST mentioned the tour, because 10.22.14 is the Denver show. That is our anniversary, and I know I've mentioned it before, but it's also Pearl Jam's official anniversary of their first show, as a band. How amazing would that have been. Expensive, but amazing. To all fans that make that show, I am envious, but I will take Memphis with me forever.

Pearl Jam, thank you for all the memories! Thank you for returning to the south for shows and happy anniversary!!! Let's make it another 20+ years!
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Misty, Handbags + Handguns said...

I'm not a fan, but I can only imagine how great it was for those who are. 29 songs is awesome!

Christina said...

I'm so excited for you! Your pictures are awesome. I love that they mixed it up and played rarer songs. (It's pretty bad that I only recognize three songs. I should get my Seattleite card revoked. Haha!) I've seen Blink-182 ten times and they basically play the same stuff. I'm bummed that you didn't get a blogger meetup!

Lindsay said...

Pearl Jam is one of my favorite bands, I have only been able to see them once and it was about 2 years ago at the Deluna Fest in Florida. It was a dream come true! There is always that one person that can ruin your experience (drunk chick) but being that close to Eddie I am sure made up for it :)

Alan Dodson said...

I sent you an email. Thanks for the mention. Im the bald guy that had the Luv Co shirt. Such an amazing show and experience. Oh yeah that drunk lady was such a B. It was so hard to block out her obnoxious behavior.Sorry you had to endure through that as well.

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