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[the behind the head shot]
The Fabulous Forum!!!
The Forum, Englewood, CA | 13 July 1998
review by Darlene Patten
photos and setlist scan by Gina Gillman
There's just one thing I'm always going to think of when I remember seeing Pearl Jam at the Forum—something I still can't get out of my mind even now — BABA FUCKING O'RILEY!!!!! Oh man never expected it — never thought I'd see it in a million years. But it wasn't just a cover it was explosive. They made this song their own almost making me forget I'd seen this song done before at the "Fabulous Forum" many years ago. And you could sense they were just as excited doing it as the blown-away crowd — complete with Eddie doing a Pete Townshend slide on his knees after pouring beer in a line across the stage and of course smashing his guitar. This version was definitely done with the spirit of the Who — completely unfucking believable!!!

Nothing like talking about the end first but hey it's kinda hard not to ... it will be a lasting memory. Back to the beginning. All my life I've wondered what it would be like to be in the front row of a concert — believe me I've never come close. Thanks to the Ten Club and my friend Gina I was about to find out. Myself, I had gotten 5th row seats for another city from the Ten Club and I was already in shock about that when a stunned Gina called me with the news. In fact she got so tired of me asking "are you sure?" that she xeroxed a copy of the tickets so I could see for myself. Even so, neither one of us could believe it until we made it down to the front row that night and got our front row wrist bands — we were definitely in shock.

[Mike has great legs] The night started out with Eddie coming out to introduce the comedy duo Tenacious D to only a partially filled and mostly unaware audience. X had a great set, but all I could think about was in a few minutes PJ was going to be taking this same stage and were going to be THIS close. When reality hit and PJ finally came out on stage I was so stunned it actually took me about a minute to realize that Mike, who was standing directly in front of us, was wearing a skirt (held together with duct tape) and torn fish net stockings! Of all nights to be in the front row in front of Mike! I thought of it later — it was quite a ballsy (no pun intended) move on his part with the much celebrated L.A. press and assorted celebrities in attendance. Much attention was given to the these shows cause they haven't performed in L.A. for ages.

This show from start to finish was pure joy and the audience was definitely into it (including singing along loudly to many songs). The band seemed to sense from the beginning this crowd was not your typical blase L.A. crowd and seem to feed off their energy. To be able to see the bands' expressions, how they relate to one another, and most of all to realize they were loving this as much as the audience was amazing beyond words. And Mike what more can you say — this was HIS night. He became this different character, very playful, very much the showman. The word that comes to mind (for this night AND for this tour it seems) is passionate — both the band AND the audience were in a frenzy most of the time.

Some of the highlights for me were an alternately passionate and intense Not For You (me and YOU with a big Ed smile) always a favorite of mine and a surprise cause it seemed to have been missing in action lately. And Ed dancing during DTE also got the crowd going ... is this the perfect concert song or what?? Another surprise was a beautiful Present Tense. My god! Ed's voice is amazing right now. And Spin the Black Circle ... manoman the highlight was Ed literally spinning Mike around without missing a note!! And of course Rearviewmirror — could never get tired of this one, it is incredible live, the crowd just went crazy.

[PJ plays the Forum]

Elderly Woman started the encore (another I never thought I'd see). This was the "bring out the lighter" song with the crowd singing along. When Ed sings "I just want to say HELLO" everybody sings HELLO loudly eliciting a big grin from Ed — a total connection with the crowd. Better Man, of course, got a huge reception and the Save it for Later tag just extends the song incredibly. [the setlist]They should NEVER stop doing that tag. And then the first encore ended with a very strong bring-down-the-house Alive with the crowd going wild. When they came out for their second encore — the audience just went nuts when BABA started. I don't think anyone expected it. Such an explosive ending to an incredible show. Words (or audio) cannot describe how incredible this version was.

Other things coming to mind ... Mike (with his new persona) going over to Jeff and kissing him on the forehead (forget during which song). A lady 2 seats down from us catching Ed's tambourine. Ed crawling around (during DTE I think) on the floor looking for his beer ... finally finding it, holding it up and saying ahhhhhhh with a big smile. Someone throwing a t-shirt; Ed wiping his face and the back of his pants, rolling up the shirt and throwing it back in the crowd. And the final vision as the band was leaving the stage — Ed's broken guitar slung over his shoulder as he walks off. Thanks again to Gina for the tickets (who was lucky enough to get Mike's set list and a big smile).