If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out
May 1, 2008, 1:18 am
Filed under: Pearl Jam | Tags: , , ,

Or, Why Eddie Vedder Is Fast Becoming One Of The Great American Singer-Songwriters

Onstage in Berkerly, CA

This was the philosophy adopted by Eddie Vedder as he recently travelled down the west coast on his first ever solo tour, for 15 stripped down appearances in tiny sold-out venues.

Armed with only a few guitars, ukeleles, a mondolin and a corona case-come-kick drum, Vedder showcased material from his critically acclaimed soundtrack to Into The Wild, as well as deep cuts from the Pearl Jam catalogue and a host of covers from singer-songwriters that acted as inspiration for the trek, including Dylan, Springsteen, Cat Stevens and more.

If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out

Each song was performed admirably, Vedder’s guitar playing sounding more accomplished with each passing year, and the presence of Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Mike McCready and Matt Cameron was not missed on the stripped down versions of PJ hits such as Porch and I Am Mine.

Setting Forth

While some fans were dissapointed not to hear certain songs, Vedder made sure to stick to tunes that fit the environment – When one fan requested Pearl Jam b-side Dirty Frank at a show – a funky RHCP-esqe workout performed only 3 times in the bands’ near 20 year history, he quipped – “Our band doesn’t even play that, and I’m sittin’ here with a fuckin’ Mandolin!”

Audience interaction was plentiful, with a number of stories relating to the cities he was playing in, as well as funny anicdotes, as opposed to the political speeches that often adorn PJ sets, added to the intimacy of the shows.

There was also plenty of time for experimentation along the way, with Vedder using loops and tapes to recreate Arc, the acapella tribute to the nine fans who lost their lives at a 2000 show in Roskilde, Denmark, and the Indio cover Hard Sun, where he was joined each night by openers EJ & Liam Finn, all dressed in long white lab overcoats, as if to emphasise the fact that this was no ordinary show.

And then there were the special guests – as the tour moved down the coast from Seattle to San Diego, Ed was joined onstage by Jerry Hannah (the writer of Society, another Into The Wild cover), bandmate Mike Mcready (for Hendrix-esque freakouts on All Along The Watchtower and regular PJ closer Yellow Ledbetter), Sean Penn (to read a poem for his wife), surfing buddy Ben Harper (to duet on anti-war anthem No More), former PJ drummer Jack Irons (ironically for a cover of Last Kiss, made famous by Pearl Jam just after they recorded a version of it with then new drummer Matt Cameron) and Emile Hirsch (the actor who brought the songs to life in ITW) to name a few.

And of course, no Eddie Vedder tour would be complete without the odd rarity dropped in here and there, to send internet fans into spasms of shock and joy; In San Diego, Vedder sang an original song last performed in 1989 with his old band Bad Radio, unheard in nearly 20 years, followed the next night by a cover of an early Who song, Let My Love Open The Door, a much loved gem last performed by Pearl Jam in the summer of 1995.

All of this added up to a series of unmissable shows showcasing Vedder’s range of musical talents, that indicate there may yet be a future for him as a solo artist, although few would wish to see him quit his day job just yet.

Download: Eddie Vedder @ Zellerbach Theatre, Berkeley, CA Part One / Part Two

Photo Credit: Carlos Avila Gonzalez

Feedback: What did you think of the article? Did you agree with what was said, or do you take a different view? If you were one of the lucky few who were able to attend a show on the tour, what were your impressions of the gigs? Leave a comment and share your views…


Hello World!
April 29, 2008, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

This is me, handsome devil that i am, and this is my new music blog, Walken!

Many of you know me through the PJ community as BigWaveRider, I ran the ArmyReserve blogspot site, but i ran out of the time and energy needed to maintain it, and had little passion left for it after about two years of blogging!

Here I am going to start anew, nice and fresh, at wordpress none the less (wow, that was some wickedcool rhyming) and chit chat about all kinds of great music, instead of limiting myself to just one band. I’m gonna cover all sorts of genres and styles, from the most obscure musicians i love, to the most mainstream acts on the planet, to the downright shameful secret pleasures i hold dear!

As always, get in touch and chit chat about whatever, i love to hear from you all!


PS: A quick thank you to Heather for maintaining the Fuelfriends blog for 2+ years, your writing has been a real inspiration in starting blogging again!