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September 2009 Pearl Jam / Ben Harper (Clark Co. Ampitheater)

September 26, 2009

Concert checklist

OK, it’s time to go to the September concert. Let’s make sure I’ve got everything.

$81 Dollar ticket.

Yes, even though the tickets were billed as only costing “$66” (and that’s if you wanted an actual seat, instead of “Lawn”) the powers that be found a way to add $14 to the ticket price, strictly for “My Convenience,” I’m sure.

Anyway, $81 ticket. Check.

$9 Beer. OK, it’s a rather large beer cup, but that’s more than the price of a six-pack, last time I checked. I suppose that $9 might be a little less than two $5 pints that you could easily pay around town.

Anyway, $9 Beer. Check.

A fan sitting next to me that looks to be so young that he probably wasn’t even born when this band’s first album came out. Like most people around me, he’s busy with his cell phone, which apparently is more interesting than watching roadies get the stage ready.

Sigh. I’ll never understand that.

Anyway, teenage fan not older than band’s first album. Check.

A parking space that has been conveniently directed to me by a process that has involved a warning sign 8-miles away from the “Concert Event,” a state trooper assisted off-ramp, 48 million orange cones, and 31 flaggers. (BTW, at least 25 of those orange cones directed everyone around the parked “Hummer-Limo” that took up about 4 lanes of traffic. (I’m starting to see where the $14 went.)

Anyway, Parking Space. Check.

OK, miscellaneous. Binoculars. Check. Earplugs. Check. Extra Jacket. Check. Extra socks. Extra socks? Oh, sorry, that’s from the “Hiking” checklist from scout camp. Headlamp to wear when searching for car in parking lot. Check. Water and extra food in case I get lost. Check.

Finally, I’m ready, and it must be time for a Pearl Jam concert.

Yes, you read that correctly. Yours truly was in the middle of the alt-grunge-rock crowd last Saturday night, checking out the latest from Pearl Jam, (whose new album is getting good reviews, according to media reports).

And you ask, was it loud? Let’s just say I was expecting a wall of noise, and yes, I did bring earplugs (see checklist). It’s funny, I noticed a guy right in front of me, wearing them, too. So I wasn’t the only crazy one there. I’ve found that wearing earplugs in really noisy situations actually allows you to hear what the people right around you are saying.

Let’s just say that some of that talk is pretty funny, and it definitely adds to the experience of the show.

So besides Pearl Jam being a band I had never seen, the show was at a venue I had never been to before – The Clark County Amphitheater. You know, one of my ulterior motives for doing the 12 shows in 12 months was to get to a few venues I’d never been to before. Honestly, if I go the Aladdin one more time, they’re going to have to start paying me.

And I thought the venue was really nice. Good sound, lot’s of easy-access seats, easy to find your way around. Long lines at concessions, etc, but they moved quickly. Big video screens on both sides so you could see everything. Nice place. The sound doesn’t bounce around quite as much as other places – the open air back and roof is really nice. If it had been a nice daytime concert, I would not have minded being on the lawn. The whole place reminded me of the PNC Bank Arts Center in Homdel, NJ.

Anyway, back to the show. Ben Harper and the Relentless 7 opened and they did a really good set. I’ve never seen him, either. I have two of his earlier recordings, and it’s mostly acoustic laid-back type stuff. But now he’s in a four piece rock band – but Harper still plays these Weissborn style lap steel guitars – he sit’s down for most of the show. They were good original songs, and the sound was good so I didn’t need earplugs for this set. He could have played longer, I wouldn’t have minded.

After a brief break, Pearl Jam hit the stage, and you could tell the crowd was definitely there to see their band. Cell phone video was going on all over. I think the cell phone video has replaced the days of crowds holding up their Bic lighters during your favorite song.

Most of PJ’s songs were pretty much the full throttle-try to make as much noise as possible type, but they did break the set up with a few acoustic numbers, and a gal named Corin Tucker (a singer from a band called Sleater-Kinney) sang a duet – a cover version of a John Doe song - with Eddy Vedder.

Vedder has his trademark gruff kind of vocals going on for the whole show, and he was really the only band member who interacted with the crowd much. My entire PJ music collection consists of only two albums, “10” and “Vitology,” so my familiarity of the songs was kind of limited. I recognized “Evenflow” and “Once” and “Daughter” and during the show I thought I recognized a few here and there, but compared to the other songs, they didn’t stand out too much as something I could name right away. I wrote down the tunes the best I could, but thankfully, there were tons of PJ fan sites with the correct set list published, so thanks Setlistfm.com!

Actually, for one of the first “Grunge” bands, I thought that PJ was actually kind of leaning toward a “Less Grunge” look and feel. You know, it’s not like the guitar player played one beat-up guitar the whole night – I mean, he had different guitar for almost every song, and yes, including the double neck 6-12-string, that he used for, that’s right, one song. Oh, and he played the star spangled banner at the end of the set.

Since when did that become a Grunge thing?

I guess those 81 dollar tickets have to be spent on something.

Clark County Amphitheater

September 26, 2009

Ben Harper and the Relentless 7

Rock and Roll is Free If You Want It

Number With No Name

Shimmer and Shine

Lay There and Hate Me

Keep It Together (So I Can Fall Apart)

The Word Suicide

Fly One Time

Up To You Now

Pearl Jam

Gonna See My Friend

Last Exit

Why Go

The Fixer

In Hiding

Johnny Guitar

Green Disease

Amongst The Waves

Even Flow

Off He Goes

Unthought Known

Daughter

Supersonic

Present Tense

Got Some

Once

Life Wasted

Encore 1:

The Golden State (a John Doe tune [from the band X] duet with Corin Tucker)

The End

Red Mosquito (Jam with Ben Harper)

Inside Job

Go

Encore 2:

Do The Evolution

Not For You (with Modern Girl snippet )

Black

Porch

Yellow Ledbetter (with Star Spangled Banner)

Note: Gonna See My Friend made its set-opener debut tonight. The Golden State was performed for the first time ever, during which Corin Tucker (former Sleater-Kinney singer) joined the band on stage.

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