I only bring that up because, well, seeing Eddie Vedder at the E Center Monday night was a lot like stepping inside a time machine. Not just because he still represents the early 90s—for me and for a lot of the other fist-pumping beer raisers at their SLC gig—but because the songs that ended up hitting the hardest were the old, familiar ones. Sure, the band has a song on a Target commercial that might do the trick for the newbies but, for fans closest to his age, the times we connected as a whole came during songs like the hard-hitting “Evenflow,” “Daughter” and even “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town.”
Granted, I’ve never seen Pearl Jam before. Not once. They’ve shunned these parts for more than a decade now and I, in turn, haven’t followed their catalog for almost as long. It wasn’t planned. It just was. Still, it’s hard not to feel guilty about that when they thunder through the brand new “Supersonic” or “Crazy Mary” or get completely rained-on sweaty on our behalf, proving that Eddie is simply the voice in a very capable jam band. Granted, his voice has some serious muscles, but the rest of the troupe is equally amazing.
“Alive,” the sing-along that didn’t want to end, proved a fantastic ending … and maybe even a beginning, all the same. That overwhelmingly positive reaction has got to mean they’ll be back in a year or two this time around, right? All those sitting in the fan club have to hope for that.
And, you know, it must at least be mentioned that, while it was cool that Vedder invited a guy on stage to propose to his girlfriend (then going on to awkwardly sit at his side while he serenaded the couple), how about the fact Salt Lake City’s own Slowtrain record store got a shout-out just before the band launched into “Spin The Black Circle”? I mean, honestly. Stew on that a while.
Sidenote: Unless you’ve $200 to spare, don’t park at Crystal Inn during an E Center concert. You will be towed by A Plus Parking and Towing Enforcement, no questions asked. And expensive lessons are the worst ones to learn. You’ve been warned.