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"There's a lot to be said for...Pittsburgh"
Star Lake Amphitheatre, Pittsburgh, PA
25 August 1998
By John Mastrangelo
Well, let me start off by saying that I didn't think PJ could ever top their Montreal show, but sure as hell put up a good effort in Pittsburgh. I've always loved rarities in sets, and none more than what Eddie came out with before the show...Throw Your Arms Around Me....FANTASTIC! His voice was amazing and crystal clear...the venue had nice sound! I never thought I'd ever hear that song live, but amazingly, it happened.

It rained all afternoon in Pittsburgh, and the parking was one big mud-pit, but right around show time, the sun was starting to peak out through the clouds. It was going to be a nice night...and Throw Your Arms Around Me was just the beginning.

Pearl Jam came on to the stage and the lights went out...I knew what was next...the song I wanted to hear them open with for five years...RELEASE! was so beautiful. I really don't know if there's a better opening song.

Next up was a real tight Brain of J, with the whole band really into the show. I had a great view...15th row almost directly in front of Jeff, and little more towards Ed. Anyway, LAST EXIT came next, and it rocked! This song has so much more depth than when they first played it in 95, it just gets better and animal. It seemed that Last Exit was the song that REALLY fired up the crowd...

CORDUROY was next, and Stone was really into this song...he was jumping all around, just being Stone. He's such a great performer when he plays to the audience, and doesn't have his back to them...

I GOT SHIT was outstanding! One of my favorite new songs and this version left no doubt about it...Eddie was on tonight, as was the entire band. Matt was drumming like there was no tomorrow(I sure hope there was...Cleveland here I come). To tell you the truth, I didn't really expect Pittsburgh to be that great of a show, I figured that they'd save themselves up for Cleveland, because Eddie mentioned Cleveland and Detroit in his little speech in Santa Cruz in 97, but it turned out...Pittsburgh was the better of the two far.

Then, for the first time, I got to hear one of my favorites off of Yield: FAITHFULL. Eddie was kicking ass on this song...the entire crowd was singing along, and it seemed like he was really getting off on the energy...the whole band was energetic, Mike kept running over to Stone, and vice-versa. Eddie spelled out MYTH in sign language and Matt got the entire crowd clapping in unison on this one!

EVENFLOW is always a crowd favorite, and this version was something to behold. Every show I've seen, Mike has just been an absolutely standout. He's beyond unbelievable....heıs really the one member besides Eddie that could NOT leave in my opinion...his solos and talent(recently songwriting) are superior to everyone. AMAZING guy, and I have a lot of respect for him. Jeff was having a blast during this song, and Matt was on fire!

JEREMY was next, and Eddie poured his heart into this looked like his face was going to explode, it was so contorted with anger, and Jeff was getting into it a lot...not as much as I expected, but more than the other shows. After Jeremy, Ed mentioned how it had been a while , and that they were going to play all their songs, which got the crowd really pumped, and I knew then that this show was definitely the one to be at...I shouldn't have moved back to the center of the venue from my 3rd row seats in front of Mike...but my tape came out awesome so I guess it was worth it...tought choice.

MFC came next, and Ed modified the lyrics to "there's a lot to be said for Pittsburgh.: I was really happy about what a good version it was that they played.

REARVIEWMIRROR was another treat...this was the version that I'd been waiting for, absolutely amazing. You come to expect this level of Pearl Jam, and they usually don't disappoint, but this song was just so far above what I expected...the boys did this extended jam with Eddie singing the lyrics "I hear the music in my head, I'm just trying...., ooh please let me go, I know what it's like, I know you'll try to get out, I know there's nothing....?" The strobe light came on and the lighting effects for this song were phenomenal...really something to behold.

WISHLIST was next, the mirrorball coming down as always, making it really beautiful and adding a lot to the song. Ed used the e-bow and forgot the second verse of the song saying "I forgot..." He changed the lyrics to "I wish I lived in your hometown, sometimes, it just doesn't come around."

DAUGHTER was next, and it was also one of my favorite versions of this song...right up there with Montreal....Ed did those crazy vocal effects again, and Stone was living it up on stage, and then, Ed sang "I woke up this morning, things were looking so good. I'm looking California, feeling Pennsylvania..." That's right...OUTSHINED! Nice! Then he sang, "I wanna live, I wanna live, I wanna live, I wanna live longer, I wanna live longer, just a little bit longer" ...AMAZING rendition I wrote in my notes...Eddie didn't want to end the song but everyone else stopped playing.

DO THE EVOLUTION was next and this had SO MUCH ENERGY! The cd version sucks in comparison to this song live...I really hate that about PJ...I feel that lately for a lot of their album tracks, they don't have that "live" feel....bring back the production of Vitalogy, that had awesome sound and great clarity. Stone tore up his solo and was facing the stage the entire time. Then Eddie starts to talk: "Alright, the way things are going now, the next step in evolution will be a electric outlet in our ass, a microsoft number give to us at birth, and a chip planted in our ear, but above all those previously mentioned, I would rather have wings any day..."

GIVEN TO FLY...I saw that one coming Eddie. This version was definitely anthemic and something I'll never forget. The way the entire crowd interacts with the band on songs like Faithfull and Given TO fly is really something special. Next, Ed starts counting 1,2,3,4...and I'm thinking Oh my god...PORCH, but alas, he starts again...1,2,3,4 and into...

ELDERLY WOMAN. It was a nice version, but Porch would have been better. Stone played guitar in the beginning, but Ed did not...weird, a bit of a change from normal. Eddie had this great look on his face when he sang the "hello" part of the song. Next up..

ALIVE! WOW! This ruled. The entire band is loving it...Stone and Jeff are next to each other jamming....Mike is tearing the house down, and Eddie is having a great time.

For the first encore, the band walks back out after about 8 minutes backstage, and a t-shirt says No on the front and Way on the back...Eddie picks it up and says "My answer to that...No...Way!" which got a huge roar from the crowd. Then he said, "We can try, shall we try?(huge applause). It will be the first time we played it live I believe(another huge applause)." Then he asked everyone on the lawn... "Did it rain on you tonight....Ain't it been a nice night I believe! We looked forward to making our way back and our friend George, this is his hometown, and I'm glad we finally made it....Anyways, we're going to give this a go..." and they played...

NO WAY! Ed played guitar, Matt was watching Stone intently for the rhythm...and Eddie even liked the way it turned out and thanked the crowd! I think Ed might have use the e-bow for this one too...then he gave the shirt back to the person that threw it up on stage.

Next came ANIMAL, and like I said before...itıs one of my new favs and it didn't disappoint...most of the crowd was doing the counting along with Eddie...I held up my banner for PORCH yet again, and he just nodded, but didn't play it...instead, they launched into an AWESOME version of Hail Hail...Mike was going apeshit...I can only imagine what great closeups there were of him on the video screens...he was ON tonight.

NOT FOR YOU featured a nice Stone solo, and a very passionate Eddie....he was really angry when singing this song...introduced it with..."Make no mistake about it, this is not for you..."

NOTHINGMAN came next, and I just absolutely love this was always my favorite off of Vitalogy, and now I'm so glad they've been playing it live...I could hear it twenty time in a row, and I'd never get sick of was so wonderful. Lightning bolts in the background...Eddieıs voice was just magnificent tonight.

Next came BLACK...this version was like 7 minutes....Mike absolutely ripped it up! I mean he definitely stole the show on this one. Ed says, "This one's for a guy I met earlier named Scott, wherever you are Scott? This is for you." This was such a beautiful version, I can't explain it...I don't know the right adjectives to use. I didn't know who to look at: Ed, Mike, Stone, Matt, was just such an amazing moment in the show. McCready was over his amp in front of him and on the edge of the stage, with his eyes closed, head back, just wailing away....

Then, what I hoped for...ROCKING IN THE FREE WORLD!!! This was absolutely the best song live that I've seen PJ do in any of the four concerts I've been to I think. This was really something...Once again, Mike was amazing...I really wanted to hear this song. Mike was shouting the lyrics to the song and running around the stage doing kicks and what not. Ed threw a tambourine into the crowd after the second verse...landed about 10 seats to my right...ohhh! Ed changed the second verse to "you'd be better off dead" and Stone got a kick out of it. The whole band was going crazy on stage. It was the greatest thing...Ed ran along the front(where I WAS) and shook/slapped hands on both ends...I know Mike D. got to shake his hand. Stone was loving every moment of this song...they definitely should play it more. Ed took a look at the crowd and it was sick...he had this huge grin on his face and just mumbled to the guy in front of him "This is really something..." The whole crowd was waiving their arms in unison, like the Pinkpop vid except 10x better because I WAS THERE and I saw was magical...thatıs what I'm looking for...Magical is the best way to describe their performance. Ed says.."Looks good from! This is the shit!... A thousand points of light, for the Pittsburgh man..."

Then the band came back on for YELLOW LEDBETTER (again...I really don't want to hear this song again...Iıve been to five shows in my life, and they've closed every one with Yellow don't know what I'd give to see a show that closed with Porch with a great jam at the end ala 94....god I miss that song so much!) But Yellow Ledbetter was decent....while Jeff stopped playing ...Mike D thanked him and got his water bottle! Nice job bud!

This show was magic, not quite as good as Montreal in my opinion, but nonetheless....fucking great! I'd say a 9++....