Pearl Jam in Prague! Concert Review
The first day of July was a celebration of rock music at its greatest in Prague. Six years, almost to the day, after their last show here, Pearl Jam delivered an honest, energetic and crafted show again.
Formed in 1990 in Seattle as a part of the grunge movement that also included Nirvana, Soundgarden and others, the band has kept almost the same lineup since its inception: Eddie Vedder, Mike McReady, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Matt Cameron (since 1998) and Boom Gaspar (organ) who has been a session/touring member with the band since 2002.
Though they had to postpone a recent London gig due to Eddie Vedder’s forced vocal rest, the frontman showed no signs of bad health. His voice, stronger than ever, resonated through the sold-out O2 Arena with 18,000 fans singing most of the concert as a choir with him.
The scene could be termed “minimalistic” – there were no special effects, no backdrops, only lights arranged on the flybars and rearranged to fit perfectly to the mood of each song. In fact the whole setting was like an end of the year party in a school gymnasium.
The whole show seemed very spontaneous as every member of the band supported the frontman effortlessly. Beautiful solos by the lead guitarist Mike McReady were spot on, and you could only admire his brilliant technique, as well as the timekeeping of the groove machine Ament - Cameron. Gaspard’s subtle playing on the Hammond organ added tenderness in ballads and roaring power in upbeat songs backed by Stone Gossard's rhythm guitar.
During the set, Vedder introduced the band in Czech, remembered Václav Havel and dedicated the song Dissident to him, while criticising Donald Trump.
And the strongest moment? The encore(s), which comprised of two half-hour sets. All the lights were on in full so that you could see everyone in the arena on their feet, singing Alive. Add Neil Young’s Rockin’ In the Free World, during which Eddie Vedder was throwing tambourines to the crowd, and you’ve got a perfect ending to a perfect evening.
Pearl Jam’s concert in Prague was a celebration of normality yet virtuosity and craftsmanship. It’s hard to name any other band to deliver such honest, powerful show with a setlist lasting two and a half hours.
If they’re anywhere near your town, don’t miss your chance and get yourself there. You can find more about their tour at www.pearljam.com.
Metamorphosis Two (Philip Glass song)
Brain of J.F.K.
Do the Evolution
Dissident - (dedicated to Vaclav Havel)
Love Boat Captain
Help! - (The Beatles cover)
State of Love and Trust
Spin the Black Circle
Man of the Hour
The End - (Eddie solo)
Given to Fly
Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
Rockin' in the Free World (Neil Young cover)