Pearl Jam Tour Update: Virginia Beach & Camden, NJ

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File photo by Lucy Hamblin
WRITTEN BY
Zack Newman

VIRGINIA BEACH: Pearl Jam's concert in Virginia Beach came on the heels of a blistering, inspired show in Columbia, SC. Fans in Virginia who were expecting another fire-under-the-heels set would walk away disappointed, however. The first "Long Road" of the tour opened the set on a mellow note, a theme that would permeate the entire first set. "Low Light," "Small Town," and "I Am Mine" all had the atmosphere of a campfire sing-along. "Sleight of Hand" was played for the first time in almost two years. The crowd was mostly subdued, with very little dancing or movement.

The band members themselves seemed full of energy, but it was not manifested until the first encore, which opened with "Comatose" and ended with "Jeremy." By then, the crowd was too far gone to elevate the level of the show from good to great. Eddie Vedder opened the second encore with "Guaranteed" from the Into the Wild soundtrack, a pleasant surprise for fans hoping to hear some of Vedder's solo work.

Kings of Leon, in their final appearance opening for Pearl Jam on this tour, joined the band for a finale of Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World," which ended an otherwise average show on a very high note.

A fan's review:

Click to Page 2 for the first night in Camden, NJ >>

CAMDEN, NJ: Pearl Jam's first night in the Philadelphia area was true to their history of playing in and around this city: epic and memorable for all those in attendance. Ed's voice was clearly not 100 percent healthy, and the volume of the crowd singing along to each and every word was a powerful experience in and of itself. Many people I've talked to have mentioned the sense of community around a Pearl Jam show as a big draw, and the feeling of solidarity was never more clear than when the capacity crowd belted out some of their favorite Pearl Jam songs.

Several songs made their tour debuts tonight, including "In Hiding," a funky, energetic "Rats," "Leash," and "State of Love and Trust," each soliciting loud cheers from the crowd. The song "U," played only 18 times and not once in the last 2 years, was the biggest surprise of the night.

Ed was his usual talkative self on stage, mentioning the $10 beers at the venue and comparing that to rising oil prices: "We need to take our lives back," he said. "We need to take our country back!" which resonated well with the heavily intoxicated crowd."Tailgating for the show began at 11 am, and one could not walk more than three parking spaces in the various lots without running into a keg, beer pong, cornhole (modified horseshoes), and a multitude of other drinking games.

For Friday night's show, the crowd might be even crazier and more intoxicated -- and the set list is sure to be just as interesting.

A fan from Maryland rocks his own version of "Grievance" in the Camden parking lot:

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