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"...but we got Jimi Hendrix so fuck you!!!"
Great Woods Center, Mansfield, MA | 15 September 1998
review by Matt Aucoin
photos by Nick McNulty & Jason Bennett
Pearl Jam finally returned to Boston last night, and OH, what a wonderful night it was. From the opening strains of Ben Harper's guitar (why ain't this guy as big as PJ????) to the final strains of Mike "God" McCready's, this show was quite spectacular.

Getting to the venue, I grabbed my soccer jersey from a souvenir stand and headed to my seat. Finding my seat, I sat down and awaited the arrival of my companion. That would be later, and very short, but that's beside the point. Ben Harper came out to begin his set, and it was a mind blowing one, as he closed with Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile."

Before long, the "Color Red" began playing and the crowd of 20,000 just went bonkers. The band comes out, and I'm personally hoping for "Release", but I see Eddie strap on his guitar so I know I'm not getting that, and Eddie strums the first few notes of "Sometimes." The crowd sort of got louder and louder, and soon it was time for "Corduroy." OH MY!!!! This song kicks ass on CD, but live it is nothing short of legendary. From there comes Hail Hail, Animal, and Given to Fly, which might I add, is also much better live, and considering I love the album version, that's saying a lot. A really nice Daughter is next. Time to slow things down, and personally I'm thinking "Wishlist" but I get "Immortality." This was REALLY unexpected this early-but it was awesome, as Matt Cameron just owns this song now-he was amazing, and Mike wasn't so bad himself either.

[PJ at Greatwoods]

From there, we get "RVM," which just totally ripped, and then I hear the strums of "Crazy Mary," and from there Eddie goes into "Wishlist," and he even sang the "Radio song" line tonight!!!! "Jeremy" next, and it was an ok version, not my favorite song. Eddie had yet to speak to the crowd, but that would change soon. I see the brown Strat on Mike, and I know it's time for "Even Flow." The band kicks in, and right before Mike's solo, Eddie finally speaks ... "Boston, this is Mike McCready." yeah no kidding, and Mike went on to play one of his most astounding solos of the night. From there, the band decided to slow things down again, and went into an absolutely beeutiful "Nothingman."

[Jeff at Great Woods]From there we got the rage of the night, "Brain of J," which just smoked, and then right after that was done, Stone gave us the opening notes of "In Hiding," and for once Eddie didn't have trouble with the high notes, although he did fuck up the lyrics, changing one of the lines to "I had a bong". Now the house lights come up, and it's time for THE song, "Alive." WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW ... Eddie dancing, Jeff totally into it, Stone doing his little two step shimmy, Matt beating the shit out his drumkit and Mike just absolutely WAILING away, in what was probably one of the finest solos I've ever seen.

Well that's it for the main set—time for the encore—Eddie really didn't speak to the crowd much, until NOW. It had been a pretty shitty day out in Boston, and Eddie says "What a unbelievable shitty Seattle day it's been!" eliciting a HUGE roar of approval from the crowd. Eddie went on to talk about playing Boston venues such as the Garden (THE TRUE GARDEN, THE REAL BEST SHOW WAS THERE IN APRIL OF '94, not that NYC MSG BS!!!!!), the Orpheum, and here at Great Woods for Lollapalooza way back when. He continued to compare Boston to Seattle, and finished by saying "Boston has a lot of history, a lot of old buildings, but we got Jimi Hendrix so fuck you!!!!!"

He then dedicated the first song of the encore to "Bill," who Ed says makes him think of Boston. And Stone begins playing "Elderly Woman." Huge roar of approval, and the "I just want to scream HELLO!!" line is deafening. From there, it's bass, snare, bass, snare, meaning "Not For You" was up next-half the crowd didn't know the words to this song-if only they knew what it was about =).

From there the band let rip with "Last Exit" and "Do The Evolution," the latter of which had Eddie shaking, dancing and just having an AWESOME TIME. By this time I was worried I wasn't gonna get any of the three songs I wanted, but then I see the lights go out, and the opening strums of "Black." YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS—THE song that changed my life. There is a story behind this song, involving my friend who I had a fight with earlier in the day, and I just started crying cause of what this song meant to us and how I thought I had lost her friendship (I didn't, we're cool =)) I sang every line with as mush passion as Eddie. =) By now, I'm praying for "Baba," but I get "Fuckin' Up" instead, an awesome version no doubt. That's then end of encore #1, now for #2. As soon as I got "Fuckin' Up" I knew we would be getting "Yellow Ledbetter." Sure enough Eddie tells us "This is it now" and Mike begins those familiar chords. Now, I'm sorry, but this version REALLY appealed to me, probably cause Mike just let loose AGAIN, especially at the end, totally changing his solo up and catching me totally offguard. The band leaves and so does the crowd=I'd Give ANYTHING to be there again right now since I know they're gonna play "Release" and "Baba," but Ill take this. It's PJ—the best band there is!!!!!!