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Pearl Jam Tour Update: Camden, NJ & Washington, DC


CAMDEN, NJ: The second night in Camden featured a set list just as surprising as the first. Debuting no less than seven songs for the first time on this tour, the band opened the set with hard-hitting rockers “Severed Hand,” “Brain of J,” and “Animal.” The crowd was in rare form, even considering it was a Friday show, and the tailgate festivities began in the humidity and sunshine at 11 A.M.

After a failed attempt at “Love Boat Captain,” the band pulled out more rarities and die-hard favorites, including a beautiful, country-tinged “Thin Air,” and fresh, less tribal versions of “WMA” and “Whipping,” which churned the crowd into a frenzy near the end of the first set.

And the first encore was no-nonsense rock’n’roll, ending with a powerful rendition of “Rearview Mirror,” featuring an improvisational guitar duel of sorts between Mike McCready and Stone Gossard, reminiscent of Sonic Youth’s early ’90s work. Pearl Jam ended their run in Camden by playing Vedder’s “Mamasan Trilogy” in reverse, followed by a set-closing rendition of “Why Go.”

Check out the scene from the parking lot before PJ’s set in Camden.

Click to Page 2 for video from Washington, DC

Eddie Vedder was surprisingly restrained in Pearl Jam’s most recent visit to the nation’s capitol. With all the bad-mouthing of George Bush and his posse that Vedder has done since well before the 2000 election, the anticipation was that the frontman would unleash all his anger from the past eight years in the direction of the White House, which sat just blocks from the Verizon Center.

There were a few quips (“This is about knowing when you fucked up and need to get out of a bad situation as soon as possible,” Vedder said before “Evacuation”), but most of the band’s aggression and energy was focused on good ol’ rock’n’roll, and this was by far the loudest show yet on the tour.

During the band’s second encore, Ed pulled a 13-year-old kid up on the stage, handed him his Blonde Fender Telecaster, and showed him the three rhythm chords. The young man stood in awe of the rock gods around him as he lived out the fantasy of everyone in the room. Mike McCready closed the show with a Woodstock-worthy “Star-Spangled Banner,” which was perhaps the most poignant political statement of the whole night.

Watch a fan’s review: