Arizona Daily Wildcat
Inclement weather, screaming fans mark the band's performance
Pearl Jam's lightning storm of red, green and purple flashes was more powerful than the one caused by Mother Nature Saturday night.
Blue lights and smoke filled Phoenix's Desert Sky Pavilion as 14,000 screaming fans jumped to their feet and sang along to the words of "Long Road." Lead singer Eddie Vedder and his band members took control of both the stage and the attention of the audience at 8:45 p.m.
Dressed in white pants and a denim jacket, Vedder danced and jammed on his guitar for two hours, waving around his signature long, curly hair and performed more than 20 songs - each with its own color lighting scheme.
Interaction between Vedder and the audience did not begin until 15 minutes into the concert, when Vedder yelled, "How is everyone doing tonight?" Then after waiting for the cheering fans to get even louder, he said, "What a beautiful night for a concert!"
Before singing "Wishlist," from their 1998 Yield album, Vedder told the audience he was dedicating the song to his Uncle John.
"He taught me everything I know, but it was my Uncle Fred who taught me how to smoke pot, which got me to where I am now," he said, as the audience cheered in response.
Many of the songs performed by the band were off their newest album, Binaural, released in May, such as "Nothing as it Seems," "Thin Air" and "Grievance" - which the audience sang along to, while waving their arms in the air.
After an hour and a half of wild and crazy dancing on stage, Pearl Jam ended with "Rearview Mirror," and left the audience clapping and shouting for more.
"Eddie, Eddie..." they chanted, until Vedder reappeared on stage and yelled "Thank you Arizona!"
Before beginning his encore set, Vedder said he had expected better weather in Arizona than in his hometown of Seattle.
"We only came back to this fucking place to get some sun, but at least your thunder sounds better than ours in Seattle," he said as the audience laughed.
Vedder also encouraged the audience, which he said he knew had many students in it, to vote for the Green Party candidate Ralph Nader.
"We would never suggest who to vote for, but fuck it! Vote for Nader!" he shouted.
The half-hour encore began with "Once," and went on to include "Crazy Mary" and "I Got Id." The audience clamored for more, and the band gave them their wish.
Red lights danced around Vedder as he jumped up and down singing the words, "It's evolution baby!" while grabbing hold of the microphone.
"Ten years ago tonight we were sitting in our basement, drinking beer and practicing," Vedder said, about last night's 10-year anniversary of their first concert.
"You want one more?" Vedder asked, to which he got an overwhelming positive response. He grabbed a tambourine in his hands and began singing "Teenage Wasteland" and prompted the audience to sing one line on its own. He walked from side to side of the stage to get everyone clapping.
After throwing drum sticks and the tambourine into the audience, Pearl Jam left the stage for a second time. But the audience knew the concert was not yet over. They kept chanting Eddie's name until he returned with his ukulele and played "Soon Forget."
When the rest of the band came back on stage, all the lights in the pavilion came back on, so that fans were able to see one another singing the words to "Yellow Ledbetter."
The band made their grand exit for the third and final time at 10:45 p.m. as Vedder yelled out "Thank you and good night!"