It’s a good thing I’d be happy to watch Pearl Jam any time anyone asked.
I’ve checked and I only own three albums from their 25-year plus career which doesn’t suggest a hardcore attachment.
But they’re so frighteningly good live that I’m very comfortable even though I don’t know threequarters of their set these days.
And on this occasion I was prepared to make a 14-hour round trip to see them having made almost exactly the same trip a month earlier only to be denied by a throat complaint – not mine, Eddie Vedder’s.
There we were in June, me and regular Tony, motoring down the M1 when his phone pings with a message from a mate saying the 02 show was cancelled. A quick Facebook check confirms the bad news, so we doubled back at the next junction and headed for home to await the rescheduled date.
And four weeks later we found ourselves walking past the hilarious Trump Baby balloon into the venue to see yet another performance that demonstrated the enduring prowess of this fine, fine band.
Having lost his voice previously that familiar plaintive Vedder warble was back in evidence as he and the band kept 20,000 people in the palms of their hands with one great song after another.
As well as the musicianship they clearly also care about the staging of their gigs. Where most bands playing this kind of venue have a very perfunctory filming arrangement for the big screens, Pearl Jam’s was shot in the kind of classy black and white that characterises quality concert film releases – all unusual angles and atmosphere.
They also had a lighting rig that altered its height and shape to create more intimate or widescreen framing of their songs as required.
The music is what it is. Timeless rock music. Rarely fashionable – although of course they had their moment – but never without a following. I suspect a lot of more fashionable bands would swap in a heartbeat.