Every year on this day, I remember one of the concerts that I was, and still feel, very grateful for having attended. That would be seeing Pearl Jam at Randall's Island (Downing Stadium) in 1996. Being a big Pearl Jam fan at a time when they really had done very few shows in the New York area, there had been few opportunities to see them. I had gone to some lengths in trying, which I went into some more detail with in the following blog entry, which was originally published last year, and which documented my experiences regarding that concert, which was part of the 1996 tour supporting No Code.
From that point onwards, I always associated September 29th with that Pearl Jam concert. Ironically, this was reinforced even more when I saw Pearl Jam yet again on this date, this time in Boston, in support of the "Vote for Change" tour against George W. Bush.
That, too, was an amazing show! Pearl Jam fans like myself often follow the setlist that the band performed for concerts, and hope to see some rarities. Currently, there are still some songs that I never actually got to see them perform live, including "Hunger Strike" and "Garden". It always seemed that they would play one, or both, either the concert before, or the concert after, the one, or ones, that I went to. Always kept missing them.
But on that day, I was truly blessed! They performed a lot of great tunes, and just had an awesome setlist! The most memorable song (for me) was "I Have a Feeling", a cover of the Beatles. It was one of the songs from their early days, and they had not performed it in years. That felt like a thrill!
There were other songs that I had never seen them perform that day, as well. "The New World" was one of them, as well as "Man of the Hour", which I think was a first for me by then. "American in Me" as well. At the time, I was especially thrilled also to hear them perform "Alone". It was a song that had seemed a relative rarity for a while during their setlists, but which they have begun to play more frequently since. Also, Eddie had come out for a solo acoustic piece, singing "The Patriot in Me".
That really was an awesome night, as well! I would see them in Reading a few nights later (again, I was a fanatic), and I remember being thrilled with them performing "Masters of War" (cover of Bob Dylan), which also had seemed like a rarity, and a real surprise with a cover of the Dead Kennedy's "Bleed for Me". That was incredible and unexpected, and the DK had always been among my favorite punk bands! That entire tout was just a great time to see them, not least of all becaused it was in support of a good (if ultimately unsuccessful) cause: getting the worst President in American history out of the White House!
Still, the most memorable concert of Pearl Jam that I went to would probably still remain the Randall's Island show. There was just something incredible about that first ever time seeing them. It is also probably has the distinction for me, personally, as the only date on the calendar that I immediately associate with a concert that I went to, although perhaps now, December 12th may come close. Then again, that concert, which was huge news at the time, was quickly overshadowed by the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School that transpired maybe 36 hours after the end of the concert.
In any case, I already posted e blog entry earlier today, as a tribute to that concert and my memories of it:
And here's a link to the other September 29th show, which I also attended (I was really a Pearl Jam nut!) eight years later in 2004, in Boston's Fleet Center, for the Vote for Change tour, with Death Cab for Cutie as the opener: