If you’ve ever been to a Pearl Jam (★★★★★) gig before, you’ll know that their setlist is constantly chopped and changed, and their sets can be an, albeit, enjoyable, test of stamina: Milton Keynes got a staggering three and a half hours of material. They started their mammoth set with Pendulum, followed by Wash; both barely comparable in reaction tothe first notes of Nothingman and even more so to Black – simply mental.
Luckily, there’s a veritable ‘best of’ section, featuring Comatose, Save You, Hail Hail, Mind Your Manners, Do the Evolution, Got Some. Lightning Bolt, and it’s a sure fire hit and is closely followed by yet more, with songs including the stunning Given to Fly, Corduroy, the amazing Evenflow, a heavy as hell Spin the Black Circle and to end the set, the incredible Rearviewmirror.
After a small halt in proceedings, allowing the thousands upon thousands of fans to chant and scream for more, the guys strike up the band once more for encore one. The highlight of this eight song sub-set has to be the incredible Chloey Dancer/Crowd of Thorns, a wonderful, fitting tribute to the late, great Andrew Wood and Mother Love Bone. Betterman, Jeremy, Lukin and Porch play out and end the encore.
Eddie Vedder knows how to talk to his fans. It’s an intimate, personal and very, very special speech and that sees the crowd hang on every word said, before they launch into encore number two. This time a five song set including a cover of The Beatles’ Rain, Daughter and Blood. Then comes the song that every single person in the world knows, regardless of whether they love Pearl Jam or not: Alive. Is there a better way to end the gig of all gigs than a cover of Neil Young’s Rockin’ in the Free World? The simple answer to that is a resounding: Hell no!