Pearl Jam Barcelona review: Victory in the first round

Pearl Jam Barcelona review: Victory in the first round
Pearl Jam Barcelona review: Victory in the first round

The week seemed eternal for the followers of Pearl Jam who had tickets for the two concerts in Barcelona by the band Seattle. After the cancellations due to illness of their immediately preceding shows in London and Berlin, things were looking bad (they are also expected to los de Vder en Mad Cool). The uncertainty was hardly resolved until Friday, just one day before their first date at the Palau Sant Jordi, perhaps for that reason there were empty seats on the court and in the stands. Or perhaps also because of the high price of the tickets.

The audience breathed a sigh of relief when the group led by Eddie Vedder took to the stage at 9:05 p.m. to the rhythm of “Footsteps”, a B-side recorded in 1992 that preceded “Nothingman” and “Present Tense”, two other classics from the last century. The nearly 15,000 attendees, completely devoted from the start, put their throats to work; there was a lot of desire for Pearl Jam after six years without being seen in Barcelona.

“We are so happy to be here with you today, on top of this mountain, in one of the greatest cities in the world. The past few weeks have been very strange for us, we have suffered hardship and pain, and today we are excited to be together again on stage.”said a visibly emotional Vedder in Spanish as he read some papers he pulled out several times during the performance.

With a simple and sober staging, with no more artifice than a giant screen at the back, the last survivors of grunge showed that, despite their more than three decades of career, they are still far from rusty and have no qualms about betting on new material: in Barcelona they played six songs from their latest album, the twelfth studio album, ‘Dark Matter’, which they are presenting on this world tour. The new ones “Scared of Fear”, “React”, “Respond”, “Wreckage”, “Upper Hand” or “Dark Matter” did not look out of place.

Of course, there was no shortage of core songs from his repertoire, such as “Given to Fly”, “Elderly Woman”, “Corduroy”, “Even Flow”, “In My Tree”, “Jeremy”, “Habit”, or “Better Man”. And another doubt was cleared up: at 59 years old, Eddie Vedder still has a great voice. Just like Mike McCready’s fingers, who gave a good account of his virtuosity by playing some spectacular solos, even with the guitar behind his head.

The encores started with the singer alone on stage, with a hat and acoustic guitar in hand, singing “Just Breathe” in the most intimate moment of the night. With the whole band, they played “Life Wasted”, “Do the Evolution”, with the original video clip on the screen in the background, “Setting Sun” (from ‘Dark Matter’) and, of course, the mother of all their compositions: “Alive”. They closed with a version of “Baba O’Riley” by The Who, with the audience totally enthralled.

Pearl Jam said goodbye with Vedder giving away tambourines to fans in the front row. This Monday they will be back in Barcelona and there will surely be changes in the setlist, just as there have been in previous shows on the tour.

One thing is clear: no two concerts by the American group are the same.

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