Pearl Jam concluded their brief 13-date East Coast tour with a pair of shows over three days in Mansfield, MA. And three things are always true about Mansfield: It takes two hours to leave the parking lot, the police are complete assholes who hassle anyone from out of state or holding a beer (to the point of handcuffs), and Pearl Jam always kick ass.
Night one (June 28), however, was cut abruptly short, with several songs on the setlist left out of the actual performance. The show featured a hard-rocking beginning with tunes such as “Comatose” and “Hail, Hail” bringing out the energy and passion from the crowd before they slowed things down with “Low Light,” “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town,” and “Off He Goes.” Despite a long first encore, the performance ended abruptly with a very powerful “State of Love and Trust” and “Alive,” leaving the at-capacity crowd hungry for more.
Needless to say, expectations were huge for the second night (June 30) in Mansfield — the final night of the tour. The band, as they are known to do, came out heavy with “Wash” and did not let up until the encore break. During “Last Exit” the energy was so strong that in my jumping and screaming attempts at singing along I felt a kind of organic body high that came purely from the music, a sort of ball of light welling up inside begging to be released (and getting its wish).Pearl Jam play “Who You Are” in Mansfield, MA:
Stone Gossard was the band’s rock, taking lead on “Do the Evolution” and “MFC,” playing as if in a shredding competition with Mike McCready, who has been at the top of his game and only getting stronger as the tour chugged along. The set was further highlighted by rarities such as “Education” (note-perfect, by the way) and “Bee Girl,” played for only the eighth time since its live debut in 1994. The band ended their brief 2008 jaunt by inviting opening group Ted Leo and the Pharmacists onstage for a raucous version of “Rockin’ in the Free World,” as well as an overweight Bostonian in a full-body cow suit whose udders were enthusiastically suckled by Stone Gossard. A very surreal end to a very surreal few weeks on tour with the greatest live band since the Grateful Dead.Zack Newman signs off from the airport: