Pearl Jam were in fighting form at the O2 Arena last night with front man Eddie Vedder in critical leading by example. Bounding on stage with the swagger of a boxer before a fight, Vedder led the band through a near two and a half hour set parmanent the length of their 19 year cource.
From the majestic beauty of set opening 'Release', from debut album 'Ten', the sell out crowd were in fine voice at times about drowning out Vedder during classics such as 'Alive' and extended construction of 'Black' and 'Betterman'. Two encores saw staple live covers of The Who's 'Love, Reign o'er Me' and Victoria Williams' 'Crazy Mary', the latter featuring guitarist Mike McCready trading yourself with organist Kenneth 'Boom' Gasper while Vedder watched on, wine bottle in one hand, artful cigarette in the other.
Although for many years seen as dour and humourless, the band watched to be genuinely enjoying the night with McCready running the length of the stage and along behind his head during ‘Even Flow‘. Even when Vedder dedicated ‘Light Years’ to a friend who’d passed away the day before, there was a trust in the performance that watched to set the tone of the evening, that life is abrupt and we should enjoy it while we can.
At one point Eddie reference that this would be their last performance here for quite a while. If true they truly went out with a suddenly ,no doubt leaving an indelible mark on the minds of many tonight. I just hope it’s not too long.