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Pearl Jam at Buffalo
10/1/96 Marine Midland Arena

review by John Mastrangelo

The show was truly amazing. I had great seats. Today was probably the greatest day of my life. I went to Marine Midland Arena where I saw Pearl Jam play for two hours one of the most amazing shows ever!!! I mean, it was absolutely crazy. The sound was so clear, and the atmosphere was just right. Everyone outside the venue was ready and I talked to some guys who were at the Augusta show for 'Patriot' which must have been awesome!!!

Well, the set started with 'Oceans,' which I thought was a good possibility. It was amazing that they actually chose to play this. It went well. Very pulsing rhythm which set the tone for the evening. Eddie's voice was in fine form as always. Next came 'Last Exit' where Jack displayed his entrancing skills on percussion. The crowd was going nuts and all you could hear was everyone shouting, "this is, this is, this is, MY ... LAST EXIT!!" 'Hail, Hail' followed and did not disappoint. Eddie said "I KISS THE EARTH," and then I get to thinking. I think that this is what he wants to say. Stone was wearing white pants with a plain blue t-shirt while eddie had these blue pants with his usual army t-shirt.

'Hail, Hail' was great and was followed by 'Spin the Black Circle' which was just as good. Then came 'Animal' which was amazing!! He counted behind his back and up until then, there was little crowd contact. Same with 'Tremor Christ' which came next. Then, the show became something special which can't be described unless you were there. They played 'In My Tree.' It was slower than the album version but sounded very cool! Eddie's voice was deeper and the words were spaced out more than on the album. Mike did a great solo and Eddie played guitar which I was not aware of on this track. Then, came probably the best version of 'Corduroy' I have ever heard. It lasted forever. The jam at the end was something else. It could not be believed. There is nothing to describe it. 'Lukin' followed and the crowd was still going crazy. Then, the best version of 'Betterman' came. This was awesome. Eddie added a lot of lines to the end of the song which really added to it. It sounded great. Then, 'Not 4 U' was played. That was tremendous as always. Eddie forgot a verse--the same one that he forgot in Melbourne on the 17th, 1995. He remembered though and continued. Then, Eddie said, "We just started playing this one again. We hadn't played it in a while. It's called 'State of Love and Trust.'" This was unbelievable. The whole crowd was singing every word at the top of their lungs and this song got the biggest response out of all so far. Then came 'Rats!' They screwed up ten seconds in and Eddie said something like, "We haven't played this song in a while, but when we do, we better get it right." And they started it up again. Very good version, too. Mike did a solo I had never heard before and Stone was jumping up and down. It was a great song. Then, the regular version of 'Jeremy' came. It was fantastic. Eddie changed "mommy" to "mother" and let the crowd sing the last part of the song. Then, Eddie strapped on his guitar for 'Off He Goes!' It was an amazing sight. Everyone was sitting and the song went on in an endless space = jam for what seemed like forever. During the verse where Eddie sings, "suggest that he should relax," he forgot the words again. He sang after-laughingly "suggest that I SHOULD RELAX." It was just amazing. Then, Eddie said, "We have a request, and we're going to play it. This one is called 'Footsteps.'"

WOW! 'Footsteps' was fantastic and the crowd loved it! Then came 'Whipping.' The lights were turned bright on and the song was great. Jeff was bobbing to his bass and Stone was dancing to his guitar. Eddie kept on singing and he was awesome. Next was 'Immortality.' This song was highlighted by a killer solo by Mike and a great drum solo by Jack. Just a great song that sounded fantastic. I couldn't believe how great the show was going. Then, they played 'Alive.' By now Eddie was really interacting with the crowd a lot. He tried to get someone from the crowd to come up but he wouldn't. The version was extremely long and good. Mike had a great solo and it was just fantastic! I was wearing my fan-club monkeywrench shirt with the target on it. And, when Eddie had finished one of the verses, I raised both hands and pointed at him. He looked right at me and pointed right back at me! It was the most amazing feeling I have ever had. This was the second time that I had to wipe the tears out of my eyes. The concert was just fantastic. After he pointed at me, he waived to the other side of the venue because the spotlights were on them. They went around the venue and Eddie took us all in. He walked to both ends of the stage and really interacted with the crowd a lot.

Then, came my favorite, 'PORCH!' Once he counted, I knew what was coming. It was fantastic! Eddie spoke a lot in the middle of the song. He pulled up some kid from the front and talked with him for a while on stage. Then, they exchanged shirts and the kid did an awesome stage dive into the crowd. Eddie seemed pleased and the crowd was loving every minute of it. After 'Porch,' they walked off.

Shortly after, they came back on and played 'Even Flow.' This was awesome! Probably one of the best of the night ... hey, they were all awesome. Every song was tremendous and I just couldn't believe how lucky I was to behold such a show. Then came 'Daughter' which did not have any improv at the end. It just faded like in Vs. 'Blood' was next. That was tremendous!! At the end, Eddie sang a bit of David Bowie's 'Fame' I think. At least that's what it sounded like. Following this song, Eddie said, "This next song is probably our favorite from the new album. If we could get you to listen to the words to this one, I'd be able to sleep much better tonight." They played 'Present Tense.' It was so entrancing that I kept on repeating that song after the show. The song was amazing and Eddie did a really good job on vocals.

Then came the closer--'Yellow Ledbetter.' This song was phenomenal. Mike did a killer solo and the lights were all on. It was fantastic. The show was out of this world, ethereal. I could not believe how lucky I was to see it.

© John Mastrangelo... used with permission