Overall vibe: “It’s gonna be a good one tonight,” Eddie Vedder said matter-of-factly towards the end of “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town,” the fourth song in Pearl Jam’s set, and the man did not disappoint. The first of two consecutive PJ shows at the stadium featured your typical sea of hands (or cell phones) held high and singing along—even during covers—but no one was more enthusiastic to be there than Mr. Severson himself who, despite the small matter of his pushing 50, ran laps around the stage and swung from light fixtures like it was ’91 at the Crocodile Café all over again.
Most memorable moment: They might be nearly 3,000 miles from their native Seattle, but the band has held a special place in its heart for the City of Brotherly Love since it played to a much smaller crowd at the Legendary Dobbs on South Street more than two decades ago. At one point, Vedder, proudly displaying a Rocky t-shirt under his characteristic plaid button-down, had the lights brought up and recalled the time he and the boys played one of their most iconic area shows back in 2009: “We tore down the Spectrum. Fuck it, let’s tear this one down, too ... slowly, piece by piece.”
Scene stealer: The lack of an opening band admittedly makes it easier to single out an MVP, but special props go out to drummer Matt Cameron for being able to pull double duty with fellow grunge gods Soundgarden and guitarist Mike McCready for having chops that shone brightest on cuts of “Why Go” and “Alive.” Oh, and I had the pleasure of sitting directly in front of longtime WMMR jockey Pierre Robert, who’s just as warm and friendly as he sounds during his midday broadcasts.
Time for a big Bang breakthrough?