On the spot: EDDIE VEDDER – Live in Canberra – Review

Pearl Jam’s front man Eddie Vedder is touring Australia doing a “solo tour” with concerts sold out in every city and with tickets on Ebay as high as $500 (damn scalpers!, how we can protect the true fans from them?!!).

We had the chance to go to Canberra to see Eddie live at the Royal Theatre, who changed lot of the songs from his set list compared with the Brisbane’s show.

Canberra is known for its quiet environment, but last Tuesday 15th, the streets were full of Pearl Jam fans in every pub, many of them traveling from different cities and even from overseas. You could already feel the excitement even hours before the gig starts.

Eddie arrived to do sound check around 3 pm. Fans around the area can hear him and were happy that Eddie was preparing himself before the big time. Everyone hoped that they could get an autograph from him and Eddie did not disappoint his fans. Like a true professional, he stayed even after his rehearsals and helped with the opening act of Evil J and Saint Cecilia as we could hear from outside.

The time came, 8 pm and people went inside, no cameras or mobile phone were allowed in this is due to the intimate kind aura of the venue and also to avoid the artist to be distracted by flashes of the cameras. The show opened with the performance of Australia’s Evil J and Saint Cecilia. People really enjoyed a soft and quiet performance of this local band that lead to the excitement for the main act to begin.

At 9.05 pm with a full house the time has arrived, lights went off, and as the sound of “Just Breathe” played at the background…a spotlight was then switch on and as Eddie walked on the stage, people went totally mad.

Eddie, armed with only guitars and ukuleles, started singing and his amazing voice resounded in the entire venue with Daniel Johnston’s song “Walking the Cow” followed by Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage”. At this moment, people were already in heaven; probably because that was the only time they have seen Eddie played those 2 songs alone. Nevertheless, people were waiting for some Pearl Jam originals and their wish were granted when he  started  singing No Code’s “Sometimes” and then made people cry with his rendition of  “Just Breathe”, “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” and others, ending it with a rare acoustic version of “Betterman”.

Between songs Eddie interacted with the crowd but was annoyed from time to time due the some people who were already drunk. But Vedder  kept his composure and as the veteran singer that he is, still managed to exchange joke with fans who asked what’s the name of the hotel he was staying. He also gave anecdotes about the lights of the stairs of the place, calling them “a competition show, where you can win a Jet sky behind door number 1″ and explained how hard it was to reach high notes when the ceiling is low adding “That’s why Mariah Carey performed only in big stadiums”.

After performing Pearl Jam’s songs, he started changing the musical instruments he was using and played a couple of covers including Bob Dylan’s “Master of the War”.

All of these made the crowd wanting to hear more songs from his album/soundtrack “Into The wild”. Eddie gave the audience a special surprise when sang a new song which hasn’t been released yet and in which he said he just he just finished one week ago called “Sleeping by myself”.

Another highlight of the venue was when Eddie invited a fan to hold the lyrics of Midnight Oil’s “One Country” for him, saying Peter Garrett and the band were a big inspiration for him and for Pearl Jam. After this great moment Eddie played “Porch” and the crowd went mad! Everyone stood up and all hands up in the air and this was how the first part of the show ended.

A couple of minutes later Eddie came back to start the second part opening it with James Taylor’s “You can close your eyes”. He did 6 songs first then he invited one of the girls from Evil J and Saint Cecilia to join him on stage for a couple more songs.

Initially, Eddie was meant to play 5 songs in the second act, but some fans were screaming the entire gig to hear songs like footsteps or Immortality, and Eddie granted their requests. When the first notes were played in his electric guitar for “Immortality”, he then suddenly stopped and said “This might be the first time I’ve played this one live”  and requested one girl from the audience to  “just give me the first line and i will remember”…just one line and “IMMORTALITY” made every single fair dinkum Pearl Jam fan cry and sing with him. It was followed by Yield’s “Wishlist” and Backspacer’s “The End”.

People were already happy, but Eddie had one more song to give to them: Indio’s “Hard Sun”, this time he sang it with Evil J and Saint Cecilia.  At that moment, every single person from the upper area came down, thus making the front area a full standing zone and this made the encore truly one of the best. Everyone truly enjoyed one of the most amazing gigs ever made, a unique and an intimate show with Eddie Vedder.

If you ask us for a conclusion of what we experienced there, we could say so many things, every song was perfect, we can even say that sometimes the songs sounded even better than in albums. That’s why, we know that Eddie is not only the front man of one of the best bands in the world, he is also a true artist who doesn’t need studio elements to fix his voice, making him one of the best singers and composers in rock history.

Eddie Vedder, simply will “keep rocking in the free world” – A MASTERPIECE CONCERT ON IT OWN! , A “MUST GO” GIG!

Eddie’s set list Canberra –  Royal theater:

  1. Walking The Cow (Daniel Johnston cover)
  2. Brain Damage (Pink Floyd cover)
  3. Sometimes (Pearl Jam cover)
  4. Just Breathe (Pearl Jam cover)
  5. Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town (Pearl jam cover)
  6. Parting Ways (Pearl Jam cover)
  7. Unthought Known (Pearl Jam cover)
  8. I’m Open (Pearl Jam cover)
  9. Better Man (Pearl Jam cover)
  10. Millworker (James Taylor cover)
  11. Masters of War (Bob Dylan cover)
  12. Rise
  13. No Ceiling
  14. Far Behind
  15. Guaranteed
  16. Sleeping By Myself
  17. Can’t Keep (Pearl Jam cover)
  18. One Country (Midnight Oil cover)
  19. Porch (Pearl Jam cover)
  20. You Can Close Your Eyes (James Taylor cover) (with EJ Barnes)
  21. Throw Your Arms Around Me (Hunters & Collectors cover) (with EJ Barnes)
  22. Society (Jerry Hannan cover)
  23. Immortality (Pearl Jam cover)
  24. Wishlist (Pearl Jam cover)
  25. The End (Pearl Jam cover)
  26. Hard Sun (Indio cover) (with EJ Barnes)

* Top Picture: Pearl jam live in Sydney Nov, 22