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Pearl Jam in Sydney, Australia: night #3
3/12/98 Entertainment Centre

review by Brett Habel

Thursday, 12th March 1998

Ha ha, tonight the guys surprised us all by walking out with VERY cool wigs on with Ed sporting a cool blonde one ;)

Sometimes.... oohh yeah! I had been hoping to hear this song and was fairly disappointed I hadn't heard it the previous two nights, but my disappointment was blown out the window when I heard the first few chords, this is an amazing song and one of my all time pearl jam favs.

DTE ... tonight Ed went WILD!! for the first time in Sydney he did the "wolf-howl" at the beginning of the song ... great stuff! Again the singer from StT came aboard to help out on the hallelujah, it sounds great great live, the high then Ed coming over the top with his magnificent deep growl. The guys were REALLY getting into it tonight, a lot more than the other two nights and I could feel we were in for something special

".. it's evolution baaaaabbbyyyy!"

Animal ... As I sit back and experience this concert once again on tape, I have my eyes closed and am thinking back to that night, the thing I remember most about this moment, during Animal, was that the crowd was almost as loud as Ed with the lyrics, amazing stuff! Again, Pearl Jam just seem to have that little something which only a few bands have, that gift which can whip a crowd into a frenzy in a matter of minutes..

Animal is followed by Hail Hail, again an amazing version and at the end Ed and Stone have a great little chat with the crowd ...
Ed: "ahh ... good evening fellow human beings. As you may have noticed we all got our hair done at the hotel salon this afternoon, it was a five-for-one deal ..."
Stone: "... same place Elton gets his hair done ..." (Elton John being in Sydney this week).

Dissident ... I was wondering where this song was hiding the previous two nights, and tonight they finally played it ... great stuff!! Again Ed's voice is in 6th gear.

Faithfull ... I just cannot get enough of this song live!! It is simply amazing, I loved the song when I first heard it on CD but live, it is very, very close to my fav song!! I think I blacked out halfway through the first chorus, ahhh.... Mike and Stone are working overtime time tonight with magic flowing from their guitars, I mean it's just to GOOD to be true. All of you lucky Americans certainly are in for a treat come July.

".. it ecccchooos ..."
"... just be a darling and I will be to, faithful to you"

Even Flow ... YYYYYEEAAHH!!, the resident crowd choir again comes alive during this one. This is the best I have ever heard this song live, I am so glad to be here :) Tonight's solo had me in hysterics, it was magnificent. I can remember hearing a very early interview with the guys way back in the days on Mookie Blaylock, when Stone was introducing the rest of the group, when it came to introduce Mike he said, "... and this is Mike McCready, the guitar wizard" and that's just what he was on his solo tonight ... a guitar wizard.

I Got Shit ... Ed kicks of this with a little improv of The Real Me!! This Merkinball track was good on the CD but live, wooahh... I can't explain the joy I felt when I heard it live anyone who is lucky enough to grab a copy of tonight's performance will know what I mean when they have it rolling around in their deck.

".. and I fought back with my mind ..."
".. but who the FUCK am I gonna ask? .."

Just after this song finished they ditched the wigs

Corduroy, MFC are as good as ever and work they crowd back into a frenzy, but were we ever out of one? ;)

I am not to sure what this next song is, is it a new intro to Habit perhaps? (I will hopefully figure out how do make an mp3 in the next few days.)

".. and now your here and nothings changed ..."

Habit ... ooohhhhh mother!!! I wasn't that big a fan of this one on No Code, but yeah everything changed tonight; I have become this songs biggest fan. In my little setlist notebook I had written "..fuck YEAH!" It was simply stunning tonight I don't think I have moved my head up and down so quickly in all my life as I did during the final moments of Habit, it really was an amazing moment and I could feel myself slipping into the zone during this one ahhhh ....

".. I never thought you'd habit .."

".. that's that little story and here's another one ..."

Daughter is followed by three(!) great improvs, first up is very, very cool ... Candle in the Wind. Yes that's right, Elton John's tribute to the late Princess Diana, and that is followed by Ed's favourite StT tune, the now infamous Where'd Mum Go? and to finish it up we are treated to a song I was hoping to hear the full version of WMA, great stuff guys!!

Ed just stops behind his mic, strikes a pose, the crowd goes wild, he then proceeds to point to each section of audience, with each section screaming and going into fits and he does so, a great sight! And then lastly he throws his arms down to the front pit, and the only way to describe the crowds reaction is one word -- "raw."

Nothingman ... the lucky souls who have heard this have told me how amazing it is, and tonight they proved themselves more than correct. I was loving every moment of this, a few thousand members of the crowd had their lighters waving above their heads, a beautiful moment and one which I am sure I will cherish forever.

" .. burn, burn, orhh burn, nothingman"

GTF ... "Go Mikey! ..." I screamed as Mike brought us into this amazing song, he really has been in amazing form the past three nights. During the last chorus, Ed leaves the mic and does a pirouette, yeah, a pirouette. Ed really has come about during the three years since I last saw Pearl Jam live. This is just another reminder of how much fun they are all having.

Spin the Black Circle ... YYYYEEESS!! Another song I was dying to hear, not only for it brutal and powerful lyrics. If this song was a bit of meat it would be red-raw!! Again, Ed shows us his dancing prowess with this time holding his nose and doing the little wiggle down to the stage floor, very nice! Jeff was really getting into this one, really jumping HIGH during the big moments in the song!!

Ed tells the guys, "... play a little jam while I catch my breath." And what a jam it is, really cool with the crows clapping along. During the jam, a member of the pit throws an Aussie flag onto the stage and Jeff picks it up and places it over his amp ... looking good!

Wishlist is followed by a song I had almost forgotten about but one I always loved, Whipping, and for the end of the main set we are treated to the best version of Rearviewmirror I have ever heard with Jack staying on stage when the other guys had left to treat us to his amazing drumming skills, a great outro to RVM

Wow, what a night, I new it was going to be special but so far this has been beyond my wildest dreams, it has put Pearl Jam onto a higher pedestal than they were before I saw them tonight (and let me tell you that was pretty fuckin' high!)

During the break, the crowd begins a great "10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ..." countdown to bring Pearl Jam back on stage for a encore and I thought to myself "strap yourself in, here we go!!!"

Go and the crowd favourite State of Love and Trust and first up in the encore followed by what is quickly becoming a favourite of mine, Brain of J. Mike really shows another side of his talents during this one, the whole crowd is really rockin' during this one!

"ahh ... we'll play this one then ... uhhh ... "

With Stone, Jeff, Mike and Jack taking a breather, Ed starts telling us this great story about when he was 14 years old. (I really wanted you all to hear it so rather than transcribe about a page worth because it really is an amazing story. I will hopefully figure out how do make an mp3 in the next few days.)

Betterman ... to put it mildly, the few minutes during this song was close to some of the greatest of my life. It was amazing, I had my eyes closed for the most part, and I almost started to cry, it was that good! The crowd started up again and it seemed as though the band really enjoyed us giving them some feedback in terms of singing the lyrics with Ed. We were also treated with a great outro, Save it for Later. FUCKING UNBELIEVABLE STUFF!!, if you will excuse the French ;)

As the guys leave the stage, I am hoping for more, a second encore, and my dreams become reality when I see Ed come back on stage ...

"ok, this one's just between you and me ..."

Throw Your Arms Around Me ... oh my god, this is it, the greatest moment in my life, sex .. hah! This is it, this IS it ... I can't believe how good this is, I never thought music could get THIS good. My breath is taken away as I sit (well stand ;)) back and just experience ...

"we may never meet again, so throw your arms around me ..."

After hearing Ed sing this, I lost it and was stuck in the zone hoping never to return.

Alive ... With Jack, Mike, Stone and Jeff returning to the stage we knew that this would be it, our last moment with Pearl Jam for a few years so I did everything in my power to enjoy it as much as possible, and shit did I enjoy it!

"oooohhhh, I'm still alive ..."

It was over, I was a little sad that that was it, no more Pearl Jam for a few years, but hey, I had just been apart of a most amazing concert, the greatest thing I had ever witnessed!

I met up with a few mates after the show and they were just as jubilant and in awe of the brilliance of Pearl Jam as I was. Shit, it was good to chat about the concert, experience each others moments, as I walked through the crowd when exiting, I could sense everyone knew they had been apart of something special, they couldn't stop talking about it, "Did you see when Ed did that?" "How about Mikey during Even Flow?" "How about ..."

What an amazing three nights it has been. As I said earlier, Pearl Jam have always been my favourite band ever since Alive hit the airwaves here in Australia but tonight the were just put on a shelf high above anything else, as Ed said tonight ....

"What a week in Sydney, What a week." Thank YOU Pearl Jam ...

© Brett Habel ... used with permission