NEW YORK CITY: Pearl Jam's two-night stint at Madison Square Garden was the most highly anticipated run of the band's brief 13-date jaunt, and when it comes to energy and surprises, Pearl Jam never disappoints and certainly delivered in NYC. Tuesday night's (June 24) performance was extremely loud and raucous, energetic and moving. However, after no less than 15 tunes made their tour debuts over the last three shows, the band trotted out only three.
The setlist was similar to what Pearl Jam had been performing for the whole tour, but the crowd's energy lifted the band to an above-par performance. The first encore began with the Who's "Love Reign O'er Me" and never let down from there.
CJ Ramone was brought out to play bass on the Ramones' "I Believe In Miracles," and the show ended with a particularly powerful third encore of "All Along the Watchtower" (with Mike McCready performing like a cross between Jimi Hendrix and MC5's Wayne Kramer circa 1968) and a melancholy, reflective rendition of "Indifference," slowly bringing what had been a break-neck-paced show to a gentle and satisfying end.
Watch a fan's review:
Click to Page 2 for more from Pearl Jam's second night at New York City's Madison Square Garden
With the average setlist Tuesday, there was much anticipation and speculation as to what would be played Wednesday (June 25). The show opened with "Release," rarely heard on this tour, and the crowd was screaming, dancing, and energetic despite the song's slow pace. The first handful of tunes were strong and high energy; "Worldwide Suicide," "Severed Hand," "Corduroy," and the rare "Cropduster" were sweaty sing-alongs that plastered smiles across the face of everyone in the room.
When the band played "All Night," however, it typified the uneven energy that would define the whole night. "Garden" was a strong performance and featured the original orchestration after undergoing a few changes on the '06 tour, followed by two energy stoppers, "I'm Open" and "Wishlist." Momentum picked up again with a blazing "State of Love and Trust" and a funky "Rats" that featured McCready throwing in licks left and right not heard on the record.
The encores were fairly pedestrian, though Ace Frehley took lead and shredded away on "Black Diamond," which featured Mike McCready and Matt Cameron sharing singing duties. Frehley did his part melt every face in the room as if he were onstage with KISS in 1976. Despite the lack of surprises and magic that everyone had been expecting, the energy and passion displayed by both the band and the fans was unrivaled by any other shows on the tour.
Two devout Pearl Jam fans contrast the two nights:
And while he was in town, Newman dropped into Spin's Manhattan HQ for a quick visit. Check out a mini tour filmed just minutes ago: