My review is a little late here. I don’t know when the last time was that I wrote one in this forum. For me, the MSG show on the 21st was a perfect PJ experience, better than I could have ever imagined. I caught a train in Trenton NJ with my nephew and cousin in the afternoon on the 21st and we headed to Penn Station. We made a pit stop in New Brunswick and grabbed a couple of beers at an awesome micro brewery and then hopped back onto the train.
By the time we got to the show, they were already selling the posters. I jumped in line outside of the venue, bought my poster, and then met my friend to pick up my tickets from the Ten Club. This was the only show I was able to see this year and I was really excited about it. The last show I had attended was Halloween night in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia shows were the best shows I had ever seen in the 15 years I've been going to Pearl Jam concerts. As excited as I was, I felt it would be nearly impossible to top those amazing nights, even at Madison Square Garden. The Ten Club saw to it that I would have a night in NYC that I'll never forget. After looking at my tickets and talking to my friend, we checked the floor diagram and realized I had been given front row seats. My first impression was that it was too much and I was in shock. I had never imagined myself in the front row before, let alone at MSG for the last show of the tour.
We walked back outside and I met up with my nephew and cousin again. I shared the news and they were really excited for me. They had bought a bunch of these huge Heineken cans and we hung outside for a little while and drank our beers wrapped in paper bags.
My friend and I went in early and caught the Band of Horses set. I had never heard their music before and I really liked it. Ben has an amazing voice. I took a bunch of pictures and talked with the security guard. He was really nice and gave each of us a set list, two actually, one from each night. It was hard to believe that in just a short time I was going to see my favorite band perform only a few feet away from where I was standing. My seats were right in front of Stone and when the lights went down we watched the band walk out one by one from the right side of the stage. Ed had his notebook in his hand and after he gave his wave to the crowd it all began. I was surprised that they opened with Corduroy and thought it was perfect. They fired off one song after another with such a fury and time passed way too quickly. The pace was unreal. Finally Ed took a breath (ha ha) and spoke a bit. I thought for sure the next song was going to be Dissident, but they hit us with Breath! I was stunned to hear that song so early in a set and felt that the night was going to be crazy. It was. The crowd was so energetic and the band fed off of all of the energy in the room. One song rolled right into the next.
The “slow down” set of songs was easily the best group I've ever seen together- Nothingman- I'm Open- Unthought Known. They helped control the pace of the night without bringing the energy down. The slow songs actually fueled it, which was something I've never seen happen before. Sometimes the slow songs jam on the breaks when the crowd gets going. These songs were like down shifting and then kicking it right back into high gear. They worked perfectly. After Unthought Known, Grievance came down like a hammer and the band continued to pour it on. The second big set moment for me was Push Me, Pull Me. That is such a cool song live and it sounded great. It was a lot of fun in Philadelphia and even better in NYC. I loved it. The follow up with Rats was just insane. Rats in NYC is a must see song for any Pearl Jam fan. To hear the crowd shout "Rats!" back to the stage and feel the bass vibrate through your chest...it was VERY cool. Standing at the rail there was this portion of metal on the floor that extended back away from the stage. It vibrated and moved the whole night. The floor shook throughout the entire show. The opening set played through in a blink.
If you haven't been to a show recently the new songs off of Backspacer all sound fantastic. The addition of the strings during the first encore are really special and add a lot to the music. I had no idea what song Ed was talking about when he gave his "Skin the cat" speech. After the music started and I realized what I was hearing, I was blown away. My friend and I looked at each other in disbelief. Slow Lukin was very cool. It was an incredible surprise that sounded awesome. Who would have ever imagined hearing a gunshot of a song in slow motion like that? My jaw was on the floor...and then cam Black, Red, Yellow! It was perfect! The band totally nailed it! Ed's voice sounded so cool during the song. I thought the red and yellow lights were cool as the band came together during the jam. From where I was sitting I had noticed a basketball resting under the organ at Boom's feet. I was wondering if they were going to play Sweet Lew and sure enough, they pulled it off again. It's a really fun song live, watching Jeff sing and Ed move around with the ball. From there through the end the second encore was a thrill. I love RVM and they played it with all of the energy the song can stand. I love how that song builds and then explodes at the end. I think it's a great set closer and it left the crowd at MSG roaring when the band walked off of the stage. This was such an amazing show and I felt really fortunate watching it go down. I felt totally spoiled by the 10c, especially after seeing the 4 shows in Philly. The front row is an incredible experience. As I watched the band on stage, I wished my night for everyone in the crowd and everyone who is a fan. It was the perfect experience.
The second encore maintained all of the energy of the night and the crowd never let up. You could see the emotion in Ed's eyes when he spoke before Betterman. He was very moved by the response of the crowd. As the night drew to a close, the band never let up. They brought Ben out on stage for a crystal version of Hunger Strike. The voices of the two singers fit together so well and the song sounded amazing that night. Ben hit every note with powerful clarity. I had never heard Kick Out the Jams before. That is a cool song. Watching Mike dance around with his guitar behind his head was fun and everybody on stage was having a great time.
The MSG show on the 21st was the best Pearl Jam experience I have ever had. The Ten Club really took care of me with the amazing seats. I never imagined myself in the front row before and it was very appreciated. To quote a friend- I had won the lottery of all lotteries. That's how I felt that night, and that's how I still feel now. MSG2 is a great memory that I'll return to again and again. I think Ames nailed the poster for the show too. It is easily my favorite Pearl Jam poster now in my collection. After the show, I stayed out all night in NYC with my cousin, nephew, and some of my friends from Ct. We hung out in a bar around the corner from MSG until last call. We talked about the show, the band, posters, baseball, our families...it was just a very cool evening all around. When we walked back to Penn Station to catch our train, we found the floor covered with sleeping fans waiting on their ride. Some clutched poster tubes in their hands. It was a funny scene and I wish I had taken a picture of. We caught the train back to Trenton and I sat up watching the people and the scenery pass by the window. I got home about 9am on Saturday morning to find my two boys playing Super Mario Bros on the Wii. When I showed them the MSG poster they lit up with excitement over Donkey Kong. It was cool to see that reaction and the perfect ending to the perfect night.
Thank you very much for my seats, Ten Club. The whole night was an amazing experience and I had a blast!
support The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia