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Memorial Stadium

"we're home!"
Memorial Stadium, Seattle, WA
21 July 1998
Review by Chris Hilton
Photographs by Chris Nagano and John McLaughlin

Seattle I ≠ "Matt is everything."

Arriving at Memorial Stadium, I secured myself a good spot in the stands on Mikeís side of the stage.† The stage is set quite a ways back from the stands so, although Iím as close as I can be, itís still pretty far a way. The Seattle Center did a great job of keeping us all entertained prior to the show.† A good variety of food options, as well as sunscreen and popsicles courtesy of the band.† Thank You!!!

Zeke came on promptly at 6pm.† Their high energy rocking set received a warm reception from the crowd.† The Wallflowers set was a bit more sedate. The highlight was Jakob Dylanís statement, "This is a rock show, not a frat party.† Later, when you're drunk, passed out, and not getting laid, picture my face."

After what seems like an eternity, the music goes down and I hear The Colour Red coming over the PA system.† Jumping out of my seat, I love this moment!!!† And suddenly, there they are!† All smiles and ready to roll. God, Iíve been waiting for this moment forever.† Ed simply says "Weíre home" as the careen into "Corduroy".† This is such a great opening song. Immediately, I feel itís going to be a good show.† I can already feel the energy coming off the stage.† Stone is skipping around in circles and the rest of the band is in good form.† Mikeís solo sounds a bit different than any Iíve heard this leg of the tour.

Next is "Hail Hail," followed by "Brain of J".† I personally love the combination of "Corduroy," "Hail Hail," and "Brain of J" starting things off.† All high energy tunes that I just love.† Myself and the friends around me are already standing on our seats, singing and dancing, with every bit of energy weíve got.† "Brain of J" features some nice big jumps on Mikeís part.† He also runs over to Stoneís side of the stage a few times.† I love watching the two friends play off one another.† Their huge smiles make it so clear that they click musically and truly enjoy playing together.† The way they connect always gets me choked up.

A nice version of "Dissident" is next.† I know many people disagree with me, but I generally consider this the only Pearl Jam song that actually sounds better on the record than in does live.† For some reason tonight is different.† Maybe itís the warm Seattle evening or finally getting to see the show with a bunch of good friends around me.† The line "Öalways home but so far away, like a word misplaced, nothing said, what a waste..." really gets me and I canít explain it.

During the guitar change Ed has a few words, "Just warming up, how are you?"† And we are charging into "Evenflow."† The crowds always love this song and night after night Iím completely amazed by Mikeís solos.† Tonight Ed says, "Look at Michael!" as the solo begins.† Itís flawless. "Jeremy" and a good chunk of the sedate crowd actually raises their hands in a V.† This pleases me immensely as very few people did it in Vancouver.† As usual, a solid version of "Jeremy" gets the crowd going.

Jeff, Ed Mike Ed, Stone

Oh, the first few chords of "Given To Fly."† I fucking love this song!† I cannot hear it enough.† Mike softly playing at the beginning, Edís voice getting stronger throughout, and the rest of the band slowly joining, gaining momentum until it reaches itís peak.† It just takes me to a different world every time.† Tonight's a bit different though, Ed completely fucks up the lyrics to the second verse.† He just stops singing and raises his arms in the air as if to say "Oh hell, lets just move on."† Heís got a goofy grin and Mike, Jeff, and Stone look on in amusement.† Itís quite a moment.

Next tune is "Leatherman."† Iím surprised to see this song pop up at so many shows this tour.† Completely delighted though.† My friends and I are bobbing around, dancing and singing along.† It continually amuses me that the majority of the crowd looks completely bewildered during this song. Ed says a few more words: "You're the sleepiest damned crowd this side of Portland... too much beer, too much sun..."† First few chords of the next song and Iím writing down "In Hiding."† Iíve been waiting for this moment since early February.† Hearing this great song outside, under the stars, in the city that I love so much.† It does not disappoint me.† Edís voice is strong and Matt is completely incredible.† In Hiding the way it should be, powerful, emotional, and intense.

The next song completely takes my by surprise, "State of Love and Trust."† Iíd gotten a chance to hear it in Missoula and wasnít expecting I would again. Itís a wonderful version, demonstrating the energy within the band tonight. Jeff is meeting up with Stone and later Mike to play off one another a bit. Mike is running laps across the stage.† These guys are so incredibly tight right now.† They are playing well and enjoying it. SOLAT ends all too quickly and Jeffís setting up the stand up bass for "Daughter."† Beautiful.† Oh, the Stereolab "Noise of Carpet" tag, my absolute favorite "Daughter" tag.† This is my first time hearing it live, I am near tears, "ÖI hate to see your broken face, this world will give you anything..." Aaaah!† It is far better than Iíd expected.† Flowing into my ears and through my body, I feel so calm yet my heart is racing.

Good solid versions of "MFC" and "Betterman." "Rearviewmirror."† I love this song too!† Iím singing it at the top of my lungs as the people around look on in complete disgust.† So glad I got to hear it again.† For me this song is all about Matt Cameron tonight.† His fills are just incredible and the power in those arms.† UGH!† He just gives me goose bumps.† He hits so much harder than Jack yet, it just works.† I also notice his connection with the other band members.† Sharing glances and smiles with Jeff and Stone just makes me incredibly happy.† Unfortunately, Mikeís guitar cuts off during this song and Ed solos while Mike gets a new one.† Edís solo is different than anything Iíve heard.† He seems to be using the e-bow for it more and more every show.

"Black."† My notes say "Iíve never been so touched by this."† I was with a friend who just loves this song and seeing her face as they started it off just brought tears to my eyes.† Itís incredible and again Mikeís solo is fantastic. Next we get "Alive."† The energy coming from the crowd always makes me giddy during this song.† Mike plays the beginning of his solo behind the head.† As cheesy as I think this is, Iím loving it.† I guess I always wanted to see someone do it.† As heís soloing, Ed is chasing a big balloon around the stage.† A nice anthemic "Alive," with much of the crowd singing along as the lights above the stage shine down on them.

Mike playing behind his head angled behind the head

They say goodnight and walk off stage.† Too fast.† It always ends too soon. There is no other band that I can listen to so endlessly.† Every show ends much earlier than I am expecting. When they return for the encore Ed thanks Zeke and The Wallflowers for coming out and playing for a good cause, makes a few comments about how he found God while they were out on the road, "Yep, we found god, he was right in our stomach.† It, it turns out we've been evolving all this time, and that is god, evolution is god.† So do it."† My companions and I all screech "Evolution"† and sure enough a phenomenal DTE.† My neighbor is at her first PJ show and sheís digging her nails into my arm for the entire song.† It completely rocks.

Things are then slowed down a bit for "Wishlist."† A highlight was Ed saying "Thatís better!" when a good portion of the crows raises their arms up in the air for the "50 million hands" part. "I Got Shit" is next, followed by "Footsteps."† Nothing short of amazing.† Both songs that I *had* to hear sometime during the tour.† Both are beautiful.† I am truly speechless when it comes to hearing these songs back to back. Following "Footsteps" we charge into "Spin the Black Circle."† A very odd transition for me.† Iíd been so enthralled that I think my heart missed a beat as we careened into a much faster, energy charged song.† "Go" is next and is also incredible.

Following another short break the band returns one final time.† Ed tells a very cute story: "...We all live in the same house together, you know, Jeff has his room, and I have my room, and uh, we all use the same bathroom, when, uh, we found out Jack Irons couldn't play on this tour, he wasn't up to it, uh, we were kinda, didn't know what to do, so we took a walk in our back yard and Matt was just right there.† Matt Cameron, from our own back yard. The only drummer that we could play with here tonight and it's still home for everybody.† So once again, like, Matt is everything."† Yes he is!!!!† And we get "Baba OíRiley" once again.† Amazing.† No one other than The Who can touch this song.† Itís phenomenal!!!

Things finish up with "Yellow Ledbetter."† I have to admit, I have been praying for "Porch" and am a bit disappointed.† It is beautiful regardless. Mikeís solo was great and it always bring tears to my eyes to see his bandmates watch him in awe as he finishes the show off. Another incredible show, canít wait to see what theyíll throw at us tomorrow...

Thanks to GwenK for the stadium photo